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Ecological News

Newsletter of the
Ecological Agriculture Australia Association

No. 27 | August, 2015
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  • Editorial
  • Organic Ag & CO2
  • Small water cycles
  • Pope Francis' Encyclical Letter
  • Organic no-till
  • Bhutan & Happiness
  • Eating is political
  • Deep Winter Agrarian Gathering
  • Membership
  • Join us!

Artwork of the month

‘Twilight Zone’
The Tasmanian Devil
Dr Johannes Bauer

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 "It is not a question of capitalism, socialism, communism or even dictatorship; it is the need for a compassionate, thoughtful civilisation." 

~  Will Sutton  ~




The past few weeks have been busy for the EAAA. Our primary objective has been to explore the creation of an Institute which would be a professional entity. The objective of the exercise is to provide an organisational structure to support those graduates, or those farmers, with a level of prior learning experience, to become registered within a professional entity much as happens with the Institute of Agricultural Science & Technology. That entity recognises reductionist science; the institute created via the EAAA will recognise holistic science. In suggesting the need for a separate entity to the IAST we are acknowledging the existence of distinct differences in values between the two entities, and, given that fact, the more desirable structure at this juncture is to create a separate Institute that is aligned with ecological values.

The EAAA Working Party has selected a front-runner for a name for the Institute: The Institute of Ecological Agriculture. This was agreed upon from a short list of four which had emerged after considering over 15 potential names.  Over the next couple of weeks also we should decide on the structure of the Institute. The two preferred structures will be as a cooperative or an association.

What I can share, however, is the draft of the strategic plan. It is worthwhile putting this up in lights at this stage in the hope that we might get some feedback or recommendations for changes. Please feel free to do so.


To influence Australian and world-wide agriculture to adopt  ecologically, holistic and ethically driven processes that develop bio-diverse landscapes, biologically enriched soil, healthy food, and vibrant communities enabling the emergence of an economical and regenerative farming system.


The Institute will advocate for and promote an ecological approach to agriculture and natural resource management through the provision of a range of services including education, research and community engagement.


  1. To promote the knowledge and techniques relevant to an ecological approach to agriculture and to propagate the information through workshops, online course, TAFE and university courses, or by whatever mechanism enables others to learn.
Community of practice:
  1. To create communities of practice to enable ideas to be exchanged and support to be rendered.
Advisory service:
  1. To establish an advisory service to enable assistance to be given to those who need guidance to move towards an ecological approach.
  1. To establish a farmer endorsement program to enable producers to promote their produce based on the tenets of an ecological production system.
  2. To support a fair and equitable marketing structure with an emphasis on lowering the carbon footprint.
  1. To (1) register graduates whose studies prepare them to think holistically, and (2) provide means for recognition of those with practical experience of ecological theory and practice but without a university qualification!
  1. To promote research into ecological approaches to the production and distribution of food and fibre and to extend this information through newsletters, journals, conferences and online forms of knowledge sharing.
  1. To raise the profile of ethics in decision-making through education.
Community engagement:
  1. To promote an ecological approach to agriculture through community education.
  2. Engage with key stakeholders to build a broad coalition promoting common objectives.

Kerry Cochrane

Editor | EAAA President

Organic agriculture and CO2 emissions

Organic agriculture and CO2 emissions


The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) has responded to queries about climate change and organics and greenhouse gas emissions. The first paragraph explains the background to the article: 

"The article published in the mail online on the paper  â€˜Does certified organic farming reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production?’ presents no scientific evidence that organic farms put out more greenhouse gases than other farming systems and uses unfounded assumptions to form conclusions. The published peer-reviewed science shows that these assumptions and conclusions are clearly wrong. Continue reading ...
Will Elrick

Still on climate change: An opinion piece from EAAA member and Ecological Agriculture student Will Elrick



Water vapour and small water cycles; is this missing from our conversations about climate change?

There is much talk about rising levels of carbon, and rightly so.  Any conversation to do with the plight of the world, whether it is for or against is a good thing, so long it is done with respect.  Without conversation and debate, solutions will always be hidden. 

So what about water vapour?  What does this have to do with anything? Continue reading ...


Can agroecology feed the world?

Can agroecology feed the world?


Many would say no but evidence suggests otherwise. This is the gist of a letter to the FAO Director General Jose Graziano de Silva following a meeting of agroecologists in Mali recently.

