Regen Ray: Hello, Soil Lovers, and welcome to another episode of Secrets of the Soils. I hope you’ve been enjoying our recent guests, but today I’m super excited to dig deeper with our wonderful world of soils with Tammy. Tammy, welcome to the podcast.
Tammi Jonas: Thanks, Ray. It’s good to be here.
Regen Ray: You have a little guest on your lap. Who’s this?
Tammi Jonas: I do. This is little Shay named for Che Guevara, the Cuban. Well, not Cuban, actually, but the Argentinian revolutionary who helped Cuba.
Regen Ray: Excellent. Excellent. And for those listeners who were catching this on the podcast, if you want to see the video, this is all available on the Soil Learning Center. But tell me, tell us a little bit about who you are and how you fit into the landscape of your beautiful work that you do.
Tammi Jonas: Well, right here I fit into the land of the judge of where I am and whom I llike to pay my respects past and present, and we’ve been farming here for about 10 years and I more recently started a Ph.D. around the agro ecological transition and the hopefully biodiverse and decolonising practices of farmers. And I’m also the president of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance working for everybody’s right to democratically determine our own food and agriculture system.
Regen Ray: So you’re very busy by the sounds of it, and I believe you just cracks the surface. What do you do on your farm? What produce what are you growing or creating?
Tammi Jonas: So we are mostly produce pigs and cattle and also a very small crop of garlic. And we have a butcher shop on the farm where we actually process all of our meat. We don’t have an abattoir, but we’re working on that. Watch this space and we’re a community supported agriculture farms so we have 80 members, household members, who’ve signed up for a minimum of one year, but most are with us for several years. Some have been with us for like seven years and we ran well pre-COVID. We ran a lot of workshops here too to teach people the basics of butchery and more meat literacy and also agriculture and a bit of food sovereignty.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I love that. And I came across your work many, many years ago, and I kind of knew what you did. That was a bit of a loaded question, but I love the fact that you created a space that educates and inspires. And I know COVID has put a massive dent in that but it’s been always great to see the images and I saw your CSA kind of launch many years ago or not launch, but I inquired about it and there was like a five year waiting list. Does that grow? Is that still the case?
Tammi Jonas: It’s about a 20 year waiting list now, so the only reason I maintain the waiting list actually is because then I have a captive audience to send to the other farmers I know who do have room for them in their system or the other ways that they sell.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I love that because CSA is such a big like a new model here in Australia or not really embracing the word CSA doesn’t get thrown around in a nutshell, how do you explain it?
Tammi Jonas: So I think Community Supported Agriculture is the simplest way to understand it. Some people think it’s just a membership model, right? But it’s so much deeper than that. It’s a solidarity economy where the people who sign up for your CSA take on the risk, as well as the reward of being part of the farm. So we’ve written about it on our website some of the ways that we’ve had to ask for our members to help share our risks when terrible things have happened here and they’ve turned up in spades to support the farm and its ongoing efforts. And we’ve done the same for them through the pandemic. We made sure they got direct deliveries when they couldn’t reach their hubs because of the 5km. rule, they got little cerrado status to keep them all busy. In the first series of lockdowns, we added to that, cerrado craze. So it’s a genuine community vibe where you actually are looking after each other in very real ways.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I love that. I love the aspect of we’re in it together. You know, it’s a real partnership, and I really feel like sometimes people stop membership subscription boxes and call that a CSA. And it’s not. It’s not for me. It’s not the same thing because I think they’re just something really magical in partnering with the farm, partnering with the farmer or the producer and saying, We’ve got this together. If you have a good yield, we both win. Do you have a low yield? We’re in this together, and I just think there’s something really magical with giving farmers that security that the produce is sold already before you plant that seed or before you raise that animal. So that intention is just a positive intention that it’s like, I don’t have to cross my fingers and hope that this sells. It’s already sold. I think changing that, you know where the intention is going and sowing a seed with the intention that this is already sold is completely different energy and vibration than I hope this works out too. I hope rain comes or I hope we don’t get another, you know, natural disaster. So that intention is just beautiful and magical to my heart. And I love the fact that you’re bringing the true CSA model to Australia and giving it some light.
