#86: Brazil Nuts, Spare Bed and Ecovineyards

#86: Brazil Nuts, Spare Bed and Ecovineyards 150 150 Farmerama Radio

This month we speak to Jyoti Fernandes and the Hodmedod’s team about the new direct-trade relationship they have established with the Kayapo-led cooperative COOBA-Y. In solidarity with the Indigenous fight for survival, the partnership is bringing wild-harvested brazil nuts directly from the Kayapó people of Brazil to the UK for the first time. You can buy the nuts from the Hodmedods website.

Next, we head to Wallingford in Oxfordshire to meet Amy Collins – owner of The Five Little Pigs restaurant – who has started a Spare Bed initiative in the town. Wanting to limit their food miles and secure the best produce, Amy and the team borrowed the vegetable patches of friends and neighbours – with amazing results!

Finally, we ask Mary Retallack about Ecovineyards, a phenomenal program bringing native ground covers, soil health and an agro-ecological approach to vineyard management across Australia. Mary’s Ecovineyards program is one of the most impressive national scale programs we have come across to support a transition to more regenerative or ecological approaches. You can find out more and access many invaluable resources on their website and social media. If you are based in Australia they have a really interesting series of Spring events.

Official Transcript
Jo: Hello, welcome to Farmerama. This week we learn about how some people importing Brazil nuts to the UK are supporting the indigenous people of the Amazon. We visit a restaurant who are making use of spare growing space in their community and learn about agro-ecological approaches to managing vineyards across Australia.
Jyoti Fernandes journeyed to a gathering in the heart of the Amazon held by the Kayapo people. The indigenous peoples in the region are fighting to protect their territories after the fires that broke out whilst Bolsanaro was in power. Many of the tribes came together, along with other communities working and living in the region, to share knowledge and raise awareness to help care for the 12 million hectares of land that are affected. Joyti was there to learn, and to hopefully respond to the indigenous groups’ calls for international support. She told us about the experience and about the relationship that developed, when she returned to the UK, with Hodmedods – a company who will likely be familiar to regular Farmerama listeners.
Jyoti: So this gathering was really amazing. You know, we went into, into the Amazon and watched, you know, all these tribes come together, you know, in ways that they, you know, dress in different ways, the different sub languages that they speak, the way that they were greeting the chief and being there and communicating and talking with each other as communities about, you know, what threats they faced and what needed to happen in order to protect those territories. And one of the calls for action was help selling some of the products that they can produce within the Amazon Forest ecosystems. You know, products of the standing living forest, so that they could bring in an income stream to their communities, to their cooperatives, to their decision making structures, to their activist networks that are protecting the Amazon, and do this in a way that was held by the community. 
And so the Brazil nuts are one of those products that is there in the Amazon. They haven’t exported these nuts before, but they were starting to figure out how they would collect these from the Brazil groves, which are so old, you know, some of the trees are four hundred to a thousand years old, you know, planted by their ancestors there as part of the food forests that they manage within the Amazon. And, you know, the communities go out as a whole community of indigenous people, all the different ages together to collect these nuts which fall to the forest floor. They use that income to be able to pay the warriors within their tribe to be able to protect what they called outposts at beginnings of the entries to the rivers and to places where loggers and miners and, you know, people that might do illegal fisheries or whatever it is in the territory, to stop them from coming into that territory. And just by their presence, having those communities living there, you know, they’re protecting those territories because they’re actively managing the forest ecosystems that are there. And it, so it was really beautiful to see that these nuts were being collected by the community with their head baskets, you know, picking them there and using a machete to open the outside of it. And then they were brought back to the villages, stored in their huts, and then brought by a boat the Xingu River and put into warehouses that they built, and then get to the end of the Amazon – the river is the river Xingu – and then be taken to a place where they could then be shelved and then exported to the UK for us to buy and bring in this valuable income stream. It’s an amazing thing to know that this product has come directly from the work of the indigenous people and supports their work, and that it’s coming straight to us. 
