The Carbon Farm Team

Our team currently comprises an independent Board which is empowered by the Auspice arrangement with Starfish Initiatives. As the project evolves, we will be seeking up to three additional Board members representing the skills and interests which are most relevant. All Board members contribute on a voluntary basis. The Carbon Farm will seek to employ a project manager and a range of staff/contractors as appropriate and as funded.

Each research project will involve contributions from project partners and cooperator farmers, whilst all visitors and participants in the project will be invited to become “Friends of The Carbon Farm”. A strong focus of The Carbon Farm is on engagement and participation, and the philosophy is of inclusiveness.

Garry McDouall

Garry is a senior consultant & facilitator with Resource Consulting Services (RCS), a national consultant to the agricultural sector. RCS is perhaps best known for the Grazing for Profit school which Garry has been teaching until recently (along with other courses).

Garry McDouallGarry has been a merchant banker, a farmer for 30 years, and has been heavily involved in community affairs since returning to the country in 1984. This community background has included:

  • Chairman of North West Catchment Management Committee
  • President of Double B Beef – a farmer organisation involved in education, research & marketing
  • Board member of Banksia Beef Pty Ltd – marketing beef into South Asia

His strength is in strategic thinking, understanding how complex issues can be simply addressed, and in being a catalyst for change.  He describes himself as a “specialist generalist”.

He was the inaugural President of Bingara & District Vision 2020, which facilitated a Vision for that community under the theme of “Regeneration”, and is currently deeply involved in extending that vision to 2030 and for the whole of the Gwydir Shire. This process includes creating a vision, strategic planning & then implementation.

He has been a key driver in the formation and development of The Living Classroom and of The Carbon Farm. He is currently Board Chair of The Carbon Farm.

Garry is very positive about the future of farming and of smaller rural communities, and in readying people to look for the opportunities in change.

Garry is married to Linda and they have two adult sons and four grandchildren. Garry and Linda live at “The River House” in Bingara, a home where the garden is an amazing food forest. They count their blessings on a daily basis.


Rick Hutton

Rick is an experienced business owner/manager, a teacher of geography, economics and aboriginal studies and a keen practitioner of regenerative agriculture and permaculture. He has 15 years of teaching experience and 22 years of business ownership and management.

Rick HuttonAs a teacher Rick was seconded to a team to create the first Aboriginal Studies Course in NSW. He was an initiator and steering committee member of the IGA Supermarket Group in Australia. At home, he was an instigator of Vision 2020 in Bingara and an originator of The Living Classroom.

Rick has a passion for community engagement and the prosperity and invigoration of small communities. His interests include music, drama and art. He was the inaugural President of the North West Theatre Company and has directed many, and performed in nearly all, of their productions.

Rick works part-time for the Gwydir Shire as the Gwydir Learning Region Manager. He is keen to seek local and Government support for projects that diversify our agriculture and industry, increase our skills base, and make small communities healthy and dynamic places to live.

Rick is the Secretary and Publicity Director of The Carbon Farm.


Richard Makim

Richard MakimRichard has 47 years of experience managing his own cattle stations, from far North West Queensland to the New England Tablelands.

In this time, Richard has been actively involved in numerous innovative entrepreneurial pursuits to advance the Australian agricultural industry.

Richard’s accomplishments include:

  • Representing the Cattleman’s Union of Australia, holding the position of Vice Chairman for Qld. He was a member of the CU National Council
  • Chair of the inaugural Aboriginal Liaison Committee
  • Member of the Cattle Research Committee with the CSIRO
  • Grazing representative on the Southern Gulf Catchments Committee
  • Landcare Chair and member since late 1980’s,
  • Early adopter of Holistic Grazing, implementing it since 1997
  • Committee Member of Biodynamic Australia since 2015
  • Rural Fire Warden for thirty five years for the Saxby area
  • Lifting soil carbon on “Moredon” by around 3% in 5 years

Richard’s skills include creating ways to strengthen and support local agricultural communities to generate economic growth. This leads to the multiplier effect with a compounding influence to the extended local population.

Richard and his wife Judi, have raised 7 children who now live all around Australia and overseas.