Tammi Jonas: Yeah, and we wouldn’t trade it for the world, right, because of all the things that you said, there’s the, you know, the fact that we know that everything we grow is going to this beautiful community we’ve been feeding for several years. We know that many of them have been there to see us through hard times. Some of them we’ve seen through hard times too. When they’ve lost jobs or had reduction in work hours. We’ve let them, you know, we’ve continued delivering meat until they’re back on their feet. And so it’s very much it’s a genuine community looking after each other. They don’t have to worry either, where they’re going to get their meat that month. And, you know, are they going to be able to decode the labels? It’s like, Oh, they met the animal when they came up for that day on the farm? Right.
Regen Ray: So yeah, it’s really wonderful helping with picking a planting or, you know, all that other the farm chores that real community and can see where the food comes from. I think COVID made a lot of the people grow their own food and then realized how damn hard it is. You know, it’s not easy to just put seeds in a pot or in a backyard and let it grow. And I really, really see the conversation of food, nutrition and food quality taking over just kilos on a scale. It’s not about how much you get, it’s about the quality that you get. So in your opinion, and I know you do a lot of work around food sovereignty, like what does that word mean? I think it’s a little bit ambiguous to some. And so can you just explain and talk to that a little bit?
Tammi Jonas: Yes. The global definition of food sovereignty is about promoting everybody’s right to access nutritious and culturally appropriate food that’s being produced and distributed in ethical and ecologically sound ways. And also our right to democratically determine our food and agriculture systems. And that latter part, I suppose, is what the movement here and globally focuses on. More than anything, because if everybody has a right to participate in the decision making processes around what is allowed to be produced by Kim, how does it get sold or exchanged within communities? The more we can participate in the decision making processes in our food and agriculture systems, the more we simply ensure that they are nutritious and culturally appropriate and ethical and ecologically sound. Because when people participate, they tend to drive the kind of quality and standards up. But when they can’t see it, they can’t do that.
Regen Ray: Yeah, out of sight, out of mind and just completely disconnected from the way that it all works. And I believe and you wrote, you co-authored a book about radically transforming the food system from the ground up, and we throw that word around a lot about the ground up approach. Explain that a little bit further, like, what do you mean by ground up? And I want to see if it matches my definition?
Tammi Jonas: Yeah. So I guess I’ll take you back a step. I abandoned the Ph.D. some years ago that was around practices of consumption and cosmopolitanism, and I was really interested in how the way we procure and share food makes us more cosmopolitan as a society, makes us nicer to each other is kind of what it was, what it was about when we got to the farm. I very soon after abandoned that Ph.D. because I was focusing more and more on production because I realized that the things that we consume in society are absolutely driven by what is produced and consumers. I don’t even like the word because I prefer to just think of us all as eaters, we are, we all consume things, but we also produce things and we do lots of other things. But the things that we consume are not often determined by ourselves, and we are growing a lot of our own food or have access to farmers directly. So for me from the ground up, is that the way and how and by whom the food is produced determines the health of our entire planet, let alone ourselves and our lives, our babies. You know this dear little baby puppy in my lap? And when we think about from the ground up, I need to go from the ground down to because you like to talk to your soil lovers. Well, we are big soil lovers here, and it’s not just the the surface of the ground up. You have to relate to what’s underneath it in ways that can be quite hard until you’re living a very grounded life. As a farmer or gardener in your backyard in the city, getting to know what’s underneath the surface of the ground is just as important as what’s above it. So for us, it really does mean like from the microbes up.
Regen Ray: Yeah, absolutely. I’m a big believer of what’s happening above the ground is a true depiction of what’s happening below the ground and because it’s out of sight, out of mind. Again, it’s that disconnect, you know, if we don’t see it, we don’t live it. And. And I love the fact that you have created your space as an educational space so people can come in and see there is this kind of the disconnect is real. And it’s basically to a point where it’s almost like, if you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. And it’s not my problem. And there’s so much anxiety in the world right now whether it be climate change, whether it be food, the space that you’ve created really bridges that gap. And so. So take us through a little bit of like some of the programs you have run on the farm and what is like the AHA moments that people take away from it that just fuels you up with joy. So you keep working as hard as you do.
