Regen Ray: Hello, soil lovers, and welcome to another episode of Secrets of the Soil, I’m Regen Ray your host and I’m really excited to dig deeper in our soils today with our guest, Lorraine Gordon. Welcome to the show.
Lorraine: Hello, Regen Ray! How are you?
Regen Ray: I am fantastic and super excited to be chatting with you. Tell our soil lovers a little bit about who Lorraine Gordon is and how you fit into the regen space.
Lorraine: Sure. OK, well, first and foremost, I’m a farmer, on the fourth-generation farmer, my children will be fifth-generation farmers, actually. And I’d like to say I’m a carbon farmer that uses cattle trading to sequester carbon. And so that’s who I am, right at the heart of of Lorraine. I’m also director of strategic projects at Southern Cross University, which encompasses the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance and the Farming National Farming Together program.
Regen Ray: So you’re very busy. How do you keep up with everything and fit that in? Because I know a lot of times people are in this space of either innovating and planning, but you also got the farming side of it as well. How do you find that balance or does each one support each other?
Lorraine: Let’s cut to the chase. I don’t always find that balance. It’s normally it can be chaotic at times. And let me tell you, I do wake up some mornings and think, Oh my God, how am I going to get through the day? And when I want to start, I’m very lucky on two fronts. I have an incredible team, both at Southern Cross University that works with me in the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance and in farming together. And I have an excellent team on the farm as well, and they’re all very dedicated people. And so it’s just, you know, we’re like the family of the two families and we’re very close and we’re all sort of heading hopefully in the same direction.
Regen Ray: I think we are. From what I’ve seen and what I hear and the energies that comes from all the groups that you’re around, I definitely feel that we’re all on the same ship heading in the right direction. You’ve mentioned the two companies there or two groups farming together and the Regen Ag Alliance or Regenerative AG Alliance. How do those two work together hand in hand and what are they serving?
Lorraine: Sure. So look, farming together, I like to look at farming together is like the engine room of what we do. So farming together is all about building collaborative, collaborative models, collaborative business models, helping farmers and people work together to achieve their goals. So we’ve got some really good smarts and experience on how to create impact and scale across the nation, and that’s that’s come about doing the hard yards with farming together. I mean, we ended up with 28 nearly 29000 farmers connected to that program in every region of the country and in every primary industry. And to be able to sort of take that sort of energy to achieve impact and scale on the ground. I can tell you we were flying. And it’s really from that learning how to get people to work together and what are the best models for that to happen and even it even analyzing should they work together, which sometimes we forget we throw people together that sometimes you really shouldn’t be working together so that what that program is still going and it really is the engine that drives the regenerative agriculture alliance. And so we knew we had to go to the next next level and in all the programs that we supported through farming together, we were very focused on what I call the triple bottom line, which is looking at the economic, social and environmental outcomes of everything we funded and supported. And because we did tick those three boxes with every project. It was really easy for us to then move to the next level, which was regenerative agriculture and say, Okay, you know, what’s next? What’s our next move here that we have to do to be able to create impact and change across Australia? And basically, it’s crazy. By walking around the suburbs of the back streets of Western Sydney, it was really Ethan, my son and I, you know, saying, Well, what is it and what’s the next thing we need to do here? They came to the conclusion that we need to really drive regenerative agriculture across the country. So that’s how it was born.
Regen Ray: Amazing. Yeah, it’s just kudos to you for, you know, being a key person to to to drive this, this movement. And you’ve thrown the word regenerative. And I use it a lot too. But I’m really curious to know, you know, there’s no definition to the word regenerative, and I kind of like that. I know you have. Principles and practices, but what does the word Regenerative mean to you?
Lorraine: Look, what I see clearly regenerative means to me in a in an agricultural sense. So let’s be clear on that, but I like to say it’s leaving the landscape in a better shape than we found that that simple that that works for me. You know, there is there is a lot of definitions out there and it is important to have a definition the of regenerative agriculture. But it’s even more important that the individual comes up with their own definition of what it means to them. And one of the things I like to do with our our students at Southern Cross doing the regenerative agriculture degree is to actually ask them to come up with their own definition in me one and then revisit it in year two and year three. And when they graduate, because it will change as their level of understanding of what regenerative agriculture is, it will change. And so it’s, you know, you do need a definition, but there are many definitions, just like there were many definitions for what is sustainability. Yep.
