| Distortion | Remedy | Formation | Gaining traction | Agroecology |
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Ecological News

Newsletter of the
Ecological Agriculture Australia Association

No. 22 | November, 2014
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  • From the President
  • Places you love
  • Distortion | Remedy | Formation
  • Agroecology: What does it mean!
  • New Soils DVD
  • Professional Association?
  • Your climate stories
  • Membership
  • Join us!
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Kerry Cochrane
(Img src: From the DVD series Places you Love)

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From all of us at EAAA


Australian Carbon Cooperative
Rahamim Ecological Learning Community
Erin Earth



“There's a transformation coming ... and it will not be easy. It will be quite radical ... but it's going to come; for sure.”

~  Kerry Cochrane ~
   President EAAA  




From the President

The first story is about a DVD on the EAAA. The second story in this edition was done in preparation for the filming of the EAAA story, and is included here as an editorial. We would welcome any feedback on the DVD or the editorial. It has been a couple of months since the last posting so there is other news to complete this edition as well.

Story 1

Places you love


Some months ago I was approached by Jessica Kendall from the World Wildlife Fund about making a DVD on the existence of the EAAA and my role in it. The focus she indicated was on people and their energies to create a different world. The series is called ‘Places you Love’ details of which are at

The finished version of several stories have since been released and can be found at the address above. A quick link to the EAAA story is and is available on the EAAA blog.

To download details on the background to the Australia we love program click here !

... or go to the web site and you will find the links.
The four other stories as recorded on the website are well worth taking a look at. In a nutshell they include:
  1. Dr Anne Poelina: Nyikina Traditional Owner and her fight to protect the Kimberlies.
  2. Thea Ormerod: Minister of Religion and a member of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. Thea documents why she is prepared to take action and act in a way which is quite outside her normal tendency.
  3. Mathew Charles Jones who is part of the renewable Yackandandah movement which hopes to have Yackandandah powered by renewable energy by 2022.
  4. Emily Kate Symes who is engaged in the fashion industry and conveys a story about eco fashion consciousness.
If you like the intent of the placesyoulove website (movement) then you can join and help it to achieve its laudable objectives. Membership is free.

Story 2

Background story of EAAA


The following was written in October in connection with an interview conducted with the World Wildlife Fund and the Australian Conservation Foundation. It is included, here, to provide a background to the formation of the EAAA.

The story begins with distortion.

Position 1: Distortion

The emphasis on scientific rationalism has led to economic rationalism and subsequent materialism. At some point that has to stop. The world cannot carry that way of life or in other words the past cannot represent the future.

At this stage there is no evidence that the world is even challenging the supremacy of scientific rationalism and but instead see it as the answer to our current problems. Rather than see it as the villain it is seen as our possible saviour.

Scientific rationalism is a two-edge sword. On the one hand there are the many wonderful outcomes of science but on the other hand there is the absence of those opposite qualities to do with the subjective, with intuition, and with holism. It is in the absence of an understanding of these elements that a distortion has emerged.

What you end up with in a world run along rationalistic lines is an incapacity to show empathy for others and including the natural world; there is a lack of imagination about how to solve complex issues; there is a lack of capacity to think along lines other than what I call tramline thinking…..thinking that is caught running along the same lines for ever and a day. The emphasis on the rational creates dualistic thinkers, who, when weighing up issues, which might be opposites such as say industrial agriculture and organics, will side with one and discard the other. A dualistic thinker will weigh up the balance between say economics and the environment and come out in favour of one over the other and in most cases the environment loses out.

Position 2: Remedy

From a personal perspective I became engaged in creating a more balanced approach when I, and a couple of colleagues, designed and introduced the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture back in 2000. The approach undertaken was holistic and stands in sharp contrast with the traditional Bachelor Agricultural Science. Students in the BEA study the objective world as they should but they also study the subjective world of themselves and others and how they do or do not relate to the natural world. The emphasis in the course is on natural ecology and social ecology. Students need to learn about the workings of a natural system, and how all parts together work together to create the whole, and they need to know about themselves and their capacities. This seems obvious but in fact this approach is not contained within the Bachelor of Agricultural Science courses. The degree in ecological agriculture as designed also teaches about different forms of thinking. We know about 3rd Person thinking at uni because that is what unis do best. We know something about 1st Person thinking because that is about me and my perspective. We don’t hear anything though about 2nd Person thinking which is about the relationship between you and others whether it be a person or a thing. In the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture students are involved in developing all forms of thinking including 2nd Person by engagement with artistic expression which might be via art or drawing or sculpture or poetry, etc.

Position 3: Formation of the EAAA

To extend this influence into the wider community we formed the EAAA. This association represents a third force in Australian agriculture. The first force and the biggest is industrial agriculture, the next force and really the only alternative up until the emergence of the EAAA  is organic agriculture. In establishing a third force the EAAA provides a pathway for farmers who are interested in an ecological approach but don’t wish to join the organic bandwagon, and there are many in that grouping. The difference between the organic movement and the ecological movement is the emphasis the former puts on certification and the regulations which surround that.