Tammi Jonas: Well, it’s funny, you say, because, you know, we run a lot of different works or we have run a lot of different workshops here, everything from extremely popular salami days, one of which was meant to be this coming Saturday. And we have to cancel again because of restrictions, which is so sad for the people who are looking to get out of the city, especially for such a day. But the AHA moments at the salami days are probably some of the biggest because you think about your kind of average punter in the city who thinks I’d love to learn how to make salami and they come up here and then they meet Tammi Jonas and they learn that there’s a lot to salami from the way the pigs are raised and then what’s happening in the soil underneath those pigs and what’s happening in the garlic that we’re putting in, the wine that’s going in the salami that we’re raising here with the bio fertilizers we make from the bone, shall we make from the bones of the animals we process? And they go, you know, by the end of those days they go, I’ll never be able to eat industrial bacon again. And I’m like, I have another one, you know, so. So there are those aha moments. And then we run producers’ workshops to which we’ve been. We’ve called for the first several years each wreth, sorry grow your ethics because I meet literacy workshops, teacher ethics, and we’ve just started to call them agroecology workshops instead, because that’s what they are. We’re teaching agriculture as a science instead of practices and the social movement and people come here thinking they’re going to learn sets and practices to be good farmers and how to run a successful small scale farm business. And what they actually learn is the impact of the capitalist system on their ability to farm successfully and how they need to make a choice about what growth means to them and whether it means personal and spiritual and philosophical growth, or whether it means economic growth that will eventually lead to an absolute fail if you just keep pursuing that model. So the AHA moment, depending on whether you come for a salami day or an agriculture workshop, are pretty different, but also, I hope, profound in that they help people while I know they are because they come back and they tell us how it changed their lives, and some of them are now farmers who didn’t intend to be, and some won’t eat shedded animals anymore. And yeah, there are a lot of aha moments and I love, I love having people here on the farm and sharing what we do and learn and are still learning.
Regen Ray: I can’t wait to get out there. It’s been on my bucket list for a little while. Education is very near and dear to me and you know, salami making day brings back a lot of memories for me. I grew up in the, you know, Italian household. We did all this in our own backyard. You know, we made salamis a couple of weeks ago, we couldn’t all participate. But as a child, I took this very much for granted. Like salami making day was a chore. It’s like, Oh, not you like. But you know, there’s was a lot of yelling and my dad didn’t get along with my grandfather and my grandmother wanted to do it her way. And this is negative connotations there. But just seeing how excited people get and I go, Wow, I had this as my upbringing and I took it completely for granted and I had those moments getting more into this space and just seeing how excited people get, you know, by salami making, by sauce making, by wine making all those things, which are chores for me, my upbringing and now very grateful that I was able to live a little bit of that kind of retrosuburbia movement in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Now you’ve mentioned the word agro ecology. I’m not sure if that’s thrown around a lot. So just for our Soil Lovers who are listening, what’s the definition and what, why does that matter?
Tammi Jonas: Yes, I agree. Ecology is not unlike what Soil Lovers all over would have heard of as regenerative agriculture, except it goes a little bit further, I would argue. And well as others well before me, it’s it’s not just a change in practices that are better for land, which regen farming absolutely is and I’m hugely supportive of. It’s also an economic and political movement. You know, it’s trying to unshackle smallholders, especially from a capitalist system – so commodity inputs and also selling into commodity markets. A lot of regen ag farmers are still trapped in the economic system, and I’m sad that that’s how the system still is, but I’m also grateful for the broad acre transformations people are doing in regenerative agriculture as a social movement. It’s not only trying to help people unshackle from those capitalist economics, but it’s also trying to reform our very legal systems to support rural communities and smallholders in their efforts, where we have a lot of legislation that is designed for the industrial system and to keep the smallholders down in a way. And we’re trying to change that. We work with governments, everything from local government through to various bodies of the UN to try to transform policy to make what we do the norm.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I love that. I love that. I really want you to get a bit of an understanding of that. And if you have to go and dig deeper into your own little research, we really encourage you to do that. We’re going to take a quick break, but after the break, we’re going to dig deeper into the impacts of the current society that we currently have. All right. You’ve been hanging out with Tammy and Regen Ray.
