The Mulloon Institute  -  Enews - November 2018

From the Chairman, The Mulloon Institute

You will remember last month's update (Opportune October) finished with me speculating that my November update might be called "Notable" or "Newsworthy" particularly if we had a positive response from government following the visit by the Prime Minister and others. Unfortunately I can't report on such success although there are certainly other reasons for calling this update both notable and newsworthy.

However, I've opted for November "Nexus". "Nexus" is defined as a "connection, tie or link between individuals" so there are a number of reasons for this choice.
Farewell Toni Jane Coote

Firstly and overwhelmingly most importantly, you will have received last week my short note informing you of the sad news that our co-founder and Tony Coote's wife, Toni, passed away just three months after we lost Tony. Herein lies my first "nexus". If ever there was a "link between individuals" it was Tony and Toni. Their "nexus" effectively produced The Mulloon Institute (TMI). We and the nation can be grateful for that and as mentioned in my note we can express that gratitude and comfort family and friends at a memorial celebration for Toni this Sunday 9 December in The Barn at the "Home Farm" from 12.15pm.

As Chairman of TMI, I'm sure I speak on behalf of everyone involved that our hearts go out for all of Toni's family at this time. While people predominantly saw Tony as the face of Mulloon Creek Natural Farms (MCNF) and TMI, I can assure you it was a team effort, a "nexus" between Tony and Toni. Toni was a great innovator and a very successful business woman and she applied all her skills to the entities she loved, MCNF and TMI. I'll miss her enormously.

Training opportunities

But onto to other "nexus'" during November. One of our increasing connections is to the broader agriculture and natural resource management communities that has resulted in well attended four day workshops run in connection with Tarwyn Park Training. Another of those workshops took place during November and therefore a further group of people have skills in landscape rehydration and regenerative agriculture. The November workshop, just like all the others, included participants from all over Australia including from the New England district and Western Australia as well as others more local. Following our recent exposure on the Australian Story episode, those connections have increased substantially with inquiries coming regularly for our next workshops. 

The Natural Sequence Farming training course with TPT and TMI is now listed on the NSW DPI's Rural Assistance Authority website as a pre-approved professional development course, meaning that approved primary producers from NSW may be eligible for up to 50% reimbursement of course costs. Learn more here.

Upcoming training: We have two workshops planned for March 2019 that are almost already fully booked, with plans for future dates underway. 
To express interest in reserving a spot in an upcoming course, please contact James Diack on 0438 211 155, or via

Carolyn Hall, Peter Howarth, Michael Jeffery, Gary Nairn, Peter Hazell and Cam Wilson at Bannockburn

Mulloon Consulting Contracting & Certifying

Not only has interest come for our workshops but also from people seeking assistance with their properties and many others simply wanting to support us and volunteer with us. Our wholly owned Mulloon Consulting, Contracting & Certifying (MCCC) is following up all those looking for assistance on their land. General Manager, Carolyn Hall, and her team are very much on the job in that regard. Cam Wilson and our new graduate, Bill McAlister, spent a week back up in North Queensland carrying out initial surveys and consultations related to eleven properties proposed by the North Queensland's NQ Dry Tropics NRM. And they will be back there again before Christmas.

MCCC and TMI were invited guests of The Scots College at the official opening of its Bannockburn campus on the NSW South Coast. MCCC have now submitted the final draft of the Bannockburn Whole Farm Plan which is a comprehensive document setting out a strategy to enhance landscape function and guide regenerative land management at the campus, now and into the future. 

Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project

Meanwhile Peter Hazell completed the next group of interventions along Mulloon Creek that had been approved by the NSW Government earlier in the year. He and Cam will soon be wrapping up the design for our proposed works with the Palerang and Duralla properties, two of the larger holdings. Once those applications are lodged and approved we will be looking to raise the funding needed to carry out the construction in 2019.

A very successful Tree Planting Day was also held at Westview Farm last weekend as part of the MCLRP, with 400 plants going in the ground thanks to nearly 30 volunteers who braved dust storms and thunderstorms to get the job done.
Soils conference

Research coordinator, Luke Peel, has also had a very busy month and in particularly made many "nexus" while attending the 2018 National Soils Conference in Canberra.

