Do and I just completed the Holistic Management course with Brian Wehlburg from Inside Outside Management and it has inspired and encouraged us in many areas of our lives. It is fantastic to see a course that is primarily aimed at farmers start with personal goals around health, family, environment, community and finance. Starting with getting people to take a deeper look into what their real needs are in life sets the stage perfectly for decisions around land management, environmental health and financial planning.
Doing the course together was useful as it ran over 5 months (2 consecutive days a month) and had plenty of homework, forcing us to sit down and have a really deep look at what we are doing right and what we need to change……… that’s hard sometimes but at least when you both have the same information it’s easier to to apply.
We were encouraged to look at each of our enterprises and pull them apart, asking questions about each one to see if it met our criteria,then we analysed the financial breakdown for each one, an activity that is both challenging and rewarding. This ultimately led us to making decisions that we may have put off for months or years.
Regenerating land using livestock is a concept that challenges whole way we look at farming, and there is no better way to explain it than by watching this short TED talk by Allan Savory (the founder of Holistic Management)
Learning the specifics of how to graze; stock per area, how often to move stock, how much rest time to give the land before returning stock to it, the difference between grazing in the growing and the non growing periods sounds tricky. How to fit all this in with the rest of life may seem almost impossible but guided through the process using tried and tested formulas and came out the other end with carefully worked out plans that took all aspects of our lives into account.
Doing the course over a period of months while actually trialling the methods in the paddocks is incredibly useful as it gives time for experimentation, error and feedback from both Brian and other students.
Participants in the course ranged from seasoned farmers to people who were looking at buying, leasing or managing land. There were both conventional and organic growers and Brian did a great job of not favouring any particular methods, rather encouraging the participants to asses their chosen methods according to energy use (e.g. does it use today’s or yesterdays sunlight?), long term land heath (e.g.is it increasing or diminishing soil life ecosystems and plant communities) and ultimately how it is going to effect our own long term health and happiness.
Developing tools for farmers that use the simple inputs of sunshine, water, animals and human creativity is critically important for the future of our planet as vast tracts of land are turning into desert and wasteland. This is the very land that can be feeding populations, creating jobs and bring life back to the earth.
Brian will be back to run another Holistic Management course at Fair Harvest next year…..for more details click here
Finishing here with one of my favourite video clips on how important each part of the whole is…..