Welcome back, Tammy. I have loved this conversation so far. Haven’t even had to lean on some of the questions that I have as back ups because I feel like we can talk about this for years and years. But you’ve mentioned a couple of times about the impact on the government, the society, the legislation, the current system. And I really want all of us to just sit here for a moment and visualize the current system and tell me if you can share to like what we’re currently on course if we don’t change the world we currently live in. What’s the big impact?
Tammi Jonas: impact? I haven’t. Even so, I was camping when the IPCC report came out, but I’ve seen the summaries of it and and we’re on track for something so horrendously severe that even our farm that has been working for positive change for a very long time is is thinking harder about working more formally with the local community around mutual aid and ways to support each other in localized food economies. We’ve actually just installed, solar said, that we’re no longer reliant on the grid as of today. Literally, our only fossil fuel remaining in our system is for our vehicles because we still run them on diesel. But watch this space and we’re talking about how to build some more housing on the farm so that our own children will be able to move back here when they become kind of urban refugees. So that’s how seriously we’re taking it here. And the one that agriculture tries to address and I think it’s doing a great job, whether you’re talking regional or ecology, is about carbon sequestration and reducing emissions. And all of that is terribly, terribly important and running animals in holistic planned grazing and ensuring 100 percent ground cover and planting more trees. And all of those things are terribly important and also not bringing in commodity supplies from far away with long supply chains. Same with selling them in the long supply chains, but without a change to other extractive industries. You know, mining where we’re not, we’re scratching the surface. You know, it’s actually going to take collective efforts from organizations who are lobbying government to change those things and also the constant logging practices. We drove through some terrible bits and logging around the Murray that were just so depressing to see that they’re still logging out any of the old growth trees they can find. Because they are too good to have lungs for the Earth still. So we can’t just sit in our houses, whether you’re in the city or the country and moan about it. We actually have to collectivize our efforts. We have to make our voices so strong together that the government has to listen to us.
Regen Ray: Yeah. And so what are some of those steps in the right direction that you can encourage our listeners to do? Because I am aware that there is a lot of scared and anxiety feelings at the moment, and I don’t know how much this has to slap in the face before we wake up. And if you just look on social feeds ,and I made a video last week about how like this isn’t the world that I want to live in or, you know, bring our kids into. And it’s hard to escape it. And so I don’t see the mainstream narrative giving us any tips or support apart from fake meat so and more monoculture. So as our Soil Lovers are listening and feeling inspired, what’s something that I can do like locally in their own backyard? Because I’m a big believer that 7.5 billion positive actions compounded daily? We have a massive voice.
Tammi Jonas: Yes, we do. I mean, obviously, the more if you can grow some food, that’s not only going to take a little bit more from you going to a supermarket, it’s also going to help with your biophilia. You’re going to get the positive feedback of having put your hands in soil, and that is going to make you better able to be a contributing citizen because it’s helping your mental health having actually spent some time with soil. So I think that those positive actions to decrease the rates of, you know, mental health issues and depression in an urban society, especially with all these lockdowns. Any chance you have to put hands in soil do that. And also, I’ve gone back to hugging trees. I’m not going to lie because I just think I just think it’s grounding ourselves in nature. Every way we can is really, really helpful because also, if you listen to the original owners of this country, you know, they’ll tell you the land is not really the law, it speaks to you. And after 10 years of walking the same land, I can finally hear country in a way that I couldn’t when I lived in the city. And the more time you can find the same kind of places to go and listen to country and let it tell you what you need to do. I would. I do that. It sounds like some hippie shit, but it’s not. I think it’s really a grounded way to understand what needs to happen for nature. To thrive is to listen to nature. And then if you want some more words around that, find your local indigenous mob and ask what they’re saying we should be doing because actually, the indigenous organizations that are trying to lead us out of the worst problems of climate change and the ongoing impact of colonization and capitalism, they are giving us some good, hard words. Listen to a woman like Mary Graham, a married woman up in Queensland. You should interview her. You would love her. And she talks so beautifully about how non-Indigenous people can also connect to place and do our part. She doesn’t try to say that we can’t because we’re colonizers and there’s nothing for us here. She actually says we all have to and we want you to work together with us. So I think listening to people like her recent talk by Tyson Yunkaporta, I think you’re interviewing him and you know, he’s fabulous. I read his book, joined the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, obviously, and add your voice when we go into the halls of government and we say how many members we have. It’s better. The more numbers we can say. So join organisations like ours. My word, join your local Landcare join farmers for climate action. I don’t care. Join something that is actually going and democratically representing views to government for serious change. Try and lock the gate to stop extractive industries.
