The Carbon Farm
The Carbon Farm (TCF) is a community project. It consists of an area of 100 hectares of formerly degraded grazing land adjoining The Living Classroom (TLC) at Bingara. It has been ‘at rest’ for nearly four years and now it is about to be regenerated to showcase the options for sequestering carbon into soil. It will truly become a ‘diamond in the rough’!
The Carbon Farm will provide a site for farmers, researchers, all levels of education, and visitors from all walks of life to participate in, to see and to consider the many and varied options for soil management and carbon capture. Funded by government grants and by public and corporate donations, The Carbon Farm will be available to visitors all year round. The Carbon Farm complements The Living Classroom.
Sequestering carbon in the soil is a “win win” for farmers (greater fertility, water holding capacity, more resilience, improved productivity), for our local economies (more prosperous farmers and more of them) and for the world (part of the solution to the challenges of climate change).
Note: The Living Classroom and The Carbon Farm are separate legal entities, but operate closely together under a Memorandum of Understanding. For the purpose of this vision, they are treated as a combined facility.
IMAGINE– an ecological and environmental “wonderland”, a showcase for the future of agriculture and for city and country living, a magnet and an inspiration for regional, national and international visitors, a centre for education and for experimentation for all generations, and for all levels of learning – imagine “The Living Classroom”.
The Living Classroom has turned 120 ha of degraded town Common into a food production paradise, combining lessons of the past with experiments for the future, the techniques of many cultures (including our indigenous culture), and the understanding of a wide range of disciplines. It combines science with holism, and brings the scientific and the agricultural communities together.
It works by all participants agreeing to principles for regenerative agriculture, and then by measuring and monitoring changes in a wide range of ecological and economic indicators.
The Living Classroom recognizes that we are entering a period of extraordinary change. It seeks to chart a positive journey through that change, focusing on taking advantage of the opportunities which change will create.
It resembles a wonderful garden, but is in fact a highly productive agricultural enterprise – demonstrating a wide range of food production activities and combining agriculture with horticulture, aquaculture and forestry. It works with the synergies between these activities.
Its focus is on food quality, and the connection between soil health, plant and animal health and human health.
Our physical facilities are complemented by a superb website and communications strategy, aimed at extending the “Living Classroom” story to the world, whilst coordinating and extending the results of work done elsewhere in Australia and overseas.
The town of Bingara is utilizing “The Living Classroom” to become a “closed loop” community – self sufficient in food, and recycling all compostable waste (including treated sewerage) back to the site.
The Living Classroom is integral to the community’s Vision for the future of the town and Shire. It provides an example to the region’s farmers of how to develop resilience to change, whilst integrating that resilience with a resilient urban community. It builds on existing alliances to cement city to country connections, and introduces and educates children and their parents to the wonders of food, and to the natural systems of which food production is a part. It offers an opportunity for all generations to “get their hands dirty” and to reconnect with the soil.
The Living Classroom directly employs some twenty people, but provides the catalyst for a whole range of other activities in the Shire and Region, and indirectly employs many more.The project demonstrates the power of Partnerships – between the local and experiential communities, the full range of educational institutions, many layers of industry, and all levels of government.
Our Vision for the Living Classroom lies in the journey – in the process of learning and of stimulation. The journey will be continuous, as the project must constantly evolve to anticipate a changing world.
The Carbon Farm and The Living Classroom
– Birds eye fly-over view from the north east.
From the north east corner of TLC this flight takes you southwards, upstream from the Great Lake, over the Aussie Farm Dam Makeover project. To the right is ‘Paradise Found’ the Mediterranean Garden. To the left is ‘Nourish’ – The Bush Tucker Garden. South of the Main Dam lies The Carbon Farm site, before the view turns back towards the sun and the buildings at TLC. [Note: For best effect Click on the HD button and view in full screen.]
Footage compliments of McGregor Gourlay.
The Carbon Farm Statement of Purpose
- To establish a farm on approximately 100 ha adjoining The Living Classroom at Bingara, on the North West Slopes of NSW.
- The Carbon Farm is a key strategic initiative within a broader range of work designed to create a positive and prosperous future for Bingara, and for Gwydir Shire.
- The primary purpose of the farm is Research and Education into all aspects of Regenerative farming, with special emphasis on sequestering carbon into soil and vegetation (with a view to permanence).
- To achieve our vision, we plan to turn a previously degraded parcel of land (the old town Common) into a highly productive and ‘visually appealing paradise’. We will do this following principles of nature.
- We have a broad range of beneficiaries and audiences for this work – farmers, researchers, students, our tourist visitors, indeed everyone who eats!
- We will ensure that the project is measured and monitored using best available techniques, starting with a thorough baselining of the soil (particularly the carbon percentage), and of flora and fauna.
- We will incorporate livestock, particularly cattle, into a grazing system.
- There will be sufficient paddocks to ensure a range of trials, and to be able to build adequate rest for pastures into the grazing management plan. Each paddock will still be of a functional size (not smaller than 2 ha).
- The Carbon Farm will engage in seamless interaction with the infrastructure, other projects and education programs of The Living Classroom.
- We will also work with a range of suitable partners in conducting trial work with the goal of the farm being for demonstration and educational extension
- We intend to build a network of cooperator farmers who are engaged with the project, and who are willing to extend trial work to broader scale areas.
- Whilst The Carbon Farm is small in physical size, it will have a very strong virtual presence which is intended to enable extensive network development throughout the world
- The Carbon Farm is a not for profit organization, and has charitable status, initially through its association with Starfish Initiatives. It has an independent Board of Directors.
- We will welcome the public (including the local community) to be part of The Carbon Farm in a way which is consistent with sound farm management practices, biosecurity and public safety
- The Carbon Farm will conduct its affairs in a professional manner – from governance through to on-farm operations, research, and educational programs
- The Carbon Farm will significantly strengthen the attractiveness of Bingara and Gwydir Shire as a place to visit and to live, and it is planned to increase the resilience of the community
- Garry McDouall – Board Chair. Mob: 0428 834 281 | Email: email@example.com
- Rick Hutton – Secretary/Publicity. Mob: 0438 355 197 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rachel Lawrence – Board Member. Tel: 04 0176 1807 | Email: email@example.com
- Richard Makim – Board Member. Mob: 0428 468 719 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Max Eastcott – General Manager Gwydir Shire Council & Board Member. Mob: 0427 240 112 | Email: email@example.com
- Frances Young – Gwydir Shire Council Councillor & Board Member. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Adam Blakester – Starfish Initiatives Governance & Auspice. Mob: 0419 808 900 | Tel: 02 6775 2501 | Email: email@example.com