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URGENT The FUTURE of MOODIE'S FARM and BLACK SWAMP

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OUR PURPOSE
  • This extraordinary farm embodying 70 years of pioneering restoration and regenerative work, is for sale. We urgently need funds to purchase the farm to continue the preservation of the world class wetlands within the farm, and with this campaign we seek your help to raise a deposit. These wetlands, known as the Black Swamp, covering a third of the farm and meeting RAMSAR criteria, have been kept in pristine condition by the current owners. The site has also been identified as a significant Aboriginal cultural heritage site. Surrounding the swamp and acting as a buffer zone is the other two thirds of the farm, managed regeneratively for 15 years. Biodiversity and indigenous knowledge – Farming that restores ecosystems

THE HISTORY
This World War 2 Soldier-Settler 780-acre farm was taken up by Vin and Margaret Moodie in 1953. There were no fences, no income, no machinery,or buildings but lots of rabbits. Vin and Margaret worked hard on the farm and in the community, had 4 kids and after 30 years they began restoring the wetlands. Now the Black Swamp is legally protected by a Trust for Nature covenant. Since 2008, daughters Jennifer and Susan have run a prime lamb and wool enterprise while continuing to restore the soil biota, establish mixed perennial pastures, plant native shelterbelts, and protect the wetlands and waterways. The family have cared deeply for this land and the science reflects this (See attached article).

URGENCY
Margaret, 93, is selling the farm by Expression of Interest by 12 April. Her daughter Susan is committed to continuing the vision outlined above including managing wetlands in partnership with the Wadawurrung people, and a co-operative of nature-first farming enterprises. She has a long history of restoring the shores of Lake Burrumbeet with her mother and father and establishing interconnected wildlife corridors in the district.

ENTERPRISE POTENTIAL
The farm itself offers 500 acres of arable loams and clay loams, with extensive native shelterbelts, laneways and yards. Biodiverse perennial pastures and reinvigorated soils. Secure water supply to stock troughs. Irrigation bore and diesel engine with 150ML license.
Susan’s vision, with the Black Swamp and farm at its core, embraces the following three futures:
1. Continuing the conservation work on the Black Swamp, a sanctuary for migratory, endangered and rare bird species including brolga, pacific swift, white-faced heron and 17 others which are listed as ‘Endangered’ in Victoria. Research and training programs are envisaged.
2. Stewarding the land under co-management with Aboriginal people, tapping into over 30,000 years of knowledge. The 800 year old red gum on the north of the wetlands has lived two thirds of its life prior to Europeans settlement, and has been an important site for Wadawurrung people. Cultural tourism, and ranger programs are key opportunities on this site.
3. Providing access to young farming families locked out of expensive farm land to practice small-scale enterprises in harmony with nature, incorporating demonstration sites and internships.
We have created vegetated corridors or biolinks for wildlife to fly over, hop, slither or amble to take refuge here on this farm, from the nearby recreational lake and throughout the district. We want this country to retain its pristine habitat and wetlands, its fauna and flora, while we continue to enhance the farm.
Moodies Farm is the founding site of Connected Sanctuaries, a place where productive nature-based farming embraces cultural heritage and environmental ethics.

TESTIMONIALS in support of MOODIE’S FARM

Professor Emeritus Peter Gell a Fellow of the Global Research Past Global Changes and was awarded the 2019 Australian Freshwater Sciences Society medal for sustained research excellence in freshwater science. He has recently edited a book examining 50 years of wetlands management under the Ramsar convention.
It is recognised that the diversity of life in aquatic systems has suffered more than in marine or land environments. So the conservation of global diversity relies heavily on society caring for wetlands. At Black Swamp near Burrumbeet we see how conservation of wetlands relies as much on the protection of private waterways as those on public lands. Nearby Lake Burrumbeet is managed for multiple use. The water levels are maintained high for motorboats and so it does not attract the diversity or number of waterbirds that are found at Black Swamp, five percent of its size. Black Swamp is among the most important wetlands habitats across western Victoria, and this has been achieved over 70 years through careful management by conservation-minded owners. Circumstances require this property be sold, so it is critical for regional wetland conservation that future owners share this concern of this significant ecosystem.
Uncle Bryon Powell, Wadawurrung Elder
You do care for country, you did respect country and feel about country in the way that Wadawurrung people do. After some time, I’ve seen the results of your work. I saw how Lake Burrumbeet was deteriorating through misuse and abuse by users but your farm and Black Swamp was thriving and growing. There were brolgas there which have disappeared from other parts of our country. Wedge tail Eagles soared overhead and showed me that Bunjil was still looking after country. Eagles only leave a country when it is dying and there is no life to sustain them. They no longer fly over Burrumbeet, partly because of lack of resources, and partly because farmers shoot them.
I have also seen the growth of native grasses and plants that have vanished from other parts of our country. I was happy to work with you and support you because the results show that country can be restored to health.
I will continue to support your passionate efforts to maintain this part of country as it is one of the finest examples I have seen.
Phil Larwill, Australian Holistic Management Cooperative Pasture Assessor, Veterinarian.
Maintaining productivity and increasing natural biodiversity on-farm are not mutually exclusive goals. In fact, they can be symbiotic. There is no more stark example than the Moodie’s farm where a cross-generational focus on restoring soil health and pasture biodiversity has been married to deliberate conservation of the unique Black Swamp, a covenanted wetland occupying one-third of the farm. And the results are startling: abundant bird and insect life, resilient summer pastures, humming ecosystems. It’s clear that the careful stewardship of the Moodies demonstrated where farming must settle itself in the future: enveloped by natures complex and adaptive cloak. The retention of this property in the hands of sympathetic stewards in the future is critical as a viable model of what can be achieved in these difficult times.
Tammi Jonas, small-holder and President of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
“We are on the cusp of major change in Australian agriculture. Susan Moodie’s vision for her farm exemplifies the expansive and ethical thinking we need, and beautifully addresses the collaboration we require between agroecology-oriented farming and Aboriginal custodianship of Country. At the heart of this vision is the Black Swamp, a pristine refuge for 100s of species of wildlife, many endangered. And like a ribcage around the heart, there will be protective layers of smallholder farmer enterprises surrounding the Black Swamp, producing nutritious food in harmony with nature. The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance is working to support visions like Susan’s to prevail over the speculative profit-seeking of large agribusinesses. I strongly urge everyone to get on board and be the change.”



THANK YOU
for your support

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    • $200 
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Fundraising team (2)

Susan Moodie
Organizer
Lamplough VIC
Deb Sonenberg
Team member

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