Regen Ray: Hello, soil lovers, and welcome to another episode of Secrets of the Soil. I’m your host Regen Ray And today we’re going to start digging deeper with our great friend Rachelle Armstrong, who used to work at Nutri soil, and that’s where we first met Herschel. Welcome to the show.
Rachelle: Thank you. It’s great to be here. Hi soil lovers. Nice to be with you. Excellent.
Regen Ray: A lot of fun. We love digging deep. Share with our community who you are and some of the new projects that you’re working on, right?
Rachelle: So as Ray mentioned, some of you may know me from Nutri Soil, the family business that was 15 years of my life. And now we’ve actually transitioned into a sort of a new business. Soil restoration farming is what it’s called, and we actually started that about five years ago with Christine Jones. So it has a history in education and a lot of the events we did, and we built community soil restoration farmers. We used to call them like soil lovers . We did a lot of that over in Western Australia, where because you know, the the thing that the further you travel away, the more you’re respected. So we had a lot of success over there. And yeah, now now where we’re based in, based in lockdown, everyone is these days are not easily yeah, north east Victoria, just five kilometres away from the Nutrisoil, which is still going strong, of course. And yeah, we are building a network. So soil restoration farming is a network of farmers, educators and coaches. Now that particular emphasis, and particularly at the moment, is on the coaching side. So all those years that we wanted to help educate and support farmers through Nutrisoil , we would always find farmers saying no matter how what the education was, what, how many hours, days and all different types of educators. At the end, when we had question time, we always found people say, But where do we start? And that was always frustrating to me because I didn’t understand what it was. That was, I guess, missing for for people. And it wasn’t one farmer. It was a whole cross-section. So what we realised is that we need people in there, you know, this consulting coaching space, and then we just try to look for them. And we found it difficult to find people that were able to be in business themselves. There was a lot of people interested, so we kept looking at this set and we had a lot of friends and connections that were really passionate about working with farmers. But they they still didn’t have the ability or confidence to to be out there running that as their business themselves. So so we decided to actually do something a little bit different. So we are building a coaching community, so that’s a big part of what we’re doing now. And that coaching community is different from like, we’re not teaching people how to be consultants and coaches. We feel has lots of knowledge and plenty of courses and things out there. There’s sort of no limit to what you can learn these days, but we’re actually creating a space or an ecology and a safe space for coaches to come together. So there’s plenty of people out there that are that are in in this, this, I guess, conundrum of wanting to work with farmers but not having support to do that. And that’s what we’re doing. So we’re meeting weekly. We’ve only just we’ve had a six week pilot program a couple of months back, which went really well with about 10 farmers from Australia and New Zealand. So we’re really excited to be working with our New Zealand friends, neighbors and yeah, so we’re meeting weekly and there is an education component, but it’s not the it’s not the main focus. So it’s every fourth week we have what we call a thought leader who can come in and the people like Martin Royds is the September and October this, well, TNA. So you’ve got people that are really ready for a robust discussion to it’s to further on basically further on the knowledge that we’ve already got and apply it. So I hope that wasn’t too much detail. No, I love it.
Regen Ray: I love it. I think there’s so many levels there in regards to like being around like-minded people supporting each other, you know, bridging the gap of feeling isolated and alone and really importantly, like, how do I start? You know, I feel like there’s so many. There’s people who finish university with pieces of paper and degrees and go, awesome, I psychiatrist now. But how do I start? Where do I go? How do I start? You know, it’s not just in this space. I think it’s very common in To bridge that gap and highlight that as a need in the marketplace, I think it’s definitely going to be the launchpad of so many people getting the confidence to start their next enterprise or their business or their why?
Rachelle: Yeah. So we’ve got people interested from both. Like you say, the people that have graduated from courses and we’ve also got experienced people that have been working many years in agro ecology and in this space, but they’re on their own. They don’t, you know, they don’t have a space where they can just be vulnerable like you imagined. They always get that expert put on them. And when they’re with their clients all the time, they’ve always going to feel like that, you know, they have to have the answers. But in this space, it’s really about being able to ask any questions and have the the collective intelligence of the group to be able to bring back things that can help them. So. And what we’re really trying to do is actually push the edge of understanding. So we’re not we’re not just sitting with what’s known about.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I see that word being used a lot in holistic management where it’s like, Look at the edge, you know, see what’s happening on the edge because it can tell you a million a million stories. You know where the two ecosystems join. That’s like the edge of of two farms kind of coming together or two landscapes and, you know, looking at it holistically. And and so what are some of the people? So if there’s soil lovers listening, how do they know that they’re wearing the hat to be a good fit for your program? Like what are some of the traits and ideas and things that people need to be thinking about in order to work more closely with you?
