FigTrees Organic Farms takes out Black-Woods Shield at Inverell.

01st Dec 2011

Initially when Bob McGuffick approached me to enter this year’s Black -Woods Shield competition for resource management I wasn’t sure about the idea, but as time went on I have realised what a great honour it is to be representing the care and stewardship of land and water resources in Australia.

I take my hat off to the two founders of the MDU, Max Woods and Jack Black for their wisdom in establishing a future directive for the Inverell district which recognised the importance of natural resources and processes.

I congratulate the MDU for continuing to support initiatives which will lead towards a more sustainable resource base in the future.

In David Suzuki’s latest book ‘An Elders Vision for our Sustainable Future’ he comments, “Our great evolutionary advantage was the ability to lift our sights and look ahead, to imagine the world as it could be and then make the best choices to move towards that vision.

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes, (Marcel Proust, cited in Suzuki 2010.)

At ‘FigTrees Organic Farms’ we are using holistic thinking to direct our actions towards a healthier landscape and a healthier community.

By viewing the world as a ‘whole’ and developing a greater respect for life we have learnt to understand that the soil is the major regulator of water through the landscape. We have learnt to pay a greater respect to the 2.5 billion microbes which should exist in every gram of soil which are responsible for building the humus, understanding also that a soil with a humus level of around 6% is capable of storing over 1 million litres of water in every hectare........storing rainfall, preventing flooding, supplying rivers and reducing the effects of droughts.

With regards to human health we have come to realise that the reason that people are increasingly falling victim to life threatening diseases is fundamentally due to the fact we have not understood that we were denying the environment and ourselves the complex organic compounds which were common place in natural eco-systems.

We have begun to understand that, at the same time as restoring the water cycle and providing health to people, microbial processes can also help sequester around 25 tons of carbon into the soil for every additional 1% of stable soil humus formed, helping us to rebalance a stable climate.

Albert Schweitzer (one of the greatest minds of the 20th century) explained, “No further wandering along the traditional roads that lead nowhere can save us....our philosophy ought to have been philosophising long ago about the road along which it was going in search of a world -view. It never did so, and therefore was always running uselessly round and round in a circle.......


Max Woods and Jack Black demonstrated the thinking and wisdom of true community elders in three ways

1. Viewing the landscape and community as a ‘whole’ and the way they are essential to each other.

2. Giving due recognition for the importance of natural resources and ecosystem processes.

3. Setting a clear ‘future directive’ and intention for actions to improve the condition of natural resources well into the future.

In my view this is a great example of what is desperately needed at a national and international level.

On behalf of ‘FigTrees Organic Farms’ I would like to once again thank everyone involved for keeping the spirit of the Black-Woods shield alive and growing.

Glenn David Morris

December 2011.


Schweitzer determined that the great failing of humanity had been to try and base our view of life on a limited understanding of our view of the world. He argued that the best path forward for a civilized future was to establish that, “world-view is a product of life-view, and not vice versa.” An observation which eventually led him to the idea of a new world-view based on a “Reverence for Life’.

By understanding the need for building humus and applying principles of natural soil creation Australian farmers can create a new identity, pro-actively developing a position to demonstrate to the community that the role of land managers is critical for securing water supplies; preventing land and water degradation; reducing green-house gases; improving the environment; increasing the health of soils, plants, animals and humans; and generally creating regional prosperity.