Ideas, innovation and personal stories about the importance and interconnectedness of our soil and sustainable environments were shared and discussed by a sold-out audience for World Soil Day, Monday 5 December 2022.
Western Australia’s leading minds in soil science and agriculture came together for an afternoon of panel sessions and individual presentations at the State Library of Western Australia.
SoilsWest Co-Director and Associate Professor for Industry Engagement in Agriculture at Murdoch University, Dr Frances Hoyle said the event’s diversity of topics and bringing together of emerging and established voices was key to its success and attraction of a notably varied audience of researchers, farmers, university students, industry, and government.
“A lot of us are used to hearing from similar voices, so to create a forum that had a focus on widening our lens and exploring a more holistic view of soil was a great achievement,” Dr Hoyle said.
We hope that by recognising our shared capacity and common interest in tackling the major challenges facing our food and environmental systems here in WA and around the world, we can foster better collaboration and have a bigger impact by working together.”Dr Frances Hoyle
Four different themed sessions demonstrated how soil is a crucial component of many aspects of our lives that may at first glance seem disparate, but in practice rely upon and influence each other as a whole.
These sessions included:
- Roots Run Deep: First Nations knowledge;
- Landscapes: Perspectives at scale;
- Where Food Begins: Healthy soil, healthy food; and
- Back to Earth: Circular economies.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Principal Research Scientist and Vice President of Soil Science Australia (WA branch) Tim Overheu said the day’s opening session was inspiring for attendees and underlined the enormous potential and need for stronger partnerships and ways of working with Indigenous groups in environmental research, natural resource management and enterprise.
“To hear about the exciting work of the Healing Country team first-hand, and learn about the pathways and opportunities to collaborate on future projects was of huge benefit to the audience and I’m sure will be for our communities when we start seeing the impact in changing practice for the better,” Mr Overheu said.
Christian Miller-Sabbioni, a Research Assistant with the Healing Country ARC Training Centre, hoped the panel would help open the door for interdisciplinary research and applications in the future.
The event was presented by SoilsWest and the Western Australian branch of Soil Science Australia, with support from DPIRD and the South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.
The opening session was led by the ARC Training Centre for Healing Country and Professor Stephen van Leeuwen (Curtin University and BHP Group Limited’s Indigenous Chair of Biodiversity and Environmental Science).
Feature photo: Heidi Mippy, Christian Miller-Sabbioni, Adam Cross, Rachel Standish, and Stephen van Leeuwen (L-R) speak on the ‘Roots Run Deep’ panel session: Credit: OpenFarm.