Newsletter - 20 April 2007

Image Courtesy of The National Gallery of Victoria

Building Bridges
The Future for Natural Sequence Farming

This email will be sent to all those registered on the NSF site by 30 June 2006.

The above image is a painting by the great Australian artist, Grace Cossington-Smith, of the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It symbolises the tremendous vision of John JC Bradfield, to construct and build this great link over waters that divided the city of Sydney. Bradfield fought tooth and nail with governments, royals, and bureaucracies etc., to achieve this lasting legacy. Bradfield’s achievement was nation not only bought the north and south of Sydney together but during the most severe depression it bought together a nation and gave it hope for the future.

And now 75 years after the bridge opening, during the longest and worst recorded drought in living memory, Peter Andrews has been battling to bring hope for a sustainable future for all Australians. As Cossington-Smith saw the bridge as an engineering feat in 1926, it was far more important as a symbol hope for Australia and her citizens. Today, Peter Andrews is bringing us the awareness and knowledge of the processes that can restore our detiorating environment and sustain us as a nation into the future. Peter is the keystone in linking all the key stakeholders together. We are not there yet, but just as the image shows, there are still links to be too is Peter aware of this and he and all of his supporters need to see the completion of that bridge for all future Australians.

Since the loss of Garry Reynolds, Executive Officer of NSF, in June of last year these updates have gone very quite. Now in my new role as Peter Andrews personal assistant I hope to be able to bring that same vitality back to this website to inform, update and collaborate and to build bridges with all the stakeholders interested in Peter Andrews Natural Sequence Farming.

One of the very first things I would like to do is to acknowledge the untiring and groundbreaking work Garry Reynolds did in his 12 months tenure. He was able to use all his skills in bringing together a whole range of people and lift the awareness of NSF to a new level in government, industry and private areas. In his first day on the job he had over 3000 emails to reply to, following on from the enormous interest created in Peter Andrews by the ABC program, Australian Story. Acknowledgement, too, of the help given by Gerry Harvey in funding this work done by Garry, while on leave from the Commonwealth Government.

There have been some exciting developments occurring since our last update. Last year an International Workshop was held in Bungendore NSW to discuss ‘Natural Sequence Farming-Defining the Science and the Practice’. Southern Rivers CMA, the Australian Government, Landcare Australia, Toshiba, ABC Books and Ricoh sponsored the workshop. Scientists from Germany, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand and Australia as well as NSF practioners, farmers, regulators and bureaucrats attended the two-day workshop. Overwhelmingly, the scientific evidence strongly supported much of the work that Peter has been doing over the last 30 years. Their findings are soon to be released in the NSF Workshop Proceedings. They will be posted on this website.

Peter’s book, ‘Back from the Brink; How Australia’s landscape can be saved’, published by ABC Books, was launched last year in November at the NSF Workshop. It has been selling up a storm and it is now into it’s 5th or 6th Printing, appearing as No2 on the Top 10 best sellers of ABC Books. And the reviews from people who have read the book have been overwhelmingly supportive. Whilst, the book gives a descriptive illustration of how our unique landscape functions it will rely on the efforts of others to give the prescriptive example on how to implement Peter’s principles. One such group which will help to this end is mentioned below

Recently, the establishment of a legal entity has further supported Peter Andrews for NSF calling itself the Natural Sequence Association. A national body of the NS Association will have its formal announcement made at a field day at Mulloon Creek Natural Farms on May 5th 2007. Peter Andrews will be in attendance and the day is open to all. (…See Field Days in the Site Map).

Already, a local chapter of the NS Association has been formed in Braidwood, NSW, calling itself the Upper Shoalhaven Natural Sequence Association. It has a membership already of over 50 people and it will act as the template for further chapters it is hoped that will appear all over Australia. Peter firmly believes that a grass roots organization like the NS Association is the only way that there will be widespread uptake of NSF and it will allow local communities to build knowledge and capacity in using and understanding NSF.

One of the prime aims of the NS Association is to address the loss of Peter’s assets, especially Tarwyn Park, which was Peter’s prime model in setting up and understanding the components of the Australian landscape and which was taken away from him in the now infamous R&D program. As well, the NS Association wants to see an acknowledgement of Peter’s Intellectual Property.

News too that Peter will be appearing on another ABC program, Catalyst, sometime in May. As soon as I have confirmation of the date I will post it on the website.

I would like to advise everyone to some changes in the Site Map categories on the nsfarming website. Two new categories are to be added including Field Days, where interested parties can go to see NSF field days demonstrated and to learn more about Peter’s techniques. As well, another caption to be added is Hear Peter Andrews, where an up to date list of all of Peter’s speaking engagements will be listed allowing people all over the country to see where they can go to hear more from Peter and NSF. Others will be added as well.

Finally, to tell everyone the impact Peter’s story has had on the nation, the following is an INCOMPLETE list of some of the things Peter Andrews has been doing since My Australian Story was shown in June/July of 2005.