Jo: Josiah Meldrum is founder of Hodmedods. With his partners Nick and William, the company was set up to relocalise grain and legume supply chains in the UK. 
Josiah: Our motivation was always around the wider ecosystem impacts of food and how we come by food and how food is produced and grown. We all have a background in food systems globally as well as locally, so our interest is very much in localised food systems, but within a global context of the crisis we face.
I began my career as an ecologist, and was very much inspired as a teenager in the late 80s and early 90s by pictures of rainforest destruction and the feeling that we needed to do something about something that was happening overseas. And then I had the gradual realisation that actually we can intervene here in the way that our food system works in the UK. I kind of have become sort of detached from that broader idea about deforestation and about how we might be engaged with that process. But when Jyoti came to a meeting that I happened to be at a year or so ago with a rucksack, having just got off a plane, it was compelling to say the least. When we tried the Brazil nuts, when we ate the Brazil nuts, they were just delicious. The freshness, the creaminess, the fact that they got this incredible story, this connection to an indigenous community was so inspiring that when Jyoti was beginning to explore this idea about how we get these nuts into the UK, how we make that trading connection, I kind of thought, well, we’ve already got a network of shops that we supply, a network of engaged customers, a system that we use to get things to people, to people’s homes, and to tell stories about how they’re produced and where they’ve come from – could we not just use that to help sell the Brazil nuts and build this connection? We could use our enabling and facilitating role to help build this connection to the Brazilian Amazon, to the indigenous people that are protecting what is a huge area of forest that is under critical threat and remains under critical threat. 
Jo: Nick Saltmarsh is Josiah’s business partner
Nick: Initially it was quite a big conceptual leap from handling British grown beans from farmers in East Anglia and more widely across the UK to thinking about adding Brazil nuts from the Kayapo people in the Amazon to our range. But really there is a very compelling case and we realized very quickly that this was a big opportunity to build on what we’ve tried to achieve through Hodmedod, forging closer connections between producers and the people that eat the food they grow. Our focus had always been on British Farmers. Most people don’t have the opportunity to go to a farmer and buy a bag of dried beans. Most farmers wouldn’t want to be selling to people at their farm gate. But we can fulfil a role between the farmers and people that want to eat that food. In a similar way, we can’t go to the Amazon and buy our and buy our brazil nuts, but we could see an opportunity to be as transparent a part as possible in bridging that gap between the Kayapo in Brazil and people in the UK who want to eat their fantastic nuts.
It wasn’t a huge logistic step for us. We’re very used to moving beans around Britain. Moving Brazil nuts across the Atlantic required a bit of learning (chuckle), and will certainly be easier the second time than it was the first time.
What we’ve found is that people really appreciate the opportunity to have this closer connection, to be able to buy these nuts with more awareness and more understanding of where they come from, who’s produced them, what the impact is of them, and what’s happened to them between being harvested from the trees of the Amazon and arriving at somebody’s doorstep packed in a bag so they’re ready for them to eat. 
Josiah: I think trade is often painted as extractive and exploitative, and I think for good reason. But it doesn’t need to be, it can be very, very positive. It can bring people together. We’ve always talked about relational networks of supply rather than linear supply chains where everyone can engage with everyone else in that system. Everyone can see who’s doing what, where, how much they’re getting paid, and what the broader benefit is both ecologically and to our health. I think we can replicate that in our relationship with the Kayapo and with the Brazilian Amazon. We can tell those stories very directly to our customers, the people that are buying and eating the nuts, and engage them in that whole process of protecting really quite a significant block of forest by contributing money to the people that actually live there and have a cultural connection to it. And I think that’s really, really important. I think that does make it different to an anonymous commodity that you might buy on a supermarket shelf. 