Regen Ray: Yeah, love that. And so many things you can do in your local backyard. You know, community gardens thrived during lockdown because we were just wanting to get out and do something. Local councils are running working bees and planting days. They’re all things that I’ve also gone out and done because I am in a bit more of the urban, you know, apartment living style and connectivity to land just really was bothering me during lockdown and getting connected to First Nation. Like, one of the people I hang out with is Warren Roberts from Yarn Australia, and his whole organisation is about bridging the gap between non-indigenous and just hanging out in that classroom virtually on Zoom once a month has just opened my mind to how much talk there is and how little action is actually happening, you know, above the the line. And so it’s all a little bit smoke and mirrors. Unless you go out there and educate yourself, then you see the true reality and think, Well, what do I do? How do I listen to the birds calling? How do I hug the tree? And I don’t think it’s an hippie shit. I’d rather do hippie shit and live in a world that’s on a better track than where we’re currently going by not doing hippie shit so soil lovers get out there
Tammi Jonas: I totally agree with you
Regen Ray: I high five leaves all the time, we’re I going to the walks and runs by high fived the leaves. It’s like my entire time, like, ooh, you know, I do that all the time. Is that instant connectivity, you know, I’m yeah, that instant grounding as I’m. Again, you know, you have countries, I’m high fiving trees, Soil Lovers, what are you doing today? Think about something you can do in your own backyard. I struggled with the whole having the balcony in, and that’s why I got involved with the local community garden and then found out that there was a project to launch a community garden here in my own suburb. So we’re working with council now. And so, you know, and I love the fact about you saying, put your hands in the soil, like how many people put gloves on and things like that, it’s like, No, you’re missing out on like 80 percent of the experience.
Tammi Jonas: Yeah. So you’ve got to grab and the science is really, like, really clear on that. As you know, biophilia is a real thing like love of life. You get very positive feedback loops from literally putting your hands in the soil. So try to do that as often as you can because it will make you literally happier.
Regen Ray: Yep, so many people say that, and it doesn’t even have to be backed by the research and the research is happening and the results there. But people have been saying this for years. You know, I spoke to someone just
Tammi Jonas: it’s back by your experience, right? Yeah.
Regen Ray: And even my grandparents, you know, they’re stressed. They’re going to backyard and pick parsley and you know, harvest some lemons like that’s, you know, everyone always says that when I go for a walk in nature, they feel better. Like just, yeah, he’s that he cares about the side. You feel better. Listen to yourself and your own heart. So, yeah, I love that. And small action, you know, little things that you can do in your own backyard. Um, you’ve mentioned the word regenerative, and I know it’s all part and parcel about what we do above the ground. But what does the word regenerative mean to you, not just in agriculture, but just the word regenerative?
