Nature’s collaborator: curating the ‘culture’ of agriculture.
Charlie Arnott’s journey in regenerative agriculture began over 15 years ago, following in the footsteps of Australia’s stalwart of Regen, Charles Massey. As the modern face of the movement, Charlie is also the Regen Ambassador for Harris Farm. He shapes our Regen strategy, verifies supplier claims and connects with new Regen partners.
An esteemed Regen driver and educator, this grazier is now a leading figure of future-focused farming. Hanaminno is his family’s 5,000-hectare property in Boorowa, New South Wales.
For 35 years, the Arnott family stuck with the status quo; running a conventional working farm, following an industrial, high input/output, mixed enterprise farming model. Dependent on nature-nasties like pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilisers, his farm was out of sync with the environment.
A string of learning experiences led Charlie to the Regen movement. Here, he found an ethos to mirror his inherent relationship with the land and passion for quality food produce. Alongside nature, Charlie now works as a sunshine and water harvester, soil builder and pasture and animal nurturer.
Charlie believes Regen is about first changing the paddock between your ears. Knowledge = confidence = a better agricultural system.
To closely collaborate with nature, Charlie moved his farm to an organic, biodynamic, holistically managed model. His cattle, sheep and pigs are under low stress; pasture-raised, with room to realise individual and herd behaviours. They're also responsive to the environment and its natural reserves. 100% chemical-free, Charlie uses no hormone treatments, vaccines or drenches. He then takes his clean, nutritious meat, direct to dinner tables and local butchers.
This shift from nature-tamer to nature-collaborator is at the centre of his farming success. And he credits this mindset with extensive leaps and bounds in farmer, consumer and land health. Charlie is a transparent operator – his clients are more co-producers than consumers. Their feedback and ties to the farm help steer food production.
Charlie's philosophy has roots in biodynamics: an almost century-old big-picture perspective. He champions methods that generate organic matter and deepen and improve topsoil. His practices include raising water retention, sequestering carbon and engineering fertility and balance.
Regen principles work around food production, natural resource management and indigenous acumen. They also extend to human wellness, community economics, fortitude and ideology. Not certified biodynamic, and beyond organic, his community authenticates Charlie's farm. Both of these approaches demand high personal involvement and commitment. They hinge on the idea that we’re a teeny but integral part of life’s wondrous workings.
Charlie encourages and advocates for real, autonomous relationships with the land. With his team of change-makers, he hosts workshops, on and off the farm to share Regen and biodynamic concepts and practices with farmers, gardeners and households alike.
Widely recognised for resource management and conservation, Charlie received the Bob Hawke National Landcare Award in 2018. In 2020 he launched the Regenerative Journey Podcast with Landcare Australia's support – listen-out for the third series in early 2021.