Independent Grocery retailer Harris Farm Markets are fighting soil degradation and climate change with a new, Australia-first public education campaign to bring about change to farming practices.
The campaign will work with high-profile farmers, suppliers, and producers to educate Australians about the importance of regenerative farming. Harris Farm Markets has a commitment to more than double its number of regeneratively farmed products by the end of 2021, and double this again by 2022.
Regenerative farming focuses on farming soil rather than farming for a ‘product’. It focuses on ecology and understanding soil biodiversity. One of the benefits is that more nutrients are kept in soil, meaning food grown this way tastes better and is healthier.
Chris Balazs, former scientists and now CEO of a regenerative beef producer and supplier Provenir said, “I don’t call myself a cattle farmer. I realised in order to breed the best cattle, I had to become a grass grower, and in order to do that, it was all about the soil and the amount of water I could retain in the soil.”
More than a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are the result of traditional farming methods. In contrast, regenerative farming can sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
Healthy soil with high carbon levels acts as a sponge for water, meaning it is more equipped to deal with drought conditions. Harris Farm Markets is the first Australian grocery retailer to make a widespread call for regenerative farming.
CEO Angus Harris said, “Australia is an agricultural powerhouse, however, if we don’t start to innovate the way we are producing we will be at risk of irreversible damage to our soil and therefore an impact to our food supply and quality.”
“Put simply, at Harris Farm Markets we are urging all consumers to dig deep and really question where their food is coming from and the impact this has on our future. If you are concerned about climate change, the most simple way to do your part is to shop for regeneratively farmed products.”
Partners, experts and industry bodies involved include farmer Charlie Arnott, Land to Market Australia, the Mulloon Institute, YLAD Living Soils, and Provenir.
Composting will also start taking place in selected Harris stores.
The regenerative ethos was extended to the Harris Family Farm, Cox’s River Rest in Megalong Valley, NSW which farms beef, lavender and rosemary. For the last eighteen months, Cox’s River Rest Farm has been undergoing its own regenerative farming initiative in partnership with the Mulloon Institute.
More than 40 tonnes of humus compost has been created from food waste collected from Harris Farm stores, with a special blend of additional minerals and nutrients added, and this has been used directly at Cox’s River Rest Farm. Referred to as Harris Farm’s custom-created ‘SOILBIOTIC’, it will be available in Harris Farm stores for a limited time to give Australians the chance to regenerate their own backyards.
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