Tammi Jonas: Yeah, I guess I’m, you know, I’m of that kind of groups that dropped sustainable before most people did, because why would you sustain something in such bad condition and took to regenerative, you know, back when Charlie Massey was first pointing out why we needed to think more regenerative rather than just sustainably? And so the idea of regenerating something is to take its genesis, its generative abilities and and take them up another level like constantly improve upon, not in the same sense of like enlightenment ideals. Not like because nature is not good enough and we need to make it better. But because if you see soil that’s compacted and you know what you know is a farmer is that means there’s nothing alive under the surface of that compaction you’ve killed that, you’ve killed the microbial life by taking away all the oxygen, all of what any you know, calls its cathedrals in the soil. It’s got no humus in there. And so to regenerate, that means to bring life back into it and not because it should have a building. A tower on top of that would make it better, but because it should have more things, more diversity and more life happening within it and that would be regenerating soil for me is bringing back as much of its life and as much of its diversity as you possibly can that it wants to express.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I love that, and I definitely, you know, building upon and it’s compounding, you know, I think the first is always the hardest. And then when you get it in your soul, in your mind, it then translates into the soil. And you spoke about biodiversity and diversity and so forth. I know there are a large number of biodiversity docs over the last 20 years, and you only have to watch the documentary with David Attenborough, his witness statement on Netflix or read his book. This is one person who in his life has just seen the mass destruction of so many natural systems. Where are we at that tipping point? Like, where do you feel? What’s that kind of heartfelt moment that you can share with me even to say we need to turn this ship around? And is it turn around for you?
Tammi Jonas: No it’s a tough week to ask for this turnaround. I always, I’m an active optimist race. So I’m very active in my own optimism and am working to make it possible to turn around. Along with lots and lots of others all around the world. So yes, I believe we can. Extinctions are normal. They’re a normal part of biodiversity and especially local extinctions, and they’ve been part and parcel of the world forever. They have been accelerating well beyond what is normal or acceptable for several decades. The UN is currently working on the new Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, a piece of work that started the year before the pandemic and so has been delayed. But we’re in meetings of something called the Convention on Biological Diversity on Zoom at the moment, regularly trying to work towards a framework that all the nations of the world can agree to to actually preserve and protect biodiversity now. The thing about that that moves me is obviously diversity in our lives generally is healthy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about biodiversity or social diversity like diversity is good for us. Encountering difference is good for us and it also makes for more resilience in our social and our ecological systems. That’s the part of biodiversity that I love to talk about is agricultural biodiversity, because often in life, these U.N. spaces they treat biodiversity is something that happens around the boundaries of farms. It happens in the shelter belts, it happens on, you know, on the edges. And that is why we continue to lose agricultural biodiversity because we don’t think about what we need in our soils in terms of microbe biodiversity. We don’t think about the diversity of our livestock. You know, we run it. We’re down to like, I can’t even remember. It’s something like six common breeds of cattle, maybe 12 of sheep. And yet there are thousands more. But 66 percent of our food comes from nine foodstuffs, like nine major sorts of grains. So we are not eating in a biodiverse way at all. And we should be supporting systems, whether it’s little farms like us or their livestock that run rare breeds. We have large black pigs here and specialized cattle, or whether it’s, you know, market gardeners who are there’s a beautiful farm transition farm down in the Mornington Peninsula, and they’ve shifted from being a CSA vegetable farm to producing seed for smallholders because all the seed here is grown by big U.S. companies. And it’s all being reduced in the diversity that’s available. So seeking out people who are trying to support biodiversity, that’s how we’re going to turn the ship around. You know, also people like me being part of collectives that lobby the U.N. and the federal government and the state governments and the local government to change their practices spraying glyphosate on the dam nature strips. And I’d say with those, we support those things, but also just buy biodiverse foods. Don’t just buy the same breeds and seeds of the same things all the time. Go seek out difference. Oh my goodness, go find a good Romanesco Go right? You know, rather than just straight up forever, the standard broccoli is in Coles. That’s what we need to be doing, and it’s a delicious way to fix the problem, right?
Regen Ray: So, yeah.
