Keeping Carbon on Farms
Farmers attended the Phillip Island property, Bimbadeen, for the Keeping Carbon on Farms event in early May. They were there to learn how to achieve a more productive carbon-neutral farm, with a spectacular lunch to follow.
Over 50 attendees heard from experts in soil carbon and agroforestry about how to grow crops for carbon and how to balance soils for maximum sequestration.
Clinton Tepper, who farms at Buln Buln near Warragal, spoke about ‘Multi Storey Farming’ for Carbon, which is a new concept for grazing and growing trees and crops or grasses.
While the speakers held the floor for the morning, in the garden the chef, Alejandro, and his team from the renowned restaurant Pastuso in Melbourne were preparing the Gippsland Natural Meats char grilled beef for lunch. Attendees were treated not only to an informative morning about land management for carbon retention, but a lunch that few will ever forget.
As part of the Future Homes series of events organised by Bass Coast Landcare Network in conjunction with Bass Coast Shire Council, this event could possibly have had the banner of ‘Future Farms’. It was hosted at Bob and Anne Davie’s property Bimbadeen, where the goal of having a zero carbon output was achieved in 2014.
Bob’s energy and drive to work with carbon for a more productive property and positive environmental outcomes is infectious. ‘Carbon is easy’ was the message, and Bob produced a one page, two-step article on how to determine your carbon footprint on farm.
“If you have more Carbon sequested in your soil than it costs to run your business per carbon dioxide equivalent, then you are carbon neutral,” said Bob, and he took the complication out of the calculations so that anyone could do it.
Presenters on the day included Peter Matthews, an honours student from RMIT who gave an overview of his study, which has recently been completed at Bimbadeen – ‘An investigation into the use of biosolids in amelioration of salt-affected land’.
Tess Hayes, a 2016 Honours student, spoke about her proposed project, ‘Australian farmers' perceptions of carbon farming: A mixed method study of the Bass Coast in regional Victoria’. Mark Roberts from Basix Trace Elements gave a wonderful talk that caught the attention of attendees because of the fundamental difference between that concept, and the accepted norm of a productive paddock.
Gippsland Natural Meats (GNM) is encouraging their suppliers to become carbon neutral, and Paul Crock from GNM not only organised the donation of the beef, but the fabulous Peruvian chef as well. Alejandro of Pastuso in ACDC Lane in Melbourne and his crew brought the char grill with them and donated their time and talent to the event.
The day was a huge success with attendees leaving Bimbadeen after lunch somewhat wiser about land management for carbon. They had been treated with food for thought, and some of the best food that has ever been seen or tasted.
To enquire about upcoming Future Homes events please visit www.basscoastlandcare.org.au.