Charlie Arnott – a ruggedly handsome Australian regenerative farmer – hosts this brand-new podcast talking about his own Regenerative Journey. Going from a background raised on a relatively industrial farm, his memories of childhood involve nature and the mysticism it brings. As he becomes older, and eventually takes over the family farm, this picture begins to shift drastically towards an increasingly mechanized operation. Arnott is open and honest about his past mistakes – pumping more money into technology and machines meant to ‘make life easier’ and increase profits and productivity. The reverse happens. And after attending a seminar (for a laugh) purporting the ability to farm better in a drought, his life changes in an afternoon. A light goes off in his mind, and he suddenly knows consciously what he has felt for a long time: that there must be a better way than this. From there, he outlines his journey towards a more regenerative farm, speaking to key players along the way.
The driving force is Charlie’s own relationship with his past, and how he is working towards healing the soil and sharing his experience. The podcast is a great listen, albeit at times a bit repetitive of much of what is available on regenerative farming already (Joel Salatin, celebrity farmer extraordinaire, is his first guest). Though these echoes are inevitable, Charlie is a charismatic host with a pleasant voice, making it all-the-more enjoyable even for those “au fait” with these concepts already.
The podcast highlights the all-too-common story of many who have made the regenerative leap: modern industrialized farming, with its bigger toys and higher debts, is reaping the land and leaving farmers feeling desolate. But this is not a depressing show, quite the contrary. Charlie’s affability drives through some warm-hearted conversations about the future of farming, and the benefits of shifting towards a new way of thinking. At times, the podcast veers into nerdy territory – but it’s hard to avoid when the primary audience is probably already obsessed with soil health. However, I’d recommend it to those just wanting to understand their own relationship where their food comes from, or those just wanting to know more about the current challenges faced by the farming community (though you might not hang on for more than a few episodes…). You sense that Charlie has a great, humbling relationship with all of his guests – there is a high degree of mutual respect present.
As a farmer myself, I found it a heartening listen; a reminder of why we are all doing what we are, to try and improve the way we farm, the way we think about animals and their place in our ecosystem, and even more importantly, our own, human place in the ecosystem. It’s a hard road to embark on, at least initially (they say it takes 7 years to ‘find your groove’), and this podcast might just be the motivation you need to roll with the punches.