Tammi Jonas: it’s about me turning the ship around that it’s joyful and delicious.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I love that. And so many people I speak to go when I start eating different food, I eat less. It costs me less. Even though it might, you feel like it costs more because it’s so nourishing and nutrient dense. We eat less. It’s like, this is actually a food shortage problem. You know, we can all eat a little bit less if there is nutrition in it. But if we ate a full meal and then we’re still hungry, we have to ask why, you know, and asking questions and that buying power and that decision that most households can do, even buying one product that is different. What a different seed breed or support, you know, getting seeds from a local seed producer. I’ve seen a lot of people get into the seed industry over the last 12 to 18 months because it was one of the first things that ran out along with toilet paper in the pandemic. But when I got to eat and do the other part of that equation as well. So it’s like food is a massive, massive thing. You know, the first things that ran out in shelves and the logistics system proved to be to be not stable, to support something like that. And so, yeah, by that voting with our wallet, supporting people like yourself. So that way you’re enabled to keep doing the work that you’re doing, coming along to events, being around like minded people. It is completely contagious. I got the bug and I love this bug. You know, digging deeper into this has been unstoppable for me and I love it so much. I want to ask our signature question because I’m really keen to hear your answer to this. So are you ready to be the voice of our soils?
I think so.
Awesome. Let’s do this. So if you were to embody the soil and become its voice, what would you tell us on the Planet Earth?
Tammi Jonas: I think what I would tell you is that I am related to you and I am related to the things that feed you. I am related to the animals, I’m related to the water, I am related to the air, I’m related to everything in your life. And so when you are making your decisions about what you eat or what you wear, for that matter, what you know, the various parts of your day, think about me and all the other things I’m related to and where do they come from and how healthy are they and how biodiverse are they? And also in this country? Remember that I wasn’t actually seeded to you if you’re not indigenous and what are you doing about that? What are you doing to put First Nations Peoples first in your decision making processes throughout the course of your day? I remember my original owners and and see what you can do to listen more to them.
Regen Ray: Absolutely beautiful. Original original caretakers, you know, just nurtures and we definitely have lost that. And it saddens me the more I learned and I think you know what you just said there because like everything is connected, it is a domino effect. And that unrealized action of the fact, you know, so many people that I meet now don’t realize that plants take nutrients out of the air, you know, and feed the soil like roots give. It’s probably more than what they take and they’re all connected by the mycelium network and they’re communicating to each other. And it’s like if we could see the connectivity underneath the soil and we said, this is like the internet, you wouldn’t go until up the internet wires and disconnect yourself from the internet. But we do that every day and disconnect all the plants and the trees and mother nature. And I know that, you know, you mentioned in your bio about referring to the planet as Mother Earth. And if it was our mother, we would treat it better. And we do call it Mother Earth, and people still don’t do the right thing, you know, so we do definitely need to see it as part of us and not a thing that’s just below the ground that we walk on and treat like that.
Tammi Jonas: Yeah. And we can’t treat Mother Earth just as a phrase we use. We need to actually more like the indigenous elders of the world. Like, think of it truly as our mother, not just as a phrase, because if you actually think of the Earth, as your mother, you are not going to just unthinkingly dig into her because you wanted to clear some area or pull trees out of a lake. You’re just not going to do that if that’s the way you’re thinking about things. So I think I’d add to that. You know, Wendell Berry, one of the greatest agrarian thinkers of our time years ago, said eating is an agricultural act. Michael Pollan, less maybe a decade ago, said eating is a political act, and my contribution these days would be, I’d like to say eating is a relational act. Every time you eat, you are relating to many, many things violent, always violent. That’s what the first peoples in Australia certainly are telling us. That land is the law and it tells us everything and what we relate to comes from that relationship with soil. So when you when you have, whether you’re having an apple, think about the tree. Think about the soil it was in. Think about whether it was in a monoculture of orchard that didn’t have any grass or anything growing in between because it being sprayed, it’s being sprayed. It doesn’t have any microbial life underneath it, either. Do you know if you do that, you do know this tree, but maybe the other soil that is out there don’t know when they spray between all those orchards, like the almond orchards we just saw up on the Murray. When they do that, they kill all the microbial life. Do you know what that means? All those trees, all there in those crowds, they can’t. They can’t talk to each other anymore because they don’t have they don’t have the mycorrhiza fungi underneath to help them do the talking. So it’s like, you know, how people talk about feeling alone in a crowd. That’s what those orchards are. They’re all those trees standing there alone in a crowd, and they can’t communicate with each other to prepare themselves for a pest attack. You know, like, we need to really value what’s underneath that soil in a way that we’re not and how important it is for us to nurture it instead of destroy it.
