A FIRST in Tasmania, Ripple Farm is the only farm in the state to have demonstrated a land management technique called Natural Sequence Farming (NSF) aiming to redeem the land’s water system.
Co-founders of Ripple Farm Landscape Healing Hub, Rachael Treasure and Daniel Lorè, were excited to welcome director of Tarwyn Park Training and Forage Farms, Stuart Andrews, last week to dig up their first contours.
This way of land management is revolutionary for farmers and landowners alike. It will restore water cycles and allow land to flourish even through droughts. “This landscape is no longer functioning. It is sick, it’s ailing and it doesn’t matter how much we do, we will never get it to its productive potential without this soft engineering. “We’re allowing the landscape to rehydrate,” Ms Treasure said. Ms Treasure has been in the farming game for a long time, being a former jillaroo and successful author.
Along with her partner Mr Lorè, they are currently regenerating 100 acres of land northeast of Richmond. The passion and knowledge that radiates from both Ms Treasure and Mr Lorè is obvious. Their focus is restoring their land naturally, creating strong ties with the community and breaking the confines of what produce supermarkets want.
“What Ripple Farm wants to advocate, as do more and more farmers in Tassie, is buy what’s in season and buy local.” “There is an element in agriculture that is harsh and warfare. “Instead of using chemicals and big machineries, we are utilising biological things like worm juice, seaweed, compost and natural things that fit within that holistic cycle,” Ms Treasure said.
“The Latin for the act of killing is cide, so you’ve got insecticides, pesticide, fungicides, and it’s no accident that you have genocide, homicide. “We’re not saying ban all chemicals, instead of being anti chemical, we are saying here are some systems where we can minimise chemical use or eliminate chemical use.”
It had been years in the making for Mr Andrews to finally visit Ripple Farm with plans disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the long episodes of lockdowns and border closures that followed. The plan has now come true and the magic can finally start to happen.
Mr Andrews looks at the waterflow patterns that were once there before any human interference and reintroduces them with small contours letting water move into the high ground rather than the low ground and retaining soil moisture.
“The more water and the more fertility we hold into that land, the more productive we are. The more productive we are, the more green surface areas there are and the cooler we make the climate. “If we can manage our land then we can manage climate, it’s as simple as that.”
He said that it would only take one rain event at Ripple Farm for there to be a noticeable impact. “If we can keep our landscape green 365 days a year, then climate change is gone. It doesn’t exist,” he said.
Mr Lorè said that this type of work was important as the property was standing on some of the oldest farmland in Australia. “It gives us a historical context that in fact, this land has been savaged for the past 200 years,” he said.
“With Natural Sequence Farming it will be able to restore the land with not just a simple but also a low impact process.”
This seems a solution to a problem that many farms face in Tasmania. There are farming systems that don’t recycle rainwater and with a quick scan of the current landscapes, the palette is looking a little less green and a little more brown.
A field day was hosted at Ripple Farm with Mr Andrews on Sunday. On the day he spoke about Natural Sequence Farming and to showcase the application of it. About 60 people came together to learn and listen and see the earthworks in all its beauty and simplicity. Ripple farm also held an exhibition of Rosie Treasure’s art on Natural Regenerative Agriculture Day on February 14, hijacking Valentine’s day.
“Because what’s absent from farming is LOVE, it’s all about economics, the dollar and commodity,” Ms Treasure said. “We have an exhibition each year, this was our second. It’s not to bang people over the head with information but we are showing that this is a cost-effective way of running animals and resources.”
By having events and showcases as well as through Ms Treasure’s storytelling in her novels, readers are shown and experiencing what too, they could be doing for the land. “When they are reading a story and they are taken to a landscape and it’s a farm that is regenerative, they think ‘oh that is possible’ and through that a lot of my readers have converted to these types of methods.”
Moving forward, Ripple Farm would like to hold banquets catered by neighbouring farmers to feast on organic produce and to just become hub where people can learn and experience.