Luke's presentation looked at the whole of catchment study site monitoring taking place around the MCLRP, investigating what happens as steps are taken to rehydrate a landscape. Specifically, he talked about investigations into the soil profile (auger to 1.5m) and permeability (surface and sub-surface disc permeameter) with land function analysis (LFA) to assess differences related to rehydration, land use and management and how this relates to productivity.

Our Patron Michael Jeffery also gave a keynote address at the conference in his role as Australia's Soil Advocate.

Gary Nairn, Rose Nairn, Andrew Monk (AOL Chairman)

An array of awards

November was also a month for an interesting group of "nexus" of awards. We reported previously that we had entered the Banksia Foundation's 2018 Sustainability Awards. While we were selected as a finalist in the Not-for-profit/NGO category, the winner on the night was the Green Building Council of Australia. Despite not winning it was a great result with wonderful feedback from people attending the awards presentations and dinner. Congratulations to all the winners.

We did however win another award just two nights earlier. Australia Organic Limited (AOL), the organization that accredits organic status, had its awards night in Canberra. We were asked to attend not knowing what might occur. It was a very great honour for Rose and me to receive the prestigious Chairman's Award on behalf of TMI and MCNF. But the award was really a recognition by Australia Organic of the regard that organisation had for Tony Coote and his support and contribution to organic farming. I was told AOL has its values displayed in its boardroom and under a photo of Tony is the word "Integrity". Says it all doesn't it?
Annual General Meeting

An important event held in November was our Annual General Meeting (AGM), this year held at TMI Director, Charles Cupit's, offices in North Sydney. It was very well attended with many of our members and supporters there to participate. We take our governance procedures very seriously and it was a great honour to be re-elected as a Director and Chairman. Our new Director, Diana Cavanagh, who had been appointed during the year to replace her father, Tony Coote, was also re-elected.  This year we live-streamed our AGM, which you can watch online  here .

Amongst the visitors to the AGM was one of the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project (MCLRP) landholders, Gerry Carroll; John Troughton who has been working with Revolution Ag on some of the sensor and new technologies we continue to embrace; and Lachlan Feggans, the Sustainability Manager at Brambles. Lachlan supports our endeavours and recently also came along with his wife, Nicole, to see first-hand our work at Mulloon Creek.

Michael Fitzgerald, Carolyn Hall, Gary Nairn, Patrick Holden, Alasdair MacLeod

International connections

The final "nexus" for the month was a visit to TMI on the last day of the month by Patrick Holden, the head of the Sustainable Food Trust in the UK. Rose and I were privileged to have spent a day with Patrick at Prince Charles' Duchy Home Farm when we were in the UK in 2016 so it was great to repay the favour. Patrick was a good friend of Tony and Toni and in fact was one of the original 50 members of TMI. He had never been to Mulloon Creek so we had a very stimulating conversation about government policy and all things sustainability over lunch and took him for a look at our pilot project.

Patrick was accompanied by Alasdair MacLeod, a Director of Soils for Life amongst many other roles, and his farm manager at Cavan Station near Yass, Matt Crozier. Our farm manager, Michael Fitzgerald and Carolyn Hall completed the group and as a consequence there will be plenty of interaction and follow up between us all. What a great "nexus" that was.

Our Farm's Story - Tony's vision

Mulloon Creek Natural Farms are located 40 minutes east of Canberra and 3 hours from Sydney. Founded by Tony Coote AM on the farm he owned for over 50  years, MCNF is operated on the principles of holistic, biodynamic farming and is 100% certified organic.

By purchasing MCNF eggs you are buying first-class, ethical and nutritious food. You are also helping realise Tony Coote's vision of ongoing development into regenerative agriculture and of much needed landscape rehabilitation across Australia.  Read more.
In the media

Country Style magazine also mentioned us in their '2018 Country List' in their pick of this year's top 50 agents for change in regional Australia, including organisations that are lending a hand in drought-stricken towns to environmental entrepreneurs and innovative food producers. Check out page 113!
Christmas wishes

While we still have a month to go in 2018, we will be into 2019 when I next update you. It has been a year of some incredible highs but sadly some very low lows. Thank you all for the wonderful support you give to me and TMI and together we will ensure the legacy Tony and Toni has left us and the nation will go from strength to strength. 

Have a wonderful Christmas break, treasure your time with family and friends, there is nothing more special.

Best wishes,

Gary Nairn AO
The Mulloon Institute, Chairman


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