Soil Land Food is an independent consultancy specialising in capacity building, training, consulting and extension for farmers, graziers and rural communities. The organisation covers soils, regenerative and organic farming systems, composting, rural landscapes, food systems and rural change.
The multi-disciplinary team is led by David Hardwick and Suwanna Thananupradit. David is an agro-ecologist with over 20 years experience in developing and delivering strategies that empower communities to move towards a more regenerative, ecological future. Su’s 25 years experience is in social enterprise, business and community development with a focus on regional food systems, and digital and social enterprises. The rest of the team is spread across eastern Australia: rural change specialists, Kristy Youman, based on the northern tablelands of NSW, Simon Mattsson in Mackay, Central Queensland, and Fiona George, in Tasmania.
Soil Land Food have two projects funded by Sustainable Table. The first is a practical soil management guide for Aussie farmers and graziers and the other is an online lookup guide to choosing cover crops – what to choose for what benefits, when and how to sow, and how to terminate.
The soil guide will provide an open-source soil management booklet (downloadable PDF) that is relevant and practical for farmers and graziers across Australia. It will:
- Improve farmers’ fundamental understanding of soil function
- Support knowledge transfer through case studies
- Provide practical support to implement regenerative soil practices
There is little practical help for farmers to guide them in managing soil to maximise its natural function and minimise synthetic inputs. The soil management guide builds an understanding of how soils work and how to manage them regeneratively. It addresses the issue of managing both soil health and managing the crop’s nutrients. The two are interconnected, but the higher priority is to manage soil health well first as nutrients will not be used effectively if soil function is compromised.
It also includes case studies from different climates and industries around Australia so that farmers and graziers can relate to their own situation.
Our second project is a practical, open-source resource to help farmers select appropriate cover crops.
Farmers have been looking for information on the best cover cropping systems for fallow, or cash or complementary crops, that will also enhance soil health functions, but at present that information is incomplete and scattered. This resource would:
- Collate scattered information into a practical resource for farmers
- Make the information freely available
- Integrate cover cropping information with other soil health management skills via a website
Soil Land Food is drawing on the experience of their network of farmers and seed suppliers to bring information into one place, that can be ‘searched’ according to season, soil type, purpose etc, and then downloaded for reference. It can also be periodically updated and improved by the Soil Land Food team.