Welcome

These proceedings present the outcomes of the ‘Natural Sequence Farming: Defining the Science and the Practice’ workshop held in late 2006 at the Carrington Hotel in Bungendore, NSW, Australia. The workshop brought together over 110 leading scientists, government officials, farmers, business people and NSF practitioners to discuss the principles of NSF and to brainstorm a way forward for the concept.

The originator of NSF, Peter Andrews, instigated the workshop because he believed that there were serious gaps in the information being presented about the concept, and what had previously been reported was patchy and disjointed.

Over two days, the principles of NSF were explained, and several practical examples were presented. NSF was also related to several system-based concepts including watershed and water cycle management, carbon cycle management, and the role that biodiversity plays when coupled with hydrology in dissipating energy and regulating climate (even at a continental scale).

Late on the first day delegates organized themselves into 13 small groups and discussed various issues surrounding NSF. The outcomes of these discussions, including an NSF implementation Action Plan, are presented as part of the proceedings.

On day two delegates toured an NSF demonstration project at Mulloon Creek Natural Farms.

Postscript
Much water has flowed under the bridge since the workshop in November 2006. Peter Andrews has now published two books. The first, Back from the Brink, is a best seller. The second book, Beyond the Brink, was released in 2008. As well, a community-based organization, called The Natural Sequence Association Inc., has been formed and is rapidly establishing a nation-wide network. See www.naturalsequenceassociation.org.au
As well, Peter Andrews continues to tirelessly travel the length and breadth of the country speaking to rural communities, farmers and NRM groups, eager to understand the concepts of NSF.Governments at both the Federal and State level are now starting to seriously consider the merits of NSF as an approach to sustainable agriculture and landscape management.See http://www.nrm.gov.au/nrm/landholders/practices.html

Whilst a long time coming, these proceedings will help to inform the continuing discussion around the very exciting concept of Natural Sequence Farming.

Who is it for?
These proceedings are designed to inform the current debate on NSF, water quality and efficiency, climate change, the role of willows as a suture to a ‘bleeding’ landscape and the future ahead for farmers who want to see an improvement in their environmental outcomes and sustainability. These proceedings are designed for anyone involved in making change for sustainability. This includes farmers, scientists, sustainability practitioners, natural resource land managers and specialists, strategic planners and executive level staff in financial sectors, including business, government and not-for-profit organizations such as the CWA’s and Conservation Volunteers and our Aboriginal communities. These NSF Proceedings are meant to be a vision of sustainable inclusivity.

What are these proceedings about?
These proceedings are not a ‘how to manual’, as to implement NSF change on farms for people interested in effecting change, nor is it a technical manual on ‘how to be sustainable’. Its main aim is to inspire readers to look at NSF using a new way of thinking – a Systems Thinking approach. This approach will help not only individuals but also whole communities to think differently about what they can do to start to build the capabilities and capacities needed to create a more sustainable world by engaging in NSF techniques.
As a result of this workshop and the publishing of these proceedings, it is hoped that many insights into nrm change can be gained by raising the level of debate and information flow. Each paper is discussed in detail, some have been completely rewritten from the original presentations given at the Bungendore workshop. Some of the papers are the original Power Point presentations given at the actual workshop.

What can you learn?
The workshop found that being involved in Natural Sequence Farming has many milestones to meet and achieve. Readers will be able to benefit from the insights and stories about the processes operating in the environment from a different paradigm, and to think of change, the outcomes and whole systems thinking.


"Natural Sequence Farming is a term used to describe the  highly efficient functions that once existed in the Australian landscape. These natural patterns and processes, that I have observed, can be adapted and modified to allow environmental and agricultural systems to be aggraded and sustained, at low cost, because most of the elements required for sustainability are FREE i.e., energy from Sunlight and Gravity, plus water, carbon dioxide, which allow for ever increasing productivity, if properly understood."

Peter Andrews' at the opening of the Bungendore Workshop.

 

“It is absolutely essential to change the way we think. All other attempts at change will fail if we do not transform our thinking…A proper understanding of the way the world works requires people to think systemically, holistically, integratively and in a futures mode.”

Lester Milbrath (1996) “Envisioning a Sustainable Society’

Credits and Legal

CITATION Hazell, Peter and Norris, Duane (2007) Proceedings of the 1st Natural Sequence Farming Workshop. ‘Natural Sequence Farming: Defining the Science and the Practice’, held in Bungendore, NSW, Australia on the 31st October and the 1st  November, 2006.

Proceedings of the 1st Natural Sequence Farming Workshop. ‘Natural Sequence Farming: Defining the Science and the Practice’, held in Bungendore, NSW, Australia

Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Wollongong, NSW, AUSTRALIA. 2007.

ISBN 978-0-646-48336-8

These Proceedings are posted on the World Wide Web.
Copyright © 2007 by Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority
All Rights Reserved.

Information contained in this publication may be copied or reproduced for study, research, information or educational purposes, subject to inclusion of acknowledgement of the source.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS All papers that appear in the NSF Workshop Proceedings have both the implicit and explicit permission of the authors to appear. The inaugural NSF Workshop is grateful to the Australian Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) and to Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority for hosting and providing funding for this workshop. We are also grateful to our other partnership sponsors including Landcare Australia, Toshiba, ABC Books, and Ricoh. We would also like to thank the co-hosts of the Workshop, the NSF International Reference Panel. In addition, we express our sincere thanks to those organizations and individuals that participated and supported this milestone event and to the participants for devoting their time and efforts to make change towards sustainability.

Workshop Convener
John Williams

Workshop Facilitator
Mike Williams

Workshop Organising Committee
Duane Norris
Peter Hazell
David Mitchell
John Williams
Chris Presland

Editors
Peter Hazell
Duane Norris

DISCLAIMER The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Government.