Regen Ray: And I love that whole exercise of putting a definition and then revisiting it. And that means and that’s what I like about it, is that it’s not it’s not static. It’s dynamic as we change as a human. I’m big bill, and I love the fact that you cleared up the fact that it was regenerative ag and what it meant in that space because you can take it at different levels. The regenerative human regenerative mindset, the soul, the spirit. It’s about absolutely in any way of living that makes up that whole movement.
Lorraine: Well, like all things, everything starts with soil. Yeah. So the great thing about being in agriculture is everything. Agriculture comes up with everything. First, we are the real innovators, farmers. Absolutely. And so, you know, the regenerative movement, of course, was going to start in agriculture. But in actual fact, where will it end? It won’t end. It will just keep moving into different spaces as it is already. So you’ll end up with regenerative urban design, you’ll end up with regenerative health and the whole area of regenerative practice.
Regen Ray: Absolutely. You can see that all the major cities are now starting to have regen, Melbourne regen, Brisbane, these hubs of innovation, you know? And that’s how do we go? Yeah, absolutely. You know, we’re going to have. Yeah, yeah. So I can’t wait to see this regenerative movement unfold, and that’s something that got really excited is what you defined it as leaving it better, whether it be the land, whether it be the human race, whether it be our urban landscapes. It’s just that continual improvement that we have better yesterday to today than what we were yesterday. And and for a future tomorrow.
Lorraine: Yeah, I
Regen Ray: I know that you play a big part in the education space. You’re obviously at the at the university, you’ve got a Bachelor of Science that has a major in regenerative. What is the the. I want to talk about like the resilient mindset and what that means from like the paradigm shift that needs to happen in the education space to kind of make this feel more logically pieced together. I feel like sometimes it can be. It just sits on the side a little bit. And it’s maybe because the education system that we go through doesn’t train us to look at the bigger picture or doesn’t let us zoom out and see the many parts of the whole how what’s your mindset kind of paradigm shift that needs to happen for someone going through this program through this journey?
Lorraine: Well, there was a little aspects to that question. First of all, I think what’s happened is unfortunately, some people have seen regenerative agriculture as a little bit frightening, as a bit of a, you know, it’s the regenerative farmers and then as everyone else and I advocate that that’s actually not the case. And also when I’m speaking around the country about what is regenerative agriculture and what it’s not. When I start to sort of talk about the practices with farmers, it’s amazing to watch a whole room, for instance, of dairy farmers. Conventional so-called conventional dairy farmers go, Oh, we’re already doing two or three of those things. Yeah. And then they go, Well, you know what’s new about this? And I said, Look, this is fantastic because you’re actually regenerative farmers. So can you please just keep trying these practices, keep doing what you’re doing, and then you’re on the regenerative journey like we all should be. So I’m really about bringing this together. It’s not going to be a glamorous thing. And it’s not like, you know, the the purists and the non purists this we’ve all got to walk the regenerative journey together. Yep. And I think that’s why some other universities perhaps have been lagging in the spice is they get nervous about four star looking at things in a holistic context because they’re very used to the reduction of science approach and that absolutely has its place. Mike, Mike, you know, we really need to do understand that you need to be able to drill down to get answers as well, but you also need to be able to step back and look at things in a holistic context. Yeah. And I think that’s where the struggles have been, but they will come because, you know, it’s such a big movement now, and we can’t just keep teaching the way we have been. We have to change because the climate is changing. And guess what? We’re part of the environment and we’re going to have to change with it. And unfortunately, those that don’t want to work with the environment and change with it really want to survive. So it’s it’s critical that we do understand we are part of the environment and need to go with it. And that includes our level of understanding a level of education in the spikes. We need to learn about the basics of ecology. You’re going to hear a lot of people talk about the fact that technology is going to save the planet and technology is going to save agriculture. Technology is just a tool. Yeah. You know, there is some great technology out there, some great tools, but having a deep understanding of ecology and how our landscapes function is the best thing we can do to be able to survive and be resilient into the future.
Regen Ray: Absolutely. And I think I
Lorraine: don’t even know if I answered your question. Absolutely, absolutely. Do not think anybody, really. I can’t remember what it was.