Jyoti: It’s important within solidarity trade to respect the food sovereignty of territories before focusing on export markets. And I think that’s notably what makes this different. The global trade system, the corporate controlled system of trade is hugely extractivist. You get a lot of problems generated from reliance on that global trade system. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not a role for trade to fit in, to create a positive alternative. With solidarity trade, the idea is that you trade products for generating the means for people to work for their own food sovereignty, for people to work for their own land rights, for food justice, for protecting frontline ecosystems, to be creating solutions to the climate and biodiversity crisis. So we’ll be selectively choosing products that don’t trade off with food sovereignty. That means there’s enough food there for people within their territories to feed themselves and their communities good, healthy food, using management systems that respect those ecosystems and, and work on the basis of biodiversity, but they have extra food that they can trade within the global supply chain. Solidarity trade can bring them the resources that they need to protect those valuable ecosystems, to look after the communities to – in some way – make reparations for the huge amounts of extractivism that’s happened as a result of our unbalanced, neo-colonial economic system. 
Josiah: We haven’t really invented the idea of solidarity trade. Obviously for, for many decades, there have been direct trade organizations working with communities all over the world on non-commodity crops, foods, crafts, and we’re not, we’re not overlooking all of that work and that legacy. If anything, we’re building on it and we’re looking at new ways to form relationships with those communities, wherever they might be and whatever is that they might be making, growing or, or processing.
Jyoti: So in the future, if it works and we sell these nuts, we’ll be able to expand, to be able to bring on products from other indigenous communities and peasant farmers around the world, protecting our valuable ecosystems and provide that solidarity support wider, creating a whole network of agriecological producers that we can directly be a part of. We’ll be looking to expand the products that we trade in, to think about the ecological impact of transport, working together with the Sale Cargo Alliance, and other ways of transporting that are fossil fuel free, and thinking about how all along that chain we can be supporting the producers to be able to do that frontline work that they’re doing and supporting people working within the whole supply chain: people transporting, people selling those products, independent retailers, people working within box schemes, people working in the alternative distribution and sales economy here in the UK to make it something where fairness works on all levels. We can really expand that impact and be a part of that network.
Jo: We recently made a trip to Wallingford in Oxfordshire, in the south of England, to meet the owner of a restaurant who has set up an innovative way of making use of spare garden space in the town, to grow produce to cook with. 
Amy: You judging my radish? It’s not quite as uniform as the other bits and pieces, but I’m getting distracted.
My name is Amy Collins and I am one of the three owners of Five Little Pigs in Wallingford. I’m the chef contingent of the three of us. I am currently planting out some radishes in one of our neighbour’s veg patches
Spare bed is a neighborhood farming project. We wanted to limit our impact and food miles and have better control over what we were sourcing, knowing where it came from and less food waste. We didn’t have the land to do it ourselves so we asked friends and neighbors whether we could borrow their veg patches and the response was quite overwhelming.
We’ve been really lucky in that a lot of our local community have been giving us veg surplus for, for quite some time now. The only thing I ban is marrows because I’m yet to find a way of cooking them that doesn’t fill me with dread. But other than that it’s been for the last couple of years people turning up with christ, anything you can think of. We are so lucky. It engenders this feeling of mutual community. We are very lucky. So it was just this sort of next logical step from that because, there was this frustration with the supply of fruit and veg that I was having because we’ve got an amazing grower called Mark Stevenson and he’s got an organic market garden called The Clays, and that’s in the village next to us and we’ve been using him since we opened, but he is relatively limited in terms of size and we are doing 2000 covers a month and it just, you know, we’re bleeding him dry every week from what he’s got. So I was just trying to fill a gap. I have been using other fruit and veg suppliers, but because of the lingering effects of Brexit, which everyone knows about, and the war in Ukraine, there have been massive issues over the last couple of years. And it was just not having that control over the produce that was turning up in my kitchen, seeing a lot of it go to waste because it wasn’t quite fit for purpose or seeing things coming in that have been so sort of obviously trimmed whereas I would’ve used that. Yeah. As I say it was just a frustration and this was sort of the logical way of dealing with it, I suppose. And also, I mean, this is great. I get to call this work, this is fantastic. 
