Thanks to actor and director Rachel Ward regenerative farming has been given a boost. Her new documentary Rachel’s Farm - which also features her husband, iconic Aussie actor Bryan Brown - provides an accessible and entertaining insight into why they have embraced regen.
Our very own Peter Andrews (PA) has also been interviewed in the film and we recently attended a preview event and sat on a Q and A panel after the screening.
The documentary is a great watch for anyone considering getting into regenerative farming or simply curious about why Rachel decided to change her ways.
When Rachel and Bryan’s small farm in the Nambucca Valley was ravaged by bushfire in 2019 – the worst fires ever experienced in their region - they felt that perhaps something needed to change. Many of their neighbours also lost homes and fencing and large areas of surrounding forest was consumed.
The effects of global warming became an obsession for Rachel – who is not known to do things by halves according to her family. The birth of her first grandchild also made her acutely aware of the need to do something for the health of her family and future generations.
At the same time her neighbour and farm manager, Mick Green came to her saying that conventional farming methods were no longer working for him. His property’s soil was dry and degraded. The chemicals he had been using seemed to be making it worse. So began a collaboration between the pair to educate themselves on a better way.
Their mission to attain certification to allow them to sell their produce as regenerative farmers eventually led them to a Tarwyn Park Training course.
The 2022 floods that happened with the bush fires still fresh in Australians’ memories also highlighted the importance of water management. Their property had been completely submerged in water and yet a few months later it was bone dry. Rachel learned from our course that a regenerative farming system can farm water and build soil instead of losing it.
The film takes you on a journey and covers all the important aspects of setting up a regenerative farm. It includes a look at holistic land management and the importance of regularly moving stock to allow paddocks to recover. They show how the landscape has improved with diversity of planting and re-introduction of perennial pastures instead of constant ploughing and spraying – and they have worked alongside indigenous people who have shared their knowledge about plants that used to grow in the area.
The documentary is valuable, informative and entertaining. If you would like to join us for a special screening of Rachel’s Farm, Slow Food Noosa will be hosting on 24 and 25 August. Stuart and Hamish Andrews will also be on the Q and A panel so you can ask us all the curly questions.
Pomona - 6:30 pm August 24th. Get tickets here.
Noosa - 6:30 pm August 25th. Get tickets here.