Regen Ray: That’s okay . That’s so good. It’s it’s in flow. You know, we’re just talking from the heart and we’re not overthinking it, which is the magical part of doing this type of conversation podcast is that and I think, you know, from what you said then it’s like having a hammer in your toolbox and feeling like you can just fix everything with the hammer eventually going to hit something like glass and it’s going to break. So it’s using the right tool at the right time and being equipped with those tools that you can lean on and say, Okay, I’m present with this situation. All right. This time I need to use, you know, 2a and 2b, and there is no right and wrong. It’s just using the right thing at the right time and knowing that this is where we want to take our farm or this is where we want to take our business. And I know I’m meeting a lot of people who are learning regenerative stuff, and I don’t even have access to farm, you know, they just want to learn it so they can be advocates. And I’m one of those. I don’t have land yet, but I’m working through these course, through other people and our members in our community and other soil lovers as we love to call our community. So with that in mind, I want to just touch on the fact that it seems like there’s a lot of groups that are coming together and the importance of kind of collaborating. You’ve got, you know, a lot of different people in your network, in your inner circle. What is the importance of collaborating in this regenerative space from your point of view?
Lorraine: Well, it’s actually essential. And that’s why the farming farming together and regenerative agriculture works so beautifully together because, you know, the power of change comes about from people working towards a common goal together or a common vision. And so it’s a very hard journey on your own and. And one of the things I advocate for is the likes of carbon co-ops, for instance, out of the Song Together program we ended up with, I think it was about 70 new co-ops in the end. And the reason co-ops have hung around for so long is because they’re a beautiful model. They’re about the good of the whole, not the good of the individual. What’s best for the whole, not what’s best for the individual. And whenever you’ve got that sort of mindset, then you’re thinking about all the elements of your community or your thinking about you thinking about all things, not just yourself. So, you know, it really does underpin if you want to create impact and if you want to create scale for something that is worthwhile as an individual, you can’t do it but together. Walking those things that path together, you absolutely can. So, you know, it’s the engine that drives change, collaboration agreed.
Regen Ray: And the fact that you know your strength might be someone else’s. Not so strong, strong suit and that can work interchangeably the ying in the yang of working together. I was watching a documentary this week and they said my business partners strengths are all the things that I’m horrible at. And together, just like nature, there’s some chaos and hectic ness, but it all works really, really well. You know, and I just thought that was really, you know, there’s a beauty in chaos. We’ve kind of living a way of like demonizing that and going, all chaos is messy house or messy mind or messy room. And it’s like, now there’s something nice about a messy landscape of all these look at a rainforest. There’s no order. It’s just random, you know?
Lorraine: And yeah, yeah, chaos is creative. Mm-Hmm. Yeah. OK, OK. So you can create things from that. And that’s, you know, just like in a landscape, you need biodiversity. We need dy diversity in the people that you bring together so you can get diverse ideas and diverse approaches. So they’re like, there are many approaches to landscape management is that of our First Nations people. There’s the NREM, there’s the farmers is the academics, the researchers, the consultants and advisers. They all bring a different perspective to a landscape. And it’s not until you bring all of those perspectives together that you start to address some of the really complex challenges and problems. Whereas the lives of one farmer there scratching his head or it might be the case is not as powerful as bringing a whole group of farmers together or a whole group of different perspectives into that space.
Regen Ray: Yeah, I love that know we always think of biodiversity or diversity as like bug counts or species counts. But the humans, the custodians on the land is also part of that equation. You know, you bring in many minds of creativity, and artist will look at the same problem very different than someone who’s in marketing, someone who’s got a Ph.D., someone who’s you know of a different walk of life or nationality or belief systems. And together, that is a super powerful group of people that can solve a problem together.
Lorraine: Yes, and we mustn’t forget that we are just another species on the planet Earth. So if we get this wrong, we must keep in mind that Mother Earth does not really need us. She needs the humble bumblebee more than she needs the likes of us. And so if we if we disrupt things too much, then chaos will unfold and we are dispensable.
Regen Ray: Such a good point. Such a good point in regards that I feel like sometimes we feel like we’re invincible and that we are we own the land and really the land and mother nature owns us, and we are just one very small part of that puzzle. You know, and that’s you, you know, and sometimes it’s hard to look out the window and not feel like we’re going in the wrong direction, but I’m very hopeful with the people I get to chat with and knowing what some of the innovation that’s happening in this space. There is so much hope. And I said on a on a live stream the other day that the podcast really gave me a lot of inspiration during lockdowns. You know, this was something that really lit up my life, the fire inside of me, that there are some amazing projects being worked on that go beyond, you know, 2021 and the lockdowns and the future to be.