So we only started this up oh two months ago, properly. We had. I think at last count it was 67 households come forward and say that we could make use of their space. The space in itself varies quite wildly. It in, you know, in a couple of instances it’s just a pot on a patio, like a sunny patio, which is great. Um, we’ve had a couple of orchards, full orchards, which is phenomenal. And that’s just, you know a part-time job in its own right, to be honest. But that’s coming for us in September. And then sort of everything in between. Administratively, it took us a month to sort of get our heads around that and work out which phases were gonna be giving us an immediate return. And that’s ones like this ones closer to the restaurant where we’ve got, you know, tomatoes, courgettes, radishes, all planted up and we’re already harvesting those from a lot of places. I’ll be taking some radishes back with me today. And yeah, all of those things are sort of making it onto the menu. The menu at the restaurant naturally has to be quite flexible to deal with things like that. And we are really proud of our ability to be flexible. Um, so yeah, it’s offering quite quick returns. It’s been helped by the weather. We’ve been incredibly lucky, but it’s just, it’s gonna be a case of scaling it up quite dramatically over the next few months and getting the overwintering crops in and things like that, just so there’s not that awful dearth of things in January, February where all it feels like you’ve got is kale for you know, weeks on end. 
We’ve got a cocktail on at the moment because we try with the food, obviously we have this ethos, but you can quite often find in a lot of restaurants that then stops as soon as you get to the bar and that just didn’t make any sense for us. So actually our bar is just as focused on sort of things being seasonal and foraged or preserved as the kitchen is. And there were a couple that came in and they had, we’ve got a radish martini. And they were, you know, having that and it was their radish. It’s amazing. I mean, you could be quite cynical about it and say, oh yeah, it’s a great marketing ploy. Obviously it works on a marketing level, but it’s so much more than that. It’s brilliant. It’s the most fulfilling thing I think I’ve ever done. Perhaps except for becoming a parent, I have to say that don’t I? It really, really is incredibly fulfilling.
Yeah. It works well. It’s sort of getting people talking to their own neighbors. Like we started a WhatsApp group and it’s really lovely. You know, someone posted the other day saying, oh, my courgette leaves are looking a bit crispy. Has anyone got any advice? And, you know, 32 messages later, well that’s nice that people are sort of talking to each other.
When we came up with the concept, we were like, surely someone’s doing this because as you say, it is sort of a relatively logical thing. We wanted to grow things. We don’t have the land. Who has the land? How can we recompense people for that? Um, what’s the system gonna be there? But no, we’ve not actually found anyone else that is doing it. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist. In terms of advice, I’m probably not gonna give farmers advice on growing things, but in terms of, you know, people that enjoy cooking and eating seasonal produces, I mean, you really can do a lot with very little like this, the amount of food we could potentially get from this, I mean, it’s a decent sized bed, but it’s not a small holding, it’s mind blowing.
And when you start growing things yourselves, your attitude to what you’ve grown is so completely different to when it’s just being dumped on your doorstep in a box. Every morning you know, you want to savor every leaf, every flower, and you treat it just naturally with so much more respect than I think you would otherwise. And that passes onto the staff. You know, they know that when I’ve grown tomatoes and I go in with the leaves, no, they’re not gonna go in the bin. They’re going into an oil. 
Thank you to how supportive everyone has been because, you know, in the same way as we crowdfunded the restaurant to get it open, things like this, we wouldn’t be here because you know, there is an obvious advantage to this and it’s partially a cost cutting exercise because margins are so hard to make at the minute. It’s not as straightforward as you take your 30% of your dish price and then multiply it and there you go, you’ll make money, you’ll pay your bills. That doesn’t survive that theory in a world where we are paying sort of 6,000 pounds a month for our energy bills. So, you know, people being on board with things like this means we will hopefully not just survive, but thrive.
