Making the connection – healthy soil means a healthy bay
Poor water quality in the catchments equals poor water quality in the bays.
Moorabool Shire is a rich, diverse region with dry land, broadacre grain, irrigated horticulture, and grass-fed beef, dairy and lamb production. In farming areas like Moorabool, there’s growing public interest in keeping soils clean and encouraging sustainable farming practices.
Farming Moorabool is run by a voluntary group of professional food producers dedicated to helping promote, inform and educate the wider community about regenerative, ethical and sustainable food production. The group also provides education that makes the connection between healthy soils and healthy bays.
The group leaped at a chance to engage grade three school children at Bacchus Marsh Primary School and teach them that catchment run-off is the biggest threat to the bays.
Farming Moorabool hosted introductions with local farmers so the children could hear firsthand the important role farmers play in maintaining healthy soil.
Students then met two soil scientists from the Department of Agriculture who demonstrated different soil types and how they react in various environmental conditions. On display were samples of different soil types typical of the area, such as clay loam, sandy loam and sodic soils.
The soil scientists used these samples to demonstrate how scientists use pH and dispersion tests to measure the health and structure of each soil type and to determine how well the soil copes under different environmental conditions, such as heavy rain.
Afterwards, the soil scientists used a book published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Exploring soils: a hidden world underground, and an interactive food production map designed by Farming Moorabool, to initiate a robust group discussion about which type of soil might be in the students’ own backyards, and what they might observe across different landscapes as they travel around the region.
Given the success of the project, Farming Moorabool now intends to provide similar presentations to other primary schools across the Moorabool Shire.
For more information about Farming Moorabool or the Science Week project initiative, please visit http://farmingmoorabool.com.au/