Lorraine: And you know, when you have a look with some great examples of the power of Mother Earth, when you look at what’s going on right now, you know us being able to bring a pandemic under control. Good luck. You know, the fires we had from 2019 onwards, you know, a big awakening, really, and it just shows you how small we are. But yet our footprint and our influence can have a massive effect. So it does put a lot of things into.
Regen Ray: Perspective agreed soil lovers are
Lorraine: I know I’d rather be working with her than against her right now.
Regen Ray: Absolutely. That’s some heavy stuff there, Lorraine. So lovers are going to take a quick break, but when we get back, we’re going to be talking about certification and its place in the regenerative space. Some of the principles and Lorraine’s experience with carbon farming stick with us. Welcome back. So lovers, I’m hanging out with Lorraine Gordon. I’m regen ray your host Lorraine. I know you’ve had a real big experience around carbon farming and you opened up the podcast saying that you’re a carbon farmer. Share with these solar lovers a little bit more about what carbon farming is and how they can, you know, partake in this kind of fun exercise. I guess. I don’t know if it’s fun initially, but I think the future is bright with that if you embrace it in the right way.
Lorraine: Sure. Yeah. Low carbon farming. Geez, this is a whole podcast in a solar array, but there are. There are lessons to be learned in this space. It is relatively new to a lot of farmers and there’s a lot of noise out there. Can I be so bold to say there are a lot of shocks as well? A lot of people are climbing over each other to make money out of carbon farming and carbon trading. So, you know, you need to be careful. I think most of the time farmers are very good business people, and you really need to put a business hat on with this one because, with carbon farming, you’re locking itself into contracts for some twenty-five years. So if you’re locking itself into a contract, for instance, with an aggregator or consultant or so forth, you really want to make sure that that partner is someone you want to still be talking to in Typekit somebody. Most just died last that long, so I’m glad you said. Buyer beware and buyer beware. Carbon farming is, I think, one of the big answers to reducing greenhouse emissions and to addressing climate change, and we need it to happen yesterday. So I spend a lot of time trying to help farmers educate farmers in the space. I am no expert on sequestering carbon, that’s for sure. But what I have done is I have registered our farm. We are carbon farmers. I’m walking the talk, I’m making the mistakes. I’m very much an early adopter on many things and I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is. So I haven’t gone with an aggregating model. I’ve gone alone and I’ve paid the costs upfront to do the soil testing and to be able to register and all of the paperwork that’s involved and there is a bit involved. So I’m really happy to do that because I want to be sharing my profits at the other end, and I think there’s huge potential here. It’s almost like another enterprise for farms, and it could be a very lucrative enterprise, but make no bones about it. You cannot be a carbon farmer unless you’re a regenerative farmer, because it’s all the regenerative techniques that build carbon in the soil so that it’s really important to keep in mind. So there are a lot of tips with carbon farming. Definitely. If you’re going to go going to go down this track, do register with the government because you cannot then go back retrospectively. And if you haven’t built carbon and then think that you’re going to be able to sell it on the market, you can’t do that. So you can register and you can start the carbon journey. You don’t have to sell your credits. You might want to wait two or three to five years time and see if you’ve sequestered any carbon and then just sell it on the spot market, which is what I would advocate to do. Don’t lock into contracts. Just carbon is only going in one direction, and that’s OK. And so there’s companies now accounts out there that are worse, you know, in excess of 50 dollars and the government’s paying around 15 16 dollars at the moment. So there’s there’s the corporate market and then it’s the government market. It’s a very noisy, messy, chaotic, as you call it, spice. So do do as much homework as you can on this. Talk to the IRS, ask questions of them, but do not try and cut corners. And there are some companies out there that have done that and gone to their own types of methodologies. They will not stack up. They’re not rigorous. The scientists are ripping them apart. And it’s important to go about it the right way, which is getting registered and and having a firm plan in place. And when you say a farm plan, it’s a farm plan to sequester carbon using some different methods than you would