Jo: Mary Retallack is an agro-ecologist with many years of experience working and applying an ecological approach to viticulture. She has a particular interest in native insectary plants and their potential in biocontrol. Mary is the brains and brawn behind the phenomenal Ecovineyards program, bringing native ground covers, soil health and an agro-ecological approach to vineyard management across Australia. 
Mary: If we go right back to the start, about three decades ago, I guess my passion for ecology and working with the intelligence of nature started when I left school to study ecology. And then I went on to study viticulture as well.
I’d also grown up on a fruit block in the Riverland where we grew wine grapes, table grapes, and also drying grapes as well. So in the vineyard I, the first vineyard that I managed, I intrinsically knew the right thing to do, which was to start to incorporate native insectary plants to provide habitat for predators.
The challenge I kind of came up against was all the insectary plants were sprayed out when that vineyard changed hands. I was pretty grumpy and I embarked on PhD studies to prove the benefits of these practices. So I was able to demonstrate that it’s possible to boost the functional biodiversity by more than three times when we use native insectary plants incorporated near grapevines. We can have a net increase of around 27%, of predatory species when we have native grasses like Wallaby grasses planted in the mid row. So I then had the science and I had a message that I was really keen to share. Um, I was really lucky to be able to source some initial funding through the National Landcare Program in 2019. So I started the Eco Vineyards program just with a focus on native and insectary plants, so plants that provide habitat for a whole lot of fauna, and I worked in conjunction with the Wine Grape Council in South Australia. We ran the program over four years. We had two intakes and we’re about to meet Dan. He was part of our inaugural intake. And now with the support of Wine Australia, we’ve taken the program national. So we’ve had overwhelming support from wine growers throughout Australia. We run events twice per year, in each of the participating wine regions. We’ve got, currently a focus on three areas: soil health, ground covers (including cover crops) and functional biodiversity.
Jo: As part of the Ecovineyards program, vineyards can apply in a competitive process to become an EcoGrower, and they then become one of the demonstration sites for that region.
So for each of our eco growers, uh, we’re in the process of setting up 30 new demonstration sites throughout Australia. And the benefit of working directly with growers doing demonstration sites is that we’re accelerating that time traditionally taken to do say, full replicated trials.
We can make informed decisions about the types of plants that are likely to, you know, perform well in a region, and then we can test those assumptions. So, you can say that the Eco Vineyards program’s been 30 years in the making. It’s exciting that now we have this opportunity to shape the way that wine grapes are grown internationally with a focus on environmental stewardship, ecology in particular, and of course working in harmony with nature.
I always try and put myself in the shoes of a grower. I used to run a vineyard, and I’ve worked with Viticulturalists all over Australia for many years. So they are looking for I guess practices that make sense. We’re providing new information. We’ve been doing a lot of the same and expecting a different outcome and of course we need to be able to do things differently to really, you know, make that step change. Everything that I do is science-based. We are really lucky to have a lot of buy-in from growers. There’s a lot of generosity there. We work from a position of generosity and kindness and that’s also reciprocated. The EcoGrowers that sign up to do our program are also contributing a financial and in kind contribution and then we times that up by at least four times and value add. We have a range of on-ground coordinators or regional on-ground coordinators that we call Rocks. So there’s one-on-one support there, and we’re empowering growers to teach other growers. So it’s just not top-down information coming from me as a scientist, but we’re working to provide really timely and practical solutions for growers that make sense. And we’ve got this critical mass of interested growers and it just keeps growing. And it’s all about working smarter rather than harder, breaking that cycle of intervention. And what we wanna do is set our vineyards up for long-term solutions and, and build resilience so that we can bounce back if there’s disruption in the vineyard through climate change, extreme weather events, whatever that might be.
Jo: Dan Falkenberg is the viticulturist at Eden Hall Wines in Barossa, Australia. He’s been an EcoGrower for a few years.
