Tasmania has some of Australia’s best soil, but former Govenor General, Major General the Hon. Michael Jeffery, doesn’t want to leave them the chance.
He says a national, coordinated and forward thinking approach to restoring the landscape is his mission as Australia’s national soils advocate.
In Tasmania this week to speak, present tertiary agricultural scholarships at Agfest, and visit leading farmers, Major General Jeffery stopped off at the Trevallyn Primary School.
“I’ve just had a bit of a fiddle in the garden here and the smell of the soil is very sweet,” he said.
“The kids seem to know about compost and all that sort of thing, which is key of course to get the soil kick started into becoming healthier and able to produce the vegetables in the quality and the quantity that they all want.
“One of the great things about these school gardens is that the kids can observe, if they have that interest, and they can learn a lot through good teaching.
“It mightn’t be the teachers in the schools themselves, but it could be retired people coming in to talk about soil microbiology, or photosynthesis, or water or what the trees do in pulling down CO2.
“All those things can be taught from the school garden.
“One of my aims amongst many is to try and get urban Australia reconnected to its rural roots.
“I’m looking at two things; I’ve got a program called soils for life and that is 19 best practice farming and grazing sites around the country.
“I call that fixing the paddock, and these are all successful farmers that have been able to get rid of pesticides and chemicals and so on.
“But the other is to try and get the policy sorted.
“We need a national landscape management policy that involves the whole of the country and all its river systems and floodplains and wetlands and so on.
“That’s got to come form the political level.
“We’ve got to get everybody, all the states, all the federal people onside about getting some objective about what we want to do to restore and maintain our landscape fit for purpose.”