Regen Ray: You know, 100 percent. And this is why I use the analogy of that as being the internet and why, you know, people would scream if you cut off their internet and they don’t. The trees are screaming and we need to be the voice. You know, they connect disconnected. They’re alone in the forest. So I love the fact that you’ve brought the conversation there, and I know that you and I can chat about this for days and days and days and days. And I love and really appreciate everything that you’ve shared during this podcast. Any of the Soil Lovers who I know we’re going to be super inspired to hang out with you more post post-COVID and even online and hanging out where that can they hang out with you more?
Tammi Jonas: Look, I’m pretty good at the Sun, but I’m terrible at email. If I’d be, I’d be looking at the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance said or done to you. There’s also I am, of course, Johnny Funds, and I actually, I do write on my own blog as well. Timmy John is scum. I’m fairly infrequent in posting in those places, but it’s growing in frequency as the day progresses. So, yeah, watch and watch this space. Hopefully for a crowdfunding campaign coming soon to build an abattoir, so very good.
Regen Ray: I’m excited and will hit us up when you do that would love to promote and support you as much as you can. So love has all the links and books and resources that were mentioned in these podcasts will appear around the video or on the podcast app that you’re listening to in the show notes. Tammy, it’s been so great to meet you. I just, you know, you really just hit something at the end of that conversation in regards to, you know, people think about you are what you eat. But the real next step of that is you are what you eat, right? And so it’s really important to think about that. Apple now it doesn’t. The mouth to eat, but it’s taking nutrients from the ground. And so what did that apple eat to get its nutrients, to become that apple? And then you’re eating that? You know, the cattle that beef you might be eating was the grass quality that it ate. You know, it’s all transferable and the grass it’s eating from the nutrients in the soil. So what did that blade of grass eat? You know, when we start following that, we are connected. If poisons are being used on a paddock to, you know, kill off a weed of such saw when that weed is actually trying to tell us something really important. And then you think, Well, that doesn’t matter. It was sprayed six months ago, but it does matter because the grass and the cattle ate that. Then we ate that. It’s just so connected. And I really love that Apple analogy. You put there at the Yeah.
Tammi Jonas: Can I leave with my final sort of my latest read recommendation that I would? It’s only just come out. So you probably haven’t read it yet, either. It’s called Inflamed by Raj Patel and Rupa Marya. And it’s not just it’s a story of inflammation and why people are so sick these days. So to the point of, you know, you are what you eat, but it’s not just a health talk, it’s a politics talk, and it’s talking about the systemic racism and the impacts of capitalism on people’s capacity to access foods that won’t cause constant inflammation, lives that don’t cause constant inflammation. So it’s a deep dive into the science and the politics of what’s causing such a sick society. And we’ve just been listening to the audio book and cannot recommend it highly enough.
Regen Ray: Well, it’s going to get on my wish list right now because I love audio books and I’m a big believer of information on the effects on the body. You know, did the keto diet a while ago to remove sugars, and I never felt better. And it was, you know, I went a little bit down the rabbit hole of inflammation and how our body’s in that constant state of fight or flight and anxiety. And you compound that with everything else. It’s no wonder there are so many illnesses and allergies and the ripple absolutely constantly living in inflammation. Awesome, Tammy. It’s been so great love. That’s a great thought and a great recommendation. I’m literally going to go and put on my iPhone right now.
Tammi Jonas: You’re going to really like it right there. It’s a bit harrowing, but it’s a worthy read.
Regen Ray: Yeah, that’s good. But I love it, double speed for me, but we’ll get through the book very quickly. Tammy, thank you so much for hanging out with us.
Tammi Jonas: Thanks, Ray. It’s been a pleasure.
Regen Ray: well, Soil Lovers, get outside, start thinking about where your food is coming from, plant a little tree, pick a fruit and know what and know where it’s actually come from. Being really connected to your source of food. I’m Regen Ray until next time. Keep digging deeper into our wonderful world of soils.