Rachelle: Yeah, sure. And we we spent that six week pilot program isolating this sort of, you know, getting the foundations for this sort of information. So as as a group, we decided that as long as you were, you had to be passionate about working with farmers whole system. Think this so, you know, thinking, you know how everything’s connected, keen to regenerate the land, businesses and mindset and maybe in the order of mindset first? Yeah, but it’s all those things. Another another box that really needs to get. It is that they see farmers as the decision makers, so we’re not actually asking for solutions based express. You know, that’s not that’s not what. Well, that’s basically partly what got us into the the problems that we’ve got these days. We took the decision-making away from farmers. So. So it’s very important that they see the farmers as the decision makers and funny that they do the learnings through trials, observing and mimicking nature sets and to create positive feedback loops that, in a nutshell, what what needs to be, you know, embodied by a coach or consultant to come into this community. And we’ve got a we’ve got some principles that to try to define what’s different about the way we’re doing this and one of the important principles is around knowledge sharing. So we think it’s really important to be reciprocal with that with knowledge. Nobody really owns knowledge, you know? I don’t think we there’d be too many people around inventing this, anyone that has the original knowledge and thought. So it’s always got to start somewhere. And so we’re we’re really into that being shared. The other side to that is that it must be acknowledged where you get the source of information. So yeah, if that makes sense. So that’s that’s another deciding factor. And when people book a call to talk to me about being in the community, they answer a few questions and we have one basically saying, How do you feel about sharing knowledge? And it’s really everybody’s so far as just being like, you know, 100 per cent happy about that. So we’re we’re just making sure that that’s one area. And yeah, a significant principle is people being their own kind of different. Mm-Hmm. So we’re not trying to produce robots. Yeah, I love that. Yeah. And well, it’s amazing how much people have really warmed to that unique aspect about themselves. Like, we’re always trying to put labels on on people. And so just even saying the word coach, it’s just like, Oh, what? What do I have to be? And what we’re looking for is what’s unique about you. And and that’s that’s going to help us find answers to like wicked problems that we have in agriculture then. So we don’t know what those answers are yet. We’re just excited to be part of this process. So it’s all about framing up and setting up a process and a safe ecology if you like to to be able to bring these things out and it’s early days.
Regen Ray: I love that and I think giving people that space where that magic can kind of be innovated and thought.
Rachelle: Nice magic, yeah.
Regen Ray: It is very magical, I always say that this space is like that and that’s what drew me into this. This field of work is, is I love learning out loud, you know, I love learning something and then sharing it to people, and I agree with what you just said. Like, nothing’s really new. A lot of the textbooks that come out these days, not from, say, soil science, but like even just business coaching or mindset coaching, it’s all someone else’s idea from many, many years ago. They just change it to say instead of newspapers, it’s tick-tock . You know, it’s the same values, just different medium because we communicate differently as society has changed. There’s no lot of there’s not a lot of new new thinking. It’s a lot of the same values and humans and psychology kind of works. The same doesn’t matter what era of time where we’re from. So I think it’s an awesome space. I’m like, How do I apply? So I love the fact that you’ve got like this. I call them hurdles in business. It’s like, you know, if you want to come and work with us, this is the little hurdle you needed, you know, hop over. And if you don’t do this hurdle, then you’re not going to, you know, survive on the other side. So where does your business coaching and land like ideas of putting these these kind of questionnaires come from? Is it something that you’ve learned over years or so?