Position 4: How does an organisation like the EAAA get traction in the community when farmers may get caught up in tramline thinking.

I am not saying that 100% of farmers are caught up in tramline thinking and indeed some farmers are very individual and experiment with forms of production and marketing. Some are indeed very innovative. Some of the biggest breakthroughs in recent times such as biological farming and Holistic Cell Grazing have emerged through the farming fraternity and not through universities. Some organisations such as Soils for Life and Landcare have been blazing a wonderful trail and demonstrating a freer way of thinking. If anything they are no longer hanging off the words of the local DPI extension office, but doing it themselves.

So getting traction is a matter of putting the word out so others can hear a different set of arguments. It also means having an active social media campaign, which we have, and an active newsletter.

We are also looking into creating a professional association around holistic science.  This is designed to create a sense of companionship and support for those who are blazing this trail. I have no doubt that we represent the future and this will become more and more evident in time.

Position 5: Climate change (CC)

CC is a symptom of the distortion that is happening. In the early years the debate was around the science of CC with many skeptics saying it was a nonsense. That debate is no longer relevant. We now know that man made CC is for real. Nonetheless, there is denial existing in the minds of many because it means giving up something that we cherish – our current way of life. This quite anthropomorphic emphasis where our thinking rarely engages in what might happen to the planet or to other species is simply a reflection on our scientific reductionist approach and resultant values which are incapable of thinking more broadly or in a more systemic manner about the issue. In my view our children and certainly our grandchildren are going to be for a very rocky period of life. I think it is scandalous that the governments of the world and particularly this the government of Australia is not putting it number one on the political agenda. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

Author and academic Brian Quinn writes in a book called Beyond Rational Management that a consequence of excessive devotion to rational thinking is the formation of a schitzogenic mindset. What that means is that a person cannot hold two conflicting world views in their mind at the one time. They tend, therefore, to accept one and remove the other. It is like that with climate change. We remove the thought of climate change by focusing on economic issues. Even the Abbott government said recently they were going to trade their way out of CC. That is an oxymoron if ever I have heard one.


We have two sides our brain as psychiatrist Ian McGilchrist testifies ( and that we have learned to develop the left rational analytical brain at the expense of the emotional feeling based intuitive right brain. It is time to balance the brain by educating the brain to be whole: to appreciate the functionalism of both the right and left side. We need to embrace not rational science but holistic science. We need to develop a focus not on things but on relationships between things. In effect we need to think systemically about issues. Once we balance our thinking we would be more in tune with the needs of the wider community and not just that of the human component of it.

Agroecology: What does it mean?


A fresh new view on agroecology has emerged from EAAA member Richard Widows who has just completed his Masters in Holistic Science through Schumacher College U.K.. Details in the link as follows:


New Soils DVD worth a look


It gets the tick of approval from all who have seen it. It is called the Symphony of the Soil. If you go to you will be able to watch four excerpts from the DVD. Highly recommended.

The cost of buying a copy of the DVD for home use is quite small (about $20). Details available through Googling the title.


A professional association?


We had a solid response to our survey regarding the formation of a professional association. At last count there were 80 returns with many good comments provided. Over the next little while we will bring you a summary of some of those comments and keep you abreast of any decisions.

The committee that is working on this comprises Dr Mary Cole, Julie Weatherhead and Sue Hill, all from Victoria, and Kerry Cochrane from NSW.

Climate Change

Final Story


During the week the EAAA circulated a GetUp story concerning South Australian grape grower David Bruer and his concerns about climate change and his wish to have it put on the agenda of the forthcoming G20 conference.

One response we got was a request to hear from other farmers about their experiences with climate. This was a good request which we pass on. If you have a spare moment please write a brief note summarising your experiences. Is it hotter and if so by how much? Is it wetter? And so on. Or are things pretty much as they always were? We would love to hear from you. (Send to



Education pillar wordle

Education pillar

Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture (BEAS)

The EAAA is happy to provide information on various educational programs in agroecology. One program is the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture (BEAS) course at CSU. If you or someone you know, is interested please Contact us here. For details of the course refer to the link below: 

Ecological Agriculture: Course Structure
Farming pillar wordle

Farming pillar

The EAAA Farmer Endorsement Program serves to help farmers “climb the ladder“ from conventional industrial agriculture to an ecologically driven farming system.

The EAAA producer endorsement is creating a "community of ecological farmers" who, through peer review, self development and mutual assistance, create a brand that will give consumers confidence that the produce they buy was grown under an ecological paradigm.
3 levels | EAAA Farmer Endorsement Scheme

To find out more, visit our website: EAAA Farmer Endorsement Program or drop us an email

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Stories for the next edition

We would love to hear your story. 

Please email stories or tips to the editor Kerry Cochrane.

Additional stories are available from our website EAAA ( and from our Facebook page and Twitter stream
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