normally use. The other good thing about carbon farming. Is at the same time you’re sequestering carbon, you’re increasing your productivity. So in our case on our farm, we chose four new methods that we would do that we hadn’t done before. One of them was adding a different mineral. So we’re always correcting the soil with mineral inputs. So we hadn’t tried a particular mineral before, so one would be putting a new mineral into the system. We’re doing well is to use pasture cropping. We’re using compost on a scale which we hadn’t done before, and we’re increasing our soil density. So we’ll be moving more cattle more quickly across the landscape to speed up the photosynthesis. And therefore, if we’re speeding up photosynthesis on sequestering. So that’s the the practices that we’ve chosen for our carbon farming model. Now, at the same time, we’re doing that, all of those things are going to increase our productivity. So it’s a win win. Absolutely. I can easily justify spending the money on by designing to be able to get it. That sort of an outcome. And there is a bit of a Furphy out there. I must say that people say, Oh, it’s just so expensive to to do the baseline. They’re so expensive to get into carbon farming. No, that’s not true. It’s there are aggregators like. So the law up front, mind you, they’ll take the account at the other end. So, you know, there are farmers that can get into it and cost them nothing to get into carbon farming. And I look at it this way that if I wasn’t spending money on carbon farming, I’d be sinking money into yet another fence or a new tractor or more fertilizer or something else that just gobbles up money on a farm that doesn’t actually produce me a new enterprise or necessarily make me measurable income at the other. Do you know what I mean? So I think it really does justify yourself to me,
Regen Ray: and I love the fact that you’ve mentioned that because it’s that delayed gratification. You know, farmers are used to buying a Tractor X amount of dollars. The tractor gets delivered on you implement or building a new fence and it’s like, Wow, look at it. She shows so straight, you know? And as I built that and it’s a bit of ego there as well, when it comes to carbon farming, it’s like, Oh, this is this organic matter in in the ground that I can’t see, and it’s somehow going to make me money down the track. And maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. But my biggest point on this and you’ve touched on it really nicely is like buyer beware. You need to know who you get in in partnership with what you know and go and explore that. I think the worst thing you can do is wait 10 years and then go, I wish I would have done that 10 years ago. You can’t go back and get those credits later, you know, so you need to put some faith in the system and and have that delayed gratification. And I was talking to someone the other day and I said carbon farming sometimes can be that light at the end of the tunnel. You might be doing something on your farm and get very close to giving up. It’s like all these regen movements to too hard. But then it’s like, No, but if I get carbon credits down the track, that’s what I’m doing this for this. You might have been lower this year, but there’s credits that are coming. You know, we might have had a flood, but there’s credits that are coming. You know, it could give you that kind of lifeline with that light at the tunnel, thinking about long term thinking, too, you know?
Lorraine: Yeah, it gives. It gives farmers hope. Yeah. You know, they’re off the treadmill. Let us all get off the treadmill, for God’s sake. Let’s not try and keep up with the Joneses with the shiny new red tractor. Yep. You know, yes, it’s something very obviously that you can attach that’s tangible and you can show off to the night. But does it really make you that much extra money? In some cases, it’s very justifiable, for sure. I just feel that if I want my farm to be sustainable for future generations, and it may be that my all my three boys might want to farm that farm, then I need another enterprise that’s going to be set this whole family farm up to be more resilient into the future. And you know what a new tractors does not gonna do that for me, so I can easily justify it. Everybody has different reasons for how they spend money. But let’s, let’s be honest, farmers spend a hell of a lot of money sinking it into a farm. So think some more into some soil test and you will benefit from increased productivity anyway. Similar to a shiny new and tractor
Regen Ray: that’s in sync the carbon for delayed gratification. Love that. And I want to touch on the I want to shift gears a little bit tractor pun intended. I wanted to just talk about your view on certification. And I’ve heard you speak onstage many times, and I I think we sing the same song, but I want to hear your take on whether certification for regen is the way or not. The way?