Rachelle: I think it’s about being in a field that you’re not trained to do. It’s a really strange thing to say. I was trained, yes. So my bachelor’s degree was in the health sciences, majoring in public health. And so I thought the whole world was about health. If you had health, that’s it. But when I went overseas, I went and worked and lived and worked in Sri Lanka for several years, and I soon found out that it’s all good more to have your health. But if you don’t have, you know, a way to earn an income, then you know it’s yeah, then you can’t go the so. So it sort of started expanding my mindset and I had my first boss, if you like or you know, Mike over there was Conrad Rana Walker, and he was incredibly good at that project proposals and grant writing in a sense that he was a strategic thinker. Hmm. I just thought he was just good at achieving the projects. But it was the fact that he could break down objectives into strategies and actions and that so. So I suppose that when I one of my earliest good influences being there and realizing that there’s more to the world than what you you decide, there’s always going to be you have to get out there and work for local government and community development and with youth. And I had no training in youth and it was just something in a very small local government area that they just tacked on to my job. So again, I had fresh thinking. You know, when it came to working with youth and and mine was just to sort of throw out my hands and ask them what they thought the solutions were. And it turned out that that was a really good strategy. So so I sort of stumbled along the way. And of course, then to end up partnering with my parents with Nutrisoil now, I did grow up on the farm, but I never saw myself in agriculture. I trained in health sciences and things. So when I again came to an area I wasn’t trained in, I didn’t have the same fixed thinking, I suppose, as to how it would go. And I did one of those NEIS programs that they did search for in business. It’s a government, probably one of the best government programs. You just had never spoken about.
Regen Ray: So many people don’t know about the news program. It’s it’s a hidden gem.
Rachelle: Yeah, yeah. New enterprise incentive scheme that works. And basically, if you get through the six week program that will give you your bread and butter money. So it’s like about the dole for a year, so that ten thousand dollars. But what they say is if we give you enough money to pay your rent, then you can focus on your business. So that was a that was a very good that was a first step in business. So I highlighted things like, you know, concerns about like the SWOT analysis about being a woman in agriculture and they just didn’t know. But, you know, they just said that I don’t see how that could be a problem. And and then when I sort of got into business, I I questioned, you know, doing things in agriculture the same way as others did it. So I guess it wasn’t so being so smart about it, but it wasn’t being stuck in the ways of training. So I really think that that has helped me a lot. And of course, in the last four or five years, having a business coach, you know, so actually investing in somebody to look from the outside in the way you are in business has had a huge impact. So, yeah, get you out of the, you know, as they say in working in the business and get you more working on the business. So oh yeah, I love that.
Regen Ray: I think a lot of farmers can take that and like less less working on the farm and working in the farm and working on the farm. And I want to just highlight to the soil this lover’s listening. I get. Emails all the time saying I’m not a farmer, and I don’t think that’s a positive and I want to break that mold because what you just said then is, well, like there is nothing like a blank canvas. There’s nothing like going into a space and going, I know nothing about youth, and that’s what innovation happens because you start having to rely on what you do know that most people in youth probably aren’t thinking about. So I see first time farmers, first generation farmers, people falling in love with soil and want to do something. And I’m one of those kind of examples. You know, I come from business entrepreneur marketing background and fallen in love with soil, and it’s a different way that I can approach the business because I’m not the cliché farmer. And while I have a lot of empathy and I’ve owned land and I spend a lot of time with farmers, there’s a bit of a uniqueness of taking this idea from the view, from the lens. That’s not the farmer, you know, and kind of zooming out a little bit. And I think that’s where a lot of innovation happens. You know, when someone has to change a career and it’s the first time that they’re in there and they go, but hang on in hospitality, we don’t like this. Even though I’m now in manufacturing. Maybe there’s some overlap, you know, and there’s a real magic. Again, that is that word in that blank canvas, you know, you don’t have to do it the way that other people have done it before, and I admire that you’ve been able to do that, and that’s a distinction that we can talk about today.
Rachelle: I think that’s really something great that you’ve brought to the Regen space Ray, for sure. It’s just a whole different professional background. So that’s actually a really major thing that I brought. If if I brought anything to agriculture, I didn’t realize I was doing it. So when I was over in Western Australia, this youth and community development role, I, you know, I just embody community development. I love that aspect. And I suppose that’s sort of how I started in public health looking at whole populations and communities. But when I was in nature, soil and focusing on this education, because that’s what I that’s what I initially identified that farmers needed, and they still do need education. But I was approaching it from a community development perspective, and it took me a few years before I realized that what I was doing was building community. And so we’d have these 100 to 200 people events. And lo and behold, the feedback would tell us that the networking with some of them the most significant things that people were getting back from it education as well. And, you know, great speakers for sure, and farming secrets was pretty much along for the whole ride. And and you know, that’s where we all got to know Helen and Hugo so well, and they filmed a lot of those events. And now again, the relationships built back then, you know, coming to the fore in its soil restoration farming. So I’m in a great space.