Since Australian Story aired back in June 2005 Peter has been busy. He has attended:

Field Days

More than a dozen field days at Baramul with groups up to and over 70

Groups that have attended these field days include

· Minister Ian MacDonald and representatives of DNR
· Central Coast Landcare
· NSW Weed Officers
· Gresford Landcare >50 attendees
· Watershed Landcare and Kurri Kurri TAFE>60 attendees
· Anglo Coal Australia 20 attendees

As well Peter has been the guest speaker at other numerous field days/seminars and conferences hosted by other Landcare groups including

· South West WA Landcare
· Hawkesbury Nepean CMA at Belangalo
· Southern New England Landcare Uralla, presented a paper at the State Landcare seminar attended by 150 people
· Liddell Landcare
· Kingaroy Landcare>100 attendees
· Lake Macquarie Landcare>100 attendees
· Liverpool Plains field day at Craig Carters farm>75 attendees
· SE Landcare Bega field day at Brogo Farm with more than 120 attendees
· Snowy River Interstate Landcare field day at John and Jan Walker’s property in Bombala>120 attendees
· Foster Landcare field day at Gloucester with Col Freeman>150 attendees
· Burra SA Landcare>250 attendees
· Araluen/Braidwood Landcare and SRCMA presentation and field day at Jamie Reynolds property with around 50 attendees
· BDTNRM Field Days
· Dawson CCA Field days
· SEQC field days

Other Landcare events

· Maranna Balonne Landcare and CMA, field day and workshop
· Hunter Region Landcare Network Annual Landcare Forum 2006, guest speaker
· Murrumbidgee CMA field day
· NE Victoria Landcare at Albury Wadonga with NRM Regional Facilitator, Tom Croft
· Taroom Shire Landcare, Roma Qld.,
· Goondawindi Landcare fielday
· Mullon Creek Natural Farms Field Day, 5th May 2007
· Avoca, Central Victoria on Saturday 21st April 2007

Peter has participated as a keynote speaker at

· National Science Festival in Canberra at ANU with >250 attendees
· Sustainable Business Leaders Forum in Brisbane
· Eco V Environment Festival at Ballarat over 3 days with more then 1000 people attending Peter’s workshop
· Earth Dialogues Forum 2006 in Brisbane with Premier Peter Beatty and Michael Gorbachov
· Taree Enviro Fair
· Queensland Annual Landcare Conference
· Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines major conference in Brisbane
· International Conference on “Green Processing” at Minerals Industry conference in Newcastle
· Australian Property Institute (SA Division) Annual Conference in Adelaide
· BRS in Canberra
· SRCMA and SE Landcare forum, guest speaker>80 attendees
· Congai landholders and local Landcare group speaking at Wollombi Hall
· NSW Surveyor’s Annual Conference
· Group Rotary InterClub Meeting, Adelaide SA.

Peter has also been involved in the setting up of new NSF projects with

· SRCMA and Mulloon Creek Natural Farms in Bungendore
· Namoi CMA and Craig Carter’s Quirindi property
· Landcare and Gumlu project with Adrian Pozzibon and NQ Fruit and Vegetable Supplies
· Greg Donahue’s organic farm at Broadford in Victoria
· Lake Cowill NSF project with 7 properties
· Ongoing works on ARC program at Baramul Stud with ANU, SCU and Newcatle Unis

Peter has also been to numerous properties to advise and disseminate info on possible NSF projects with

· Anglo Coal Australia at Saddlers Creek in the Hunter Valley
· Des Towers property 3000 acres in Dubbo
· Eric Harvey’s property of 8000 acres in Geurie
· Rick Maurice’s property of 2500 acres in Geurie
· David and Jean Edmonds property of 2800 acres on the Macquarie River in CWCMA
· Ed property ‘Frogrock Wines’ in Mudgee
· Four properties along 18km of Cambalong Creek in Bombala
· Colin Towill’s property at Wollombi
· Mirrool Creek Project at Griffith, MIA
· Peri-urban housing development with Graham Walker in Tamworth
· Rob Purves property in the Southern Highlands
· Carrigans Property ‘Sunningridge’, Goondawindi
· James Chant’s property ‘Glenrock’, Marulan

Peter has been the guest of

· Australian Government at Parliament House as guest of Gary Nairn speaking to politicians of every political persuasion about NSF
· Peter Mason, AMP Chairman dinner, with 10 champions of industry including Michael Darling, Arthur Charles
· NSW Parliamentary Natural Resource Management Committee
· Hunter Regional Coal Environmental Officers workshop,
· NSW Farmers Federation, speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra
· Yass Field Day- Open Gardens Scheme, guest speaker· Seymour/Heathcote Landcare, Victoria, Healthy Soils through Communication 2006 Symposium, Norm Tozer
· Rural Communites Leadership Program, guest speaker
· Team Te Mania Workshop, Geelong Cattlemen’s Assoc.

Other credits

· Peter Andrew story was voted the most popular “Australian Story’ ever in the ABC’s 10 year history
· After the showing in June of last year over 3300 emails were received to the NSF website
· Appointment of Garry Reynolds as Executive Officer for NSF for a 12 month period
· Development of a new website and the ongoing support of Peter’s cousins Lonnie Lee and John Cooke who together have maintained the other offical website
· ABC publishing Peter Andrews book Back from the Brink to be released on 13th October 2006
· Submission in collaboration with Best Results P/L to Australian Governments WasterSmart submission with 21 regional sites across the country
· Australian Government sponsored workshop on NSF with International Scientists to be held over 2 days in October in Bungendore
· DVD of the two day workshop “NSF, Defining The Science and The Practice”

As I write this update the Australian Government have just announced that in 2 months time 55,000 farmers in the Murray Darling Basin will not be allocated any more water for agriculture.

Surely, the Nation now needs to recognise the knowledge and understanding Peter Andrews can bring to the table of our unique environment. I would ask that ALL of Peter’s supporters contact their local federal members, the Prime Ministers Office and the office of Malcolm Turnbull and say quite unequivocally “Give Peter Andrews and his NSF ideas a GO to fix the problems we now all face together.

Duane Norris
NSF Assistant

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