Lorraine: Yeah, look, I have talked about this on numerous occasions, and there’s a whole heap of reasons why certification doesn’t make sense. This is not the organic sector. And with all due respect to the organic sector, what they tend to do is they draw a line in the sand and they say This is in and this is out. Regenerative agriculture is not about that. It’s it’s about being on this continuous path of transformative learning. So if you draw a line in the sand right now and say this is seen and this this out, then you’ve just stopped learning, you’ve stopped progressing as a human being and understanding a landscape. So it is very, very different from organics. So if you’re going to and that’s one of the principles, then perhaps the easiest way to talk about certification is to look at some of the principles around regenerative agriculture. So it is about thinking holistically and understanding complex adaptive systems and the chaos that you just mentioned. So if our landscapes are forever changing and evolving and really evolving themselves, then you can’t take a moment in time and call it something like a certified product. You can certify certain practices, so you can certainly certify that, for instance, this is a grass fed product. Or you can certify that this farm does not use any artificial fertilizers or chemicals or pesticides and herbicides you can. All those things can be certified because they’re an exact practice. But if you’re trying to certify regenerative agriculture, which is an ever moving feast and it’s on this higher level of understanding about our landscapes on this journey, then you can’t draw that line in the sand because then you catch yourself at this point when you could have actually kept growing and we could have gone so much further. So getting back to what the principles around regenerative agriculture are, you know, we have to understand that human cultures are evolving with their environment. If we are evolving, then we can’t do that now. We can’t certify. The other issue I have with certification is that it is all about those, those Laureen and those that are out now. If we’re going to be truly collaborative and bring everyone on the regenerative journey, the last thing we want to do is say, Oh no, you’re not regenerative, you’re not certified. Yeah, that’s not what this is about. Regenerative means we all go together. We’re a community. We belong together as a community. So that’s the other reason why you know its certification doesn’t make sense. Verification, on the other hand, does make sense because you’re verifying that you’re working towards a certain or a certain goal. And that goal is landscape a healthy landscape function. And do we ever get there? I don’t believe you ever get it. I actually don’t. You know, you’re verifying that you are trying and learning, and it’s all about continuous improvement. But it’s a brave person that can stand up and say, I’m there because then they’ve stopped trying to get to that higher level of landscape function. So, yeah, there’s there’s just a few reasons why I don’t I don’t believe that, you know, it’s and others don’t, either. If you look deeply at the principles around regenerative agriculture, it just doesn’t stack up. But verifying that you’re working towards certain practices is far more palatable. I think to people, and I do not want to divide a nation of farmers over those that are green and those that are out.
Regen Ray: I agree. I agree. And so for our soul lovers, listeners who are buyers and consumers of products, what can they do to ask better questions if there is no certification, which I definitely think is the right way forward for every reason that you said it’s about the collaborative approach about working together. It’s not about your in or your out or you can pay to play Newton. How do people who are buying the produce ask better questions? What do they need to look for in order to be empowered in our aisles or at the farmer’s market?
Lorraine: Yeah, I think what it’s going to mean a lot of conversations around. So I think what’s going to happen is there are some really good certifications out there and verifications, and I think it’s getting to know what they all mean. So for instance, this humane choice, which says that those animals have been raised and killed in a humane manner. So that’s a really important one thought if you’re concerned about the well-being of the animals. Then there’s the likes of someone like the land to market verification system, which again is about holistic farm management practices and working towards landscape function and healthy landscapes. And then there might be in the future, I would hope, and one of the things that I’m working towards is to have a team that says, I’m a carbon farmer, so I am registered to sequester carbon on my farm. Now you can’t sequester carbon unless you do certain things, so that’s a pretty easy one for the consumer to follow the carbon storage. So what I like to call out is it’s almost like Rammstein. It’s almost like they might also be registered for biodiversity credits and offsets. And so all of this could be badges on a product. But all these badges mean different things. There is not one badge that is going to capture all of those things, and that’s that’s going to be rigorous. So I think there’s not yeah, it’s a hard question for the consumer, but they need to be. They need to educate themselves on what does that actually mean? You see a lot of product out there, for instance, that have got stamped organics on them, but they’re not certified organic. And the reason they’re not certified organic is because the certifies have made it so hard, you know, in a lot of cases that it’s just there’s now a whole black market in the organic sector and there’s those that are trying to do the right thing, paying thousands of dollars to be certified to get certification tick. And there’s those that are operating in the black market because they might be small farming operations and they can’t afford to be certified. But then that takes the reader away from that. That whole certification story, doesn’t it?
Regen Ray: Absolutely. And I just,
Lorraine: yeah, yeah. If we have the verification of verifying that this is what this farmer is really trying to work towards a better environment.