Regen Ray: I love that you can tell you’re going and it’s it’s it’s awesome. And, you know, being again from the outside and seeing, how will the ecosystem works together, it’s just really nice to know that there’s support out there. You know, one of the first things I realized when I came into this space was farmers would talk to me and say, like, I’m the alone one in the or in my town that’s doing it differently. And everyone’s like putting labels on me that I’m doing it. We were. It’s this whole kind of hippie way of farming, and I know like gosh in the last two years, I’ve just seen it completely go past the tipping point and the demand to go regenerative and to go syntopic and to go whatever you want to call it, above the ground, but really focusing on the soil and the biology and and you know, and even what you said before about the farm and making the decisions, it’s like, do I want to put this input on my farm? Not because some rep who gets paid commission is telling me to do it, you know, and making the decision and go, Yes, I’ve done my research and I want to use that input. And it’s with the understanding that X and Y and Z needs to be true. So making, you know, the farmer responsible for that decision and not doing it alone, connecting there are no borders. Now we all jump in on Zoom. COVID, unfortunately, has brought a lot of fast tracking to this embracement of Zoom and the internet and having to do business with no borders. You know, farmers used to have to drive six hours to get to where a shared to attend a conference for a weekend with muddy boots. And now they can do it, you know, in the in the evenings, we’re still with muddy boots, but in their living room
Rachelle: you can absolutely. And we say restoration family and we say that’s the we need to bring back the village to village concept. So we want the farmer to be the decision maker and take responsibility because this, you know, nine times out of 10 what they want to. They’re in business, you know, in their own business and they have the freedom and and. Beauty of being farmers out in those landscapes, but then this whole idea of being tied down and forced into a corner and not being able to be there and decision making that brings around a lot of frustration. So, you know, bringing in the support that helps empower them again to to, you know, back to what was originally their way. The reason why they probably got into farming, you know, trusting gut instinct is just, you know, on our call today, we had a community call today and and somebody was talking about coaching somebody that’s also got an agronomist. And then this is this difference of opinion. So you’ve got their agronomists saying that they needed to spray out that paddock and kill all the weeds and then the coach saying, But what do I do? I’m saying to do other? And I just said, go back to the goals of that person. And which was that they did want to plan to multi-species crop and ask them, you know, a salad bowl mix you called it, which is beautiful. So the person that she’s working with said, how did they feel about that actually assign a feeling to that? So okay, I feel comfortable at these beautiful great. And then when they said and then I went to the agronomist and they said, No, you got to spray that out. And, you know, so this single species crop and then ask, how did you how do you feel about that? And then OK. Oh, I, from what I could understand, it was a real like fear. And you know that I wouldn’t actually like to be in that position. The the expert telling you what to do. So then coach that person to listen to their gut say the difference in coaching is that they’re actually not saying, don’t spray, don’t do this. They’re actually just saying, like, let’s go inside yourself and really speak to your inner and inner self or whatever it is that you want to do and and the see what’s right for you. And then you be that decision maker, because that’s that’s what we’re all afraid of. It’s like, what if I tell them not to do it? And then that that idea fails? So here,
Regen Ray: here to this, Hugo always says to me and to people in our community as well that we need to be spiritual, we need to be more connected. And, you know, spiritual farmers, as he would know from a lot of the greats that have come before us about. They are the ones that are the best farmers because they know how to read the landscape, they know the patterns of the wind. And so when you get an external mentor expert, come on and say you need a spray this. They’ve had no time to observe the landscape. They have no understanding of your long term goals. They don’t know what you want to do with your farm and what are your, you know, your outcomes that you’re trying to achieve. And they’re just doing their task. You said, I’ve got this. What do you do? They look at their, you know, symptom chart and go, This is what you need to be spraying at this many, you know, kilos a hectare. So it’s everyone’s is doing the best that they know and there’s no right or wrong. It’s just different worlds and different paradigms. And so when we become spiritual, I love the fact that you’ve gone to how does that make you feel? Because that’s, you know, I’ve got a bad feeling about this or this gut feeling stuff. This is the stuff that farmers don’t really want to talk about, or it’s starting to become a little bit more embrace. But that whole feeling of not intuition and being connected to the land and having First Nation people involved in your farm business plan and understanding different patterns, things that sometimes computer simulation and science and technology doesn’t know how to explain, you know, and so that whole spiritual connection of how does that make you feel to spray an import or to let you know do it genetically or naturally? I think that’s a really key distinction that people just need to sit there and be observers. You know, farmers are always observers and now it’s just busy, busy, busy in a tractor, spraying stuff, tilling stuff, chopping stuff, you know? Yeah, it’s a very different one.