Read the letter by clicking here.
Should the Pope be invited to join the EAAA!

Should the Pope be invited to join the EAAA!


If you read the Pope’s recent encyclical on climate change you will notice a deep ecology sentiment running through it. By deep ecology I am referring to the model established by Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss who coined the term to reflect that state of consciousness where nature and human are at one with each other or to define it precisely according to Wikipedia: Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological and environmental philosophy characterized by its advocacy of the inherent worth of living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and advocacy for a radical restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas.

This contrasts with what is referred to as shallow ecology where a separateness exists between humans and nature and where the raison d’etre is to get what one can get from nature.

This deep ecology perspective is respectful of nature and sees humans as simply one cog in the vast wheel of nature and not THE cog as might be assumed in many quarters.

Read the following and see where the Pope situated himself and the church. 

Speaking of the Pope and related matters



... although the following bears no relationship with religion.

The 8th edition of the Journal of Spirituality Leadership & Management has been released. The theme for the excellent line up of papers is Mindfullness. The Journal is free and can be accessed via
Is organic no-till a possibility?

Is organic no-till a possibility?


Well according to research conducted at Ohio State University and also at Rodale Institute for organic research it is doable with some pretty good outcomes:

Click on the graphic to view 6 min video


Source: Organic Science Magazine of Canada
Lack of information in Australia

Lack of information in Australia on ecological/organic agriculture

With each edition the EAAA newsletter carries stories from the Organic Journal of Canada. Often the information has direct relevance to the Australian farming scene and therefore we run the story.

The point of this message is that Australia lacks research data on ecological/organic agriculture compared with the Canadian scene. The EAAA will continue its efforts to bring you stories of interest, however and equally, universities and research stations have a significant role to play here as well – but don’t seem to be doing so! The following has been taken from the July edition of Organic Friends E-Zine which is the voice piece of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada.

The role of organics in supporting pollinator health:

Happiness is a place

Bhutan and Happiness


We are well aware of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) but what about Gross National Happiness (GNH) which is how Bhutan measures the ‘wealth’ of their country. If we placed the GNH template over the Australian psyche I wonder how well we would score. A person who could provide some insight into this is Will Sutton from Mudgee. Will visited Bhutan recently and sent this report. There is a video attached to this in which the participants (including Will) introduced themselves and then indicated what they learnt from the workshop experience:

"During June 2015 I travelled to Bhutan to attend the Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Business programme. Basically GNH is a measure or index of a nations well-being and contentment. It has now been recognised and supported by the UN as a measuring index. Our politicians, bureaucrats, economists and most business people continue reading ...
Eating is political

Is Eating Unavoidably Political? It seems so! 


The following article is well worth a few minutes and Wendell Berry’s interview is priceless.

This article is part of the Democracy Futures series, a joint global initiative with the Sydney Democracy Network. The project aims to stimulate fresh thinking about the many challenges facing democracies in the 21st century. The author is Alana Mann.

Link to the article:

Click on Wendell Berry's interview:

Deep Winter Agrarian Weekend (Img src: AFSA)

Deep Winter Agrarian Gathering

31 July - 2 August, 2015
Img src: AFSA
"The need to build a food system that includes true cost of farming – the social, ecological and regenerative costs of farming – has never been greater" 
~ Robert Pekin | FoodConnect

The inaugural Deep Winter Agrarian Gathering was held in Daylesford, VIC over the weekend 31 July - 2 August, 2015. Robert Pekin, founder of Brisbane-based food enterprise Food Connect sums up the motive that brought over 150 people together in the above quote. Meat producers, egg producers, vegetable producers, orchardists, aquaculturalists and 'connectors' engaged in wide ranging discussions relating to the education, production and marketing issues facing farmers - broadacre or niche - across Australia.  

The attendance reflects an interest in an alternative framework of marketing of organic products which is very much selling straight to the consumer. The meeting was organised by Tammi Jonas, President of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. The discussion was wide ranging but of interest was the mention the new Bachelor of Agroecology at Riverina TAFE got and the expectation of it starting next year. 

Follow the link to the full media release on the transformational Deep Winter Agrarian Gathering, August 2015.

Winter Woodstock heralds revolution in Australian agriculture!


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Newsletter compiled by Kerry Cochrane | Editor
Design & Digital Communications by Susan Hill

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