Breaking new ground

Innovative approaches to farming

Featured in

  • Published 20210202
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-56-6
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IT WAS NEVER part of my plan to move to a farm. The landscape is Wiradjuri country, bought from previous farmers in the 1920s by my husband’s family. In the past quarter-­century since I moved from the city, I have become more familiar with this place in a multidimensional way. Life in a more natural landscape replaced life in a built environment in the frenetic media industry. There, I considered nature as an add-­on. Here, the farm underlines to me every day that we belong to nature. Like a quilt, the farm’s various ecologies are stitched together in ways that are both affected by human management and beyond it. Its soil, plants and animals work as a system for the benefit of all the inhabitants, including us and the introduced livestock. It is a dance, informed by observation and ecology.

Droughts have arrived with regularity. I have learnt that nature bends and looks like it may break. Then it self-­organises, not always in good ways for humans or the natural world. Pulling the thread on a farm takes you to fundamental questions of human existence. For us, the short-­term goal is feeding ourselves, our families and our communities. The long-­term goal is to leave the land in a better state than we found it. Almost every farmer I speak to would share that ambition. The way we choose to manage that task has to work at the natural level and the human level because humans are part of the environment too.

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About the author

Gabrielle Chan

Gabrielle Chan is a writer and journalist. Her book Rusted Off: Why country Australia is fed up (Vintage, 2018) was shortlisted for the Prime...

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