In many ways we are the hands-on guardians of our planet
Agri-Phoenix Feature: Kristy Staatz
Name: Kristy Staatz
Place: Lake Clarendon, Lockyer Valley
Right now I work on my family’s conventional farm (Koala Farms) which produces various kinds of lettuce, broccoli. spinach, rocket which is sold in major supermarkets. I work in the tight knit spinach crew which harvests spinach & rocket twelve months of the year. I have also worked on some aspects of our family businesses branding and marketing, which I love - it’s our face to the community.
I am super excited to shortly be starting a new position with an organic farm in the Lockyer Valley, where my role will focus on the business development, education and the soil health side. This is very exciting and challenging as Australian Organic Farmers are leading the industry in a new and necessary direction. I can’t wait to contribute to the team.
I'm passionate about nature and the whole ecosystem. I don’t believe you can be a good farmer / steward of the land without being passionate or having a respect for nature. In many ways we are the hands-on guardians of our planet.
Our place is on the Lockyer Valley creek which feeds into the Brisbane River. In the last major flood our creek banks were washed out. This was because hardly any native trees were left along the banks. Additionally we have to battle the invasive tree weed, Leucaena. (It’s great fodder for cattle but is dangerous when it escapes the paddock and gets into creeks as it chokes the waterways). Leucaena has taken over our creek and doesn’t have a broad root system. So if we have another flood, all of these trees will wash away and take what banks we have left with them.
I have been working on replacing these trees with native species that should be on the banks. I have been collaborating with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, my local council, through this. They have been incredible. We are hopeful these plantings will see a return of native animals we don’t see much of any more too!
When your business is about growing things you quickly see why soil health and regenerative organic agriculture is crucial to the sustainability of the industry, both from a financial and an environmental perspective. I have started to compost and grow my own vegetables in my back yard using regenerative organic practices which sequester carbon in soil! I have also been collaborating with young farmers in the area to educate them on soil health and why it is so important!
With generations in charge changing, I am confident of change in the sector. To be honest many older conventional farmers don’t seem to see the importance of the environment. I wonder if that is mostly a lack of information and training - they just followed on what their forebears did. I’m spreading the ‘sustainable’ word to whoever will listen!
Sadly this means that quite a number of farmers don’t have time for ‘environment’ - even though it is crucial to what they do. More conventional farmers haven’t been encouraged to connect the dots between farming and protecting / regenerating nature. However many small farms in peri-urban areas are passionate to make this work on their small plots. This is so exciting to see. I see myself as being part of that change.