Regen Ray: Yeah. Value alignment. You can be in the aisle and you can see, well, this I know what carbon means and this farmers partaking in that practice and and value alignment. And I think, you know, we are especially with the use of QR codes now being kind of basically mainstream. It is going to get a lot easier. And I see products with QR codes all over them now where we can scan in a cow in a shop and meet the farmer in the aisles and see the the the brand stack. You know, like what you said there, where it’s like, you know, the more more things that you’re partaking in, the more brand stacking you get and you can then as a buyer, make those choices in the aisle and and educating yourself, you know, become more of what I call a conscious consumer. Be conscious about oil consuming, you know, and and supporting a model that aligns with your values.
Lorraine: Yeah. And you’ll be able to put your mobile phone over these products and it’ll scan them and it’ll tell you exactly what those badges mean. Or leave and go one step further until you show you the story of the farmer trying to achieve those values. So there are many ways to do it, but we need to stay out of the old paradigm that we’ve always got, as you know, put something in a box that says it is black or it’s white.
Regen Ray: Yeah, yeah. I think we can learn so much from what’s happened with many of the, you know, made in Australia has gone through the same thing. The organics has gone through the same thing. You know, people will always innovate ways to outsmart the system, you know, to make it called made in Australia. But the plug was put on at the last step when it was imported. It’s now made in Australia because it was imported in parts like people are losing faith in these kind of systems, and we need to make sure that we learn from that and go, let’s do it the smart way, not just what everyone has always done in the past.
Lorraine: Which brings me to another little thought bubble, which I often have these little thought bubbles, but it’s important to the consumer also is educated about types of products. So what we have out there is is a lot of people that have become vegetarians because they think that livestock is bad for the planet and bad for the environment. Now again, that’s a very misinformed point to take without having being educated about the fact that who do animals have a symbiotic relationship with pastures? And now one of the best tools we have on planet Earth to increase photosynthesis and sequester carbon because when they’re running across the landscape. Typekit, who’s been chopping up the pasture, which means they’re fertilizing the seeds, leaving their pasture a quicker cut and that increases photosynthesis, which increases carbon into the soil. So in some areas, if we don’t have the hoof impact, then particularly in the western country, those landscapes will quickly turn to desert because the pasture relies on getting a pay cut. And that’s the best way to explain and pasture needs a haircut. It doesn’t need to look like a bowling strip or, you know, it’s all about the way we manage the moved animals in the landscape because there are products out there, like the soya products that have a lot of packaging. I mean, when you look at some of the vegetarian food on the shelves, have a look at the plastic it’s wrapped in and then go back and have a little bit how some of those products are actually grown. And I can guarantee they’re not always in the best sense for the environment. Some of those vegetarian products and soya is is a great is a great example.
Regen Ray: I couldn’t agree with you more. I could not agree with you more. I have this discussion many times and I don’t want to create any arguments or divides, so I feel we’ve got enough of that in the world at the moment. But I really, really, really, really want. soil lovers to hear that message that the integration of animals and done well and correctly is a massive solution to the problem. I don’t agree with feedlots and the destruction of what the food system has done, and that, yes, is very problematic. But if we take that more holistic approach and we realise how powerful the grass is when it’s on a well-managed program with the cat, with hoofed animals, the results are just exponential and nothing saddens me more than the biodiversity loss in a monoculture soy farm. And I just think if people realised how much animal loss was caused by this monoculture of soy to do the right thing, it’s a big wake up call and it’s asking better questions. It’s understanding how biodiversity works. You know, his virginity farmers that are next door to a conservation park and they’re getting wildlife that’s never been seen in the area before. Yet the conservation park gets lots of money to bring back that wildlife isn’t getting anything because they’re not focusing on biodiversity. They’re just putting it in a cage and saying, this is protected land that’s not well-managed land,
Lorraine: that’s not well-managed land. And I think, you know, consumers really do need to to educate themselves in this space. You know, there is a big difference between a grass-fed animal and a feedlot animal. Yeah. And unfortunately, they all get thrown into the site and put that beef is bad. No, and I’m not going to try and you know, I’m not here to Dubai feed lots. But I will say that there are grass fed, grass fed products. The grass fed beef well-managed across the landscape is not only good, good for the environment, but it is. It is good for your health. It is for the mega Therese. And in fact, the same level of omega omega 3s is in grass bags as that is eating fish. And most people don’t realize that, so they’re at about the same level. So there’s always misconceptions, and hopefully as time goes on, I think consumers are savvy and they’ll start to work on stuff.