Rachelle: Yeah, yeah. So the coaching process is is really about being thought provoking, and it’s a it’s a creative, creative process. Yeah, which is so different and this is going to take. It may not feel like a easy space to go into because it doesn’t have that sense of guarantees. The strange thing is, there’s a lot of it like this. There’s nothing guaranteed about farming anyway, period. So, you know, going back to what I said before about learning through trials, observing and mimicking nature, that’s that’s actually a much better bet to be able to get long term outcomes. But we’ve lost that sense of how to do it or lost confidence. So this is where the coach can come in.
Regen Ray: One of the things that I find, and I’m curious to know what your thoughts are on this, is that a lot of farmers are making decisions based on their runway or their finances and when the bank’s going to come knocking. So how do you advise when it comes to what I call like transitional finance or being able to kind of fast because everyone wants to see the yields next year and sometimes? This is a bit more delayed gratification that needs to happen in this space, and often than not from the case studies I’m seen thrown at me by the bucket load now is that most people over a three to five year period start seeing yields and protein values and quality increases that are far and beyond. How do you get there and how do you assist finance and how do you talk to your bank and say, Don’t worry, I’ve got this, but it’s usually done, you know, like, how do you solve that problem?
Rachelle: Well, I mean, no doubt mistakes can be made if we just jump in and just which one system for another without really understanding it. So there’s no guarantees in that sense. But if you properly study the whole, you know, it’s a little more of a holistic approach where you actually spend time with the bank manager. Now, I first learned, is from Ian and Di Haggerty some years ago when it was really not talked about. You know, it was really quite radical for them to talk about biological farming, and I would get the bank manager out on the harvester and and really get involved in the business and not saying that that was easy either. But if you have a I think if you’re you’re going to try something different, it don’t just change the practice, actually explain the how you’re going to have to explain the whole process and the fact that you might not get short term wins at all. They’re just not visible. That’s always a struggle with the soil, isn’t it, that it’s often at a microscopic level? But yeah, I suppose I don’t have an easy answer to you other than the mistake is just switching without actually understanding everything that you’re doing as you’re doing it and taking it like, that’s what we talk about creating positive feedback loops. So actually, seeing that some things might look a bit ugly in the process and the feedback loop will be in the quality of the increase, calling the soil healthy soils and that sort of thing. So you’re taking the whole picture.
