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Hope and inspiration, from determination

29 July 2022
By Regional Soil Coordinator Cameron Leckie and Lismore Node Manager Amanda Scott

The RCS Convergence, celebrating 30 years of RCS Australia (a Hub Network Parter), was held in Brisbane on July 16-17, focusing on agriculture, human and planetary health. More than 600 people attended and despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the world today, the resounding narrative emerging from the Convergence was one of hope and inspiration.  

The Convergence featured a host of world-quality speakers, brilliantly stage managed by Event MC Anthony James of The RegenNarration podcast

Whilst all of the speakers were excellent, there were several that stood out.

Particular crowd favourites included Garlone Moulin of Mt Pleasant Station near Bowen Queensland who received a standing ovation from the crowd for her inspiring story of how an over-grazed and highly degraded landscape has been transformed into a productive and profitable operation rich in biodiversity. Truly inspiring. As was Dianne Haggerty’s (from Western Australia) presentation on Natural Intelligence Farming and its proven potential to convert large areas of highly degraded landscapes into profitable and healthy mixed farming operations.  

One of Amanda’s favorite presentations was Walter Jehne who explained how current and future “hydrological extremes” can be managed by creating a carbon sponge via the formula of A (Agriculture), B (stopping the Burn), C (stabilising soil Carbon) and D (reaping the Dividends). His ability to take complex concepts and present them in a simple and pragmatic way was powerful. His talk was so popular that the MC was almost booed off stage when Walter’s time was up.

Cameron’s favourite presentation was by the American author, Regenerative Agriculture podcast host and consultant John Kempf. In a presentation that ranged from the highly philosophical to the nitty gritty of plant physiology, John’s presentation kept the audience on the edge of their seat in an hour-long presentation that passed in the blink of an eye.

Lorraine Gordon’s presentation on ‘Convergence in regenerative education’ spoke of generational changes in learning, from our parents’ linear experience of one-curriculum to one-job careers, to our own more spiralled learn-assess-revisit learning models and career choices. Today curriculums must be flexible and readily adapt to a world where jobs morph or disappear and people’s career interests change. In this context, the principles of regenerative agriculture can be applied across multiple disciplines, whereby creative minds are given optimal natural conditions to bloom. To this end and drawing on the success of its Regenerative Agriculture course, Southern Cross University is developing a Regenerative Masterclass, where graduates from engineering, science, health and other backgrounds will come together to regenerate paddocks of thought with well-trodden accepted paradigms, in the hope of realising fresh solutions for a world that is converging at a mind-bending pace. (Lorraine is the Director of Strategic Projects, Farming Together and the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, at Southern Cross University. They are a Hub Node Partner.) 

It was not just the presentations, questions and panel discussions that made the RCS Convergence a memorable occasion but meeting people, across a range of industries and sectors, who all had a deep care for the land and the people and communities that manage that land. 

In a world where the interconnectedness of our soil, landscapes, animal, human and societal well-being is inextricably linked and interdependent, the deep care for the land was highlighted by the recurrent theme throughout the conference of Stewardship as a guiding principle by which our country and its people can be healed.