Dan: I always had a passion for the environment, but being able to weave that into a production system like a vineyard. With Mary’s program, the Ecovineyards, that was just right up my alley, straight away. Because I wanted to look at different ways of being able to produce grapes sustainably and really a long-term approach and seeing whether I could bring native vegetation into the vineyard really for Biocontrol. The Ecovineyards program with Mary’s science base behind that really quantifies all of those things so that for us as EcoGrowers, there is some science behind it to say that we are actually doing the right thing. And yes, it works..
So as time goes on, more and more people are getting involved, some getting in a lot more interest from other people who want to come to our vineyards and have a look at what we do, how we establish native grasses and what the benefits are and all of the native vegetation that goes with that.
So there’s certainly a shift in that way of thinking. Initially, I got a small grant, to establish native grasses to enhance biodiversity in the vineyard.
So, I wanted to establish some native grasses in there, and at that time, I could only get four species. Um, and they were pelleted. So it gives it the ballistic properties to flow through a seeder. Because if you’ve seen native grass, it’s inherently difficult to manage. It’s quite fluffy and it blows away in the wind. It’s really quite tricky to deal with. So we had a good stand there with that over a 10 year period. Because I could only get those four species, I really wanted more diversity. I wanted to shift from that monoculture system to a Polyculture system.
So, with the Ecovineyards project, and as time has moved on, more species became available, so we’ve been able to add in huge diversity of native grasses and so oversow them into the vineyard, which now has really given quite a broad mix of species throughout that vineyard. And not only in the mid row, but that’s actually spreading under vine now. So we are reducing herbicide, all those sorts of things are starting to really fall by the wayside. So that’s a big, look at how I’ve traversed over the last decade or so. And that then has sort of flowed on to where I work at Eden Hall now, where you know, we’ve developed nine hectares of native grass in the mid rows and also taken herbicide out of the equation and allowed it to grow under vine, and the vines are extremely happy. We are doing more and more each year in that space. And it, to me, it has a huge amount of benefits. We’re bringing sheep into the, to the equation as well. We are only having to mow once a year, where previously we were mowing four times a year. So, you know, we can bring in these other management techniques by bringing in something that’s an Australian native that gives us great benefit. They flower at the same time as grapevines do. So you’ve got all of these beneficial insects that are hanging around in the vineyard at that time of flowering when typically you could have brown apple moth or other pests there.
So you, you’re creating this biocontrol there within the vineyard. And it’s really a win-win situation. It’s about working smarter with the environment and not harder. 
You are always gonna have some pests within your vineyard, you know? It’s about monitoring. And we’re seeing reductions in light brown apple moth and other pests there by bringing natives into the equation. So insecticides are one of those things that are just falling by the wayside. So for us, it’s a money saver, it’s a time saver, and it’s an ecological way of being able to manage something within the vineyard. 
Mary: There’s a whole range of other ecosystem services that we are able to tap into, essentially for free. So things like Dan’s mentioned the biocontrol of insect pests, but also weed suppression, erosion control, improved soil structure, nutrient cycling, soil retention of water, and improved organic matter and that biological activity. Everything we do, we’re interested in the cost benefit.
And I know in Dan’s case, you’d like to elaborate on this further, you were doing an annual tricover crop prior to changing to the native grasses, and they’re cheaper initially to put in, but you’re having to intervene on an annual basis. So the native grasses might cost say $1,500 a hectare in the mid row to establish, so you won’t break even until year two or year three. But then you’ve broken that cycle of intervention. It’s a perennial regenerating grass, so you’re not having to prepare the soil, compact it, destroy the soil structure, pay for that seed, slash spray it out and so forth. And I know Dan, some of your comments were that you had an issue with Light Brown Apple Moth in the Grenache previously. You also had some pressure from some pre evening primrose, wild weed Salvation Jane, and by changing that management practice, like you said, you didn’t have to intervene with insecticides, but it also helped outcompete those weeds and to be able to help store moisture at depth. And we also know that we can get some significant benefits in terms of the building of organic matter over a number of years. It can go up 23% off of a standing base. So there’s a lot of benefits to thinking about the long-term change and ultimately that’s gonna save time and money and you get all those other benefits that come with that practice change as well. Part of what we are doing also is we’re advocating for a hundred percent ground cover and active root growth a hundred percent of the time, wherever possible. So that means that we are moving from annuals to perennials. We’re moving from introduced, say, commercial perennials to locally adapted species, which are native grasses and we’re interested in multi-species mixes.