Regen Ray: I think you’ve done that. That is exactly kind of what I’ve realized, as well as the challenges that people discovered this new biological farming soil, how they want to. You learn this stuff and you can’t just change it all at once. You know, you need to have a plan, you need to have a game plan, I guess. And it’s like this season we’re going to focus on these six paddocks out of the 50, you know, and you slowly transition. It reduces the risk. You break the big task into micro chunks and micro, you know, bite it one bite at a time as opposed to going all lean. And that’s hard sometimes because when you when your values change and you go, I don’t want to use inputs, they’re scary and dangerous. Sometimes you need to make the right decision. Maybe some years you still need to till until you slowly wean off that. You know, some people go, That’s it. I’m selling my tiller. No, no, no, no, no. That’s that’s that’s the one thing that we’ll set you up for failure, you know? So I think what you said as well, having a plan, inviting people on and seeing is believing as well, you know, get them to buy into that, that that the long
Rachelle: term plan to take the whole story to the bank manager, I guess. And we always learnt a lot of that. Charles through Martin Stacker as well. And he certainly never said to do you know everything else? You know, one way like you can’t have observations unless you’ve got something, some sort of control. So whenever we asked him questions and we got the stimulus in advance and we go right, we get ahead of the trials now. So it’s like existing program, you know, half and half of the changed program and then, you know, at the total of the new programs. So, you know, the way we look at it is having three three things or four things at control with nothing at all as well. You know, this is, you know, trials in a paddock have things to compare and you need to have questions and hypotheses that can be tested and analyzed at the end. But you know, it’s yeah, we’re I think all farmers and, you know, scientists say sometimes they shy away from trials and they say, Oh, well, if it’s going to work, I’ll put it on everything, but you don’t get the information that you that you need, you know, if you do it that way, you
Regen Ray: know, I love that love that. And I think I know that in some of the discussions we’ve had before and in the bio that you filled out for this, you spoke about the resilience through diversity. And I love the fact that you went like of soil microbes, seeds, plants, people thinking and business like. That’s a long list. And I got excited when I sold that, and that’s why I wanted to bring that up, because I also that’s that zoomed out. You see the many parts of the hole where some people look at diversity, and I think it’s just the bug counts or how many animals are on the paddock or the number of species of grass. But I like to take that deeper and I see that you think like that as well. Can you share with soul lovers a little bit more about the connectivity from, you know, thinking business plants, people and microbes?
Rachelle: Yeah, sure. Yeah, and like as you said that, you know, there’s been a lot of discussion and very exciting around microbes and meaning that diversity and plants and all those different root systems and that sort of thing. But yeah, I guess I’m the people person coming from in advance to have a superpower. It’s probably around collaboration, and that’s how we did the same with you, right? Bringing different people together. This synergies, as I was saying before, that it just brings about potential solutions or outcomes that are far greater than the sum of the individual parts. So that’s sort of the definition of synergy. And that’s again, a real basic principle of what we’re doing. So if you look for the weirdness, the uniqueness in different people, then you tend to find things that are otherwise overlooked in the mainstream. So when we’re all just trying to fit in, we’re dumbing down those parts. So that’s the people thing and the business thing. Well, that’s actually something I live back in base in that in this program from a long time ago, they they actually said that if you’re not offering something different, then then they’re actually not going to pass you in that course. So you have to actually be doing something that, you know, not the same as others. So unique types of businesses. So again, you know, we can still be like a village, and that’s why we get along so well, because we see not competing businesses, but we see collaboration and how much greater. And we and, you know, we know that you’re great at podcasts and courses and things like that. Yeah, yeah. Well, and do I want to go and try and be great at that as like, well, I’ll leave that to you. And so, yeah, so you’ve got the the people in the business side of things. But and but the fact that it actually brings resilience is nice too. Is that sort of it. I think I think I’m going to say that magic is the glue. So that’s what that’s that’s what makes it all work so well. And I’ve got to tell you, my average day is speaking to the most incredible people. Mostly, it’s been Australia and New Zealand. I even had someone from the UK the other day. So what people are doing in different parts of the world is there’s connections with our sameness, but it’s just like, let’s also learn about what’s unique and then we’re building something that’s even more resilient. So yeah, that that creating resilience through diversity that was sort of coined for our event we’re going to have in Western Australia that got postponed because of COVID travel restrictions. But it was sort of like that that term just meant, well, that’s more than one one workshop. I think that’s really the basis of what we’re doing. So the more unique and interesting people we meet each day. You know, we just sort of find what I guess I refer to them as superpowers, but I love to find out what people’s superpowers just stand out. It’s like a gift. Yep, yep. Yep. So when you and when you combine a gift and a passion with purpose, then you’ve got the sweet spot. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Dave Pollard’s work. He talks about there’s a book called The Sweet Spot I Shall Have.