Richard is an enthusiastic advocate for holistic farming including soil health and its relationship to plant, animal and human health. He shares his knowledge through The Carbon Farm, the Biodynamic Association of Australia, local Landcare and, via his Linked In platform, with other like- minded holistic farmers from all around the world.


Rachel Lawrence

Rachel LawrenceRachel lives in Armidale and is an Agricultural Ecologist nearing completion of her PhD at the University of New England. Rachel’s PhD is investigating changes to biodiversity and landscape function that occur with planned grazing (high intensity with extended rests) in naturalised pastures in northern NSW.

Rachel’s scientific training and experience has included Forest Ecology, large-scale locust control throughout eastern Australia, and insect and plant Ecology. Rachel grew up firstly on an ex-dairy farm in southern Tasmania, and then later, on a fine-wool sheep farm in the midlands region of Tasmania. This, combined with time spent in cherished World Heritage areas of Tasmania from an early age, has led to Rachel’s passion to work towards agriculture that integrates commodity production with sound environmental and social outcomes including carbon sequestration, biodiversity and resilient communities.

This kind of agriculture can potentially address the incredibly urgent issues surrounding climate change and biodiversity loss – two issues that go hand-in-hand. Addressing both has multiple benefits for landscapes, people and communities (of both humans and other life-forms).

Rachel is also a qualified and experienced ceramic artist and would ultimately like to use this ancient art form to help communicate ideas about our environment, food system and food cultures in a fun and creative way – to adults and youth alike.


Max Eastcott

Max EastcottMax is General Manager of Gwydir Shire Council, and has been in that position since 2001. In that time he has presided over one amalgamation (Bingara & Yallaroi) and has recently been successful in staving off another. He is a very experienced local government administrator, with his work history including CEO of Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council (WA) and General Manager of Byron Council, as well as a number of Municipal Councils.  Max’s many qualifications include a Master of Sustainable Management (Syd Uni) and Master of Philosophy (Syd Uni).

Max is passionate about the broad social role Local Government can and does play, particularly in smaller rural communities.

In addition to his own experience and skills, Max is representing The Living Classroom on the Board, and will ensure the level of cooperation and cohesiveness which is reflected in the Memorandum of Understanding with The Carbon Farm.


Frances Young

Frances is a Councillor with Gwydir Shire Council and a partner with her husband in their farming enterprise near Bingara. Frances brings to the board extensive banking experience and involvement in her local community.

Prior to standing for council, Frances was Community Support and Executive Officer for Northern Slopes Landcare Association. Frances has engaged extensively with the local and regional communities through many events and projects, has facilitated embryo ideas to on-ground projects and many community engagement and educational events. She is familiar with the Landcare network throughout NSW. Recently Frances represented Gwydir Shire Council in accepting the NSW Partnerships with Landcare award.

Frances is a director of Touriandi Ltd, Bingara’s community owned and run aged care facility She is a Board member of the Bingara Sporting Club, also community owned and run. These positions are both voluntary, and Frances feels that involvement in local organisations develops capacity and builds resilience to prepare for change and growth.

Frances enjoys the involvement in these community organisations, loves living in a rural environment and believes in the strength of regional and rural communities.


Adam  Blakester

Adam has a diverse career spanning environmental, community, business and government sectors, from local through to national and international roles.

Adam’s professional focus and personal passion is to support and enable the essential changes that are required to achieve real rural, regional and remote sustainability.

The Living Classroom/The Carbon Farm is one of a range of sustainability initiatives that Adam is involved with, which in total aim to work holistically on sustainability ~ including renewable energy, reconciliation, youth development, social housing, natural funerals, bush regeneration, collaborative governance and professional leadership and development.

Adam is Executive Director of Starfish Enterprises, Director of the Minerals Policy Institute,  Director of Lock the Gate, Chair of The Armidale Waldorf School Governance & Leadership Committee, Advisory Committee Member for the UNE Student Association (UNESA), Social Leadership Australia alumnus and a member of the Great Transition Initiative.

Adam’s detailed biography is available on LinkedIn.


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The Carbon Farm is a charitable enterprise operating under the auspice of Starfish Initiatives.