So just making sure that we are moving away from bare earth wherever possible is a really important part of, actually, it seems counterintuitive, but that’s the way for us to grow carbon, and actually store water at depth as well so it’s available when the plants need it. And instead of, um, storing water above grand dams, what we are really keen to do is store water in the soil profile so it’s there when we need it and it’s protected when those conditions are particularly hot. There’s otherwise going to be a lot of evaporation losses.
We actually received some really nice feedback from one of our eco growers, Heather Webster, just today. So her answer to the question, why is the EcoGrower Ecovineyards program special is it’s a powerful program based on strong science. It’s a program of its time with significant public appeal and the capacity to engender a whole new generation to connect in a positive way with the land, which sustains all of us. It’s more than a way of growing grapes. It’s a signpost to a better way to live. It’s also sorely needed in an environment under pressure and facing significant losses to our unique Australian flora and fauna we yet don’t understand. I was quite touched by that. It’s really quite insightful.
And the other testimonial that I have from a local grower, Lulu Lan from Tin Toki Vineyards touches me also. I’ve known Lulu for many years and she’s been wine grapes for many years. And in her words, she can’t speak more highly of the Ecovineyards program. It’s a privilege to be part of the program. She’s learned so much more about ecology and interaction of plants, insects, and even soil and its microbiome since beginning with Ecovineyards, it’s encouraged her to read, learn, and research more and be more inquisitive. And Lulu says after 35 years of being in the same job, it’s reintroduced enthusiasm back into it and she’s really excited about the future.
And it’s kind of that feedback that really makes it so worth it for me, just knowing that you’re making a change. 
Dan: Yeah, look, it’s a fantastic program that everyone can get involved with. And, you know, I look back at, well Mary and I’ve known each other for a long time now, but, you know, looking at just what I have learned, you know, over that space of time, it’s been a really quite an incredible journey. Considering what’s going on at the moment? I suppose in terms of climate change wine grapes can be highly affected by changes in climate. This program brings about some of that science, but also the principles and practices behind that to create that resilience. So it’s a great program for change. I can see this program growing bigger and bigger.
And from what it has started out to what it is now, I think the sky’s the limit. This is certainly chugging along very nicely and, and it’s certainly gonna become mainstream at some point in time. That’s for sure. Brilliant. 
Mary: Part of the Ecovineyards program, we meet growers whether they’re from a traditional way of growing grapes or conventional way, right through to minimal input regenerative, organic, biodynamic – whatever the approach is being taken, there’s an opportunity to then run an ecological lens over those practices and work in harmony with nature. And, we don’t need to fight nature. We are nature. So whatever we do to nature, we’re doing to ourselves. Working in harmony with nature provides better outcomes. 
Jo: The Ecovineyards program is one of the most impressive national scale programs we have come across to support a transition to more regenerative or ecological approaches. You can find out more and access many invaluable resources on their website and social media and if you are based in Australia they have a really interesting series of Spring events.
This episode of Farmerama was made by Abby Rose and me, Jo Barratt. Big thanks to the rest of the farmerama team Katie Revell, Dora Taylor, Olivia Oldham, Annie Landless, Eliza Jenkins and Lucy Fisher and Fran Bailey. Our theme music is by Owen Barratt
Jo: We’re very grateful to those of you that support us and allow us to bring you these stories every month. Even the smallest contribution makes a big difference to us. So if you’d like to become a supporter, you can visit patreon.com/farmerama.