Regen Ray: I do love that podcast and fills my cup up. This is my sweet spot. I just have amazing conversations. I get to ask questions and I’m thinking, so there’s a bit of like, we’re doing this together. But then I always say podcasting is like gifting the conversation to everyone else. You know, I’m creating content that’s a gift for everyone else. So that’s it through magical like. And it’s like, we’re so in sync that when you said the glue in the magic, I was thinking, I often refer to myself as the glue. Like that was the word I was thinking, you know, you join the two together, and I was like, That’s you know, glue is like bringing people together, networking, collaborating. And I do also believe these two that, you know, the whole saying is a rising tide lifts all boats and all ships. You know, we just need to control climate change so we don’t have floods, but it’s like, you know, like we need to be open and come from a space of abundance that there is no competition. There is like, we’re all working on this together. And I, you know, embedding your unique self into the business like it’s not not changeable, it’s not replaceable. And yeah, I think that’s what makes the world a real amazing place is that diversity of thinking and people and viewpoints. And it saddens me a little bit that people’s views are kind of getting shut down and discredited these days online. It’s a bit toxic, you know, and I’m a bit worried about that because it’s like, I think we need to be able to, especially on a farm space and go, is that? grass Green, or is it a different color green or is it yellow like it? Maybe we’re seeing two different sides of the grass blade, and that means that we will make two different decisions of the same grass blade, you know? So I was a big believer that a coin has three sides, a heads, a tail and the edge, and we need to explore
Rachelle: all of the right edge.
Regen Ray: And you mentioned the edge before. You know, that’s why I think the synergy like that edge is a magical place, because that tells so much story of the coin, whether it be heads or tails. So we do need to, you know, share from all different angles.
Rachelle: Yeah, absolutely. And so this is the point. You know, Segway, this is the point of our coaching community. That’s that’s the whole potential. And, you know, excited now that it’s it’s it’s actually started. And, you know, we’re going through the motions and we’re learning along the way. And I mean, one of the the coolest things, but it sounds quite funny that somebody said to me in Agroecologist, just in New Zealand, he said it was something you know what I actually like most about what you’re doing is that you don’t know what you’re doing.
Regen Ray: Oh my God, he knows our secret.
Rachelle: And so it’s all about bringing us together, celebrating our differences and the resilience and Brit coming together, but then also leaving space for, you know, learning and growing so. So each week, like today, we had our first spotlight. So a spotlight is going to be, you know, it’s like a hot seat on week two where one of the coaches gets to, you know, put forward a, you know, it could be a business proposition or a challenge that they’re receiving and. And I didn’t know how long it would take, you know, the 90 minute call. And, you know, suddenly it was five minutes to the end of the call. And I said, I think we’ve got to wrap up. You know, we got so engrossed in and it was actually about the first week we talked about goal setting, which is really important to actually get down to specific goals. And then this next week, you know, what came out of it was, you know, the services that were farmers were wanting. So so I love it. We would like help with this, and we would definitely like to know any any of the interesting services that that you could be wanting the same things that you need, problems that you have that can be the normal. But we’ve probably got a list of those. But like outside the norm, so where we’re looking, because what we did today was flip it, it’s not about the services that the coaches can, can actually offer. But you know, the the problems that farmers, the obstacles farmers are having these days. And even if they have no idea that anyone could help them with, you know, with a coach, you’ve got that ability to to workshop it, you know, brainstorm other options. So yeah, that’s something that we’re meeting from the farming community. Yeah.
Regen Ray: And I love that it’s the top down approach. Sorry, top up approach. It’s like the grassroots. It’s, you know, we come up in hierarchies where you get told what to do, you go to school and it’s like, sit down, put your hand up, you know, you need a whole pass. And so we’re not really trying to be bottom up thinkers, you know? And so, you know, it’s it’s the grassroots. It’s like, what are the problems or what do people need help with ask for help and squeaky wheel gets the oil and then we go in or create. That’s one of the things we do in our communities is we say, What do you need help with this month, this week? And then let’s ask to find it. And sometimes it’s about marketing or branding or something that we didn’t even think was on people’s minds, you know, especially after COVID. Marketing your own farm gate and selling direct is a huge thing that farmers want to explore and solve, and some of them have solved it and gone. I don’t want to do customer service stuff like I want to be back on the on the on the land, you know, lies that they can’t do both, you know, so that’s
Rachelle: I’m going in the village. Yes. Yes. Then somebody else that enjoys that and then they can do that part. That’s their sweet spot.
