PRODUCER Glenn Morris hosted filmmakers at his Inverell farm, Billabong, in early 2016 as part of a newly released documentary, Restoring Earth.
The film, created by James Sherwood and Danielle Ryan of Bluebottle Films, considers the impact of clearing native vegetation from farmland, and the journey from paddock to plate, with both farm and city residents voicing their experiences.
It is released on the cusp of imminent proposals to change NSW regulations for land clearing.
Glenn is the general manager of FigTrees Organic Farms, operations producing both beef and now pork, between two properties in Grafton and Inverell.
He said a conversation between the filmmakers, and a Sydney butcher who sells FigTrees meat drew the him into the conversation.
“Our brand was in his shop, and the butcher was asked who we were and what we did,” Glenn said.
“This film crew was looking for sustainable farmers that they could film to demonstrate that we can work in harmony with nature, and actually produce a good product and have a successful operation without looking at destroying the landscape, clearing more vegetation, and doing more damage.”
This film crew was looking for sustainable farmers that they could film to demonstrate that we can work in harmony with nature.Glenn Morris
Glenn said a lot of land cropped and grazed is unhealthy, working at perhaps only 20 per cent of its potential. "So there is a lot of production and improvement we can do with the land that’s already cleared,” he said.
“And one of the things that I try to hit home, and the reason I got involved with this film, is to stress that respecting and valuing vegetation for the water-cycling processes that are performed, is critical to our future, because we need rainfall, we need water more than anything else to get our productivity going.”
Danielle was impressed by Glenn’s work to regenerate the water cycle within the properties he manages. “You can see his brain ticking over when you talk to him,” she said.
“He's thinking about your average farming family, how they are struggling to get by, and he's thinking about how to get the entire landscape a whole lot healthier for farming and for our health and wