Mr Andrews’ award is for “service to conservation and the environment through the development and promotion of sustainable farming practises”.
He is best known for advocating Natural Sequence Farming (NSF), a technique that restores natural water cycles, even in times of drought, by maintaining a cover of vegetation to stop the soil losing moisture and nutrients.
Restoring the land
Mr Andrews says it’s an honour to receive the medal, and adds that he hopes it might lead to a better understanding of how the Australian landscape works.
“Before European settlement, we had an amazing filtering system and groundwater storage system (based on dense plant cover) that maintained high levels of productivity under the extreme conditions we’ve got, and now we’ve more or less dismantled it.
“The issue that frustrates me is that the whole planet runs on sunlight and that’s got to be converted by plants to a product that everything in the food chain can use.
“These massive changes (we’ve made) in the way a landscape functions is exactly what we’re now experiencing. We just go from drought to excessive rain events, basically because there’s nothing managing those huge thermal energies that are released every day from the sun.”
Mr Andrews visits about 50 properties each year, teaching farmers how the natural system on their property works.
This year he plans to set up a train-the-trainer program so others can also teach about Natural Sequence Farming.
This short video was put together as a school project by Peter Andrews’ 11 year old grandson, Hamish. It speaks simply and directly about the prospect of Hamish’s home, Tarwyn Park – and the 30 years of work that it represents – being lost forever for the sake of a coal mine. Hamish wrote the script himself, and took many of the photos.
Tarwyn Park is located near Bylong in the Upper Hunter Valley region of NSW, Australia. It is renowned nationally (and internationally) as the home of Peter Andrews’ “Natural Sequence Farming” approach to the restoration of detiorated landscapes and replenishment of natural water systems.
To quote prominent Australian businessman, Gerry Harvey: “The place should be a bloody shrine, not a hole in the ground. What the hell are they thinking?”
A very big thank you to John Butler Trio and Phil Stevens at Jarrah Records for their permission for Hamish to use JBT’s “Better Than” as the soundtrack, and to make this video available to the general public on Youtube.
Peter Andrew’s Tarwyn Park neighbour, Craig Shaw, contacted TarwynPark.com.
“Just wanted to make sure you were aware of this article from today’s Sydney Morning Herald about the threat to Tarwyn Park from mining. It’s got a couple of great quotes in it from Gerry Harvey. I’m sure you’d agree: seeing Tarwyn potentially become a mine is soul-destroying and simply beggars belief.”
“I just wanted to clarify something, however.”
“I was with Stuart when he took the call from the Herald’s reporter and nothing was said that should have given that impression; sometimes I guess reporters don’t quite get it right. What WAS said was that negotiations regarding drilling were proceeding and that no access agreements had been signed at this stage, and signing wouldn’t happen until there was some reassurance regarding the potential impacts.”
(The article states… “But Mr Andrews has barred his gates to Anglo American Coal workers seeking to drill bores on the property to locate and measure the coal seams beneath it, and neighbouring landholders have followed suit
And yes, Craig I absolutely agree with you, it more than beggars belief.
Australia has so little quality farmland and to consider it should be desecrated for coal mining, a product that maybe one of the worst energy producing contributors to “Green House Effect” is sheer lunacy. It is beyond absurd that Tarwyn Park should be be underthreat.
To The Korea Electric Power Corporation and Australian miner Cockatoo Coal; back off, get your grubby mitts of Tarwyn Park.