Regen Ray: Awesome. I want to ask our signature question Are you ready to be the voice of our soils
Rachelle: voice of our soil
Regen Ray: pretend you’re under the ground you are now? The biology of the soil embody the energy of our soil and you’ve now got a magic mouth. So what would you tell us on the planet about your life as the soil?
Rachelle: Okay, what I would say is we are a community and we are all connected and without all of us thriving, then there’s quite a risk that all of us won’t survive. So it’s definitely a holistic approach that’s needed. So we need to we we need the food that we can then share with each other because the soil and I to be able to to build our strengths and and if you just support us. With sunlight and water and food and a bit of air, then we’ll we’ll do the rest.
Regen Ray: Amen to that. Love it. That was beautiful. Thank you so much. And you know that that is a great distinction, that it’s all connected and the soil is thriving to survive. You know, it’s working together, it’s passing minerals and the fungi and the mycelium network. It’s such a magical place. And yet we, we we we treat it like dirt. So I, yeah, thank you for that. That reminder. Rochelle, it’s been so great chatting to you about all things soil and digging deeper together with our soil lovers today. How can our community hang out more with you? What some websites and ways that they can reach out?
Rachelle: Thanks, Ray. I’m so glad you asked because we’re, you know, when we’re starting small and having only just reached out of this community in the last couple of months. So what we need is to build this network, so we need to be at the start, farmers, educators, and coaches. Everyone is welcome to join our network. So that is going to soil restoration farming website and you’ll see join join the network. And as I say, that’s for everyone. And if you are interested to find out more about the coaching community, visit Page, their coaching community and you can book a call with me. And there’s a there’s a few questions asking things like What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months? And then in a few basic things. And what I’ve found is in answering those questions. It’s a beautiful set up to having a conversation where you know you’re not starting from scratch. And yeah, basically anyone interested to collaborate. I’m absolutely open to, as I say, every day I’m talking to someone different about different types of collaboration. Sometimes I ring people. I just like what they’re doing and I say anything here and things come up. It’s just amazing. Like last week it was someone Alan Walker from Earth. Wow. And they teach microscope skills like the soil food web style, and they’re literally teaching people to be able to do what they call qualitative biological soul assays that can give you a really fair idea. So a really low cost. So, you know, that’s something that the coaches and consultants can take on. So it’s amazing what’s what’s possible. So, yeah, so that’s probably the best thing to go to the website. And if you’re coaching community book a call, that’s the easiest. Awesome.
Regen Ray: Well, soil lovers at soil restoration, farming dot com dot AU . As always, the links will be around this video. If you’re joining us on this all learning center or on the podcast listener, now you’re listening to the links or always be there. And I think we’ll sink a few other links, maybe to your Facebook and to other things so people can connect with you and start that conversation. I think, you know, that is a great thing is like just start speaking and it might go somewhere. And if not, you just have a really fun time.
Rachelle: Yeah, why not? Can I add one more thing to watch this space for our coaches? So as I say, we only just got started in September and will be building profiles and being able to put those out to the public. So, you know, farmers will soon be able to have a resource of really unique coaches that are so passionate about working with farmers and and in the early days they’ll be looking for, you know, like people to learn from. So, yeah, watch this space. And that’s why I said, make sure you join the network so you can be first and first in best dressed for, as you know, publicizing the profiles that
Regen Ray: you hear in the first farming secrets community. Get around it. I, you know, I’m a big believer that your network is equal to your net worth and whether that be financial or just wealth or, you know, knowledge, it is about being around like-minded people who are all in their sweet spots, lifting each other up, giving virtual high fives. But then maybe after COVID physical, high fives. So Rachelle, thank you so much for all the work that you’re doing and lifting the tide for us all. Kudos to you and the team behind you.
Rachelle: Thank you so much, Ray. I’ve really had fun. It’s much easier than I thought. Yeah. Always a pleasure to talk to you. Lovely.
Regen Ray: So if you’re a podcast guest out there, reach out to us. As you just heard from Rachelle is lots of fun, and I have so much fun doing this as well. So all you soil lovers out there, make sure that you get outside. It’s getting close to summer and get your hands dirty and keep digging deeper into our wonderful world of soils until next time. Stay curious.