Regen Ray: And I think especially now in 2021, everyone’s asking better questions. People have been able to join dots a lot better. And everyone’s really, you know, taking a, you know, a look at the pandemic kid in seeds were one of the first things that sold out along with toilet paper, you know, and so people realise that they can grow their own food. And what really happened that I thought was really special. These people realised how hard it was to grow carrots and how the how do people get? How did how did how they sell baby carrots for $1? You know, it was so hard to grow carrots in your own balcony or your own backyard that value for the food that is being grown, I think, really fast tracked because people realised how damn hard it is to actually grow.
Lorraine: That’s how you see growth.
Regen Ray: So I love I love that, you know, unfortunately, this bad event has caused a lot of aha moments for people. Lorraine, I want to get to our signature question Are you ready to be the voice of our soils?
Lorraine: Oh, I’d love to be the voice of the soils. Excellent. So if you if I do it justice, ray, that’s a big that’s a big ask.
Regen Ray: We’ll give it a go and let the audience and the soil lovers of as a judge us on that one. So if you were the voice of our souls, what would you tell us on Earth?
Lorraine: Well, firstly, I’d say, please don’t leave me with the panic of bare soil and lack of ground cover exposed to the elements. I don’t like mono-crops . I don’t like the lack of biodiversity, I thrive on biodiversity. Please don’t spray me out prior to sowing in a new pasture. I really don’t like bathing in chemicals. I don’t like it when teeth chew me, right to my roots. So I stalking, and I don’t get along very well at all. And the overuse of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides is starting to really drain my limbs, nose and my microbes or fungi is not appreciative of those things. And let’s face it, the micro eyes of fungi is like the communication system that goes on under the ground. It’s how all the critters under the ground communicate and it’s lot forming. You know, it’s how the trees talk to each other and know when there’s a fire coming or there’s something horrific coming off. That’s that is the network that operates under the ground. And he does not like chemical applications, and sticking sharp implements seemed to me like plows and tilling tilling my, you know, right into the core of what I’m about and exposing me again and drying out all the critters that live in the soil is not doing me any favors at all. So if I was speaking for soil there all the things that really upsets our soils.
Regen Ray: There you go, soil lovers. I just wish you’re on the video version of this. If you’re checking it out on the Soil Learning Center because Lorraine leaned into the computer and there was so much passion. And I think you’re a very, very upset soil telling us what we need to do, and I really appreciate that because the urgency is now. In fact, the urgency was 20 years ago, you know, and I’m just really humbled and blessed that I get to hang out with people such as yourself and other soul lovers who are really moving this movement forward. And I think you did an amazing job to be the voice of our soils and let us know that you know, you wouldn’t do this to someone that you care in nature, for nurture for. And so we shouldn’t treat the soils like dirt and and they they they need then their voice heard. And so I think you’ve done a great job, Lorraine Gordon. It’s been an absolute pleasure hanging out with you today. How can the soil lovers hang out with you more? Where can I find you online and see more of the stuff that you create?
Lorraine: Oh gee, the big question, right? You can ask me when I wear dresses and everything. Look, if you if you actually search for regenerative agriculture and Southern Cross University, you’re going to find a whole heap of goodies. You’re going to find El Al, Bachelor of Science in Regenerative Agriculture, a graduate certificate which is now heading up to a master’s level. Wow, you’re going to find out a e-newsletter which keeps all of our huge regen family informed about what’s going on around Australia, in the region space and a whole heap of projects. A lot of interesting research outcomes, particularly at the moment with soil and carbon and how to be a carbon farmer. You’re going to find a whole heap of goodies, so just search for regen AG at Southern Cross University and it’ll take you into all of that, .
Regen Ray: Absolutely. And the team you’re at your end have given me lots of links and too many to mention, so they will all be around this video or in the show notes of the podcast. Go and hang out with Lorraine Gordon and all the team at Southern Cross University. They work as he’s always been innovative and always will be. So thank you so much, Lorraine, for coming on and digging deeper with our wonderful world of soil.
Lorraine: My pleasure ray. Thank you for your time and good luck, everyone. Look after the soil. It’s all we’ve got.
Regen Ray: Absolutely. It’s the foundation of our existence on the planet and we need that wake up call soil lovers, until next time I’m regen ray Get outside, get your hands dirty and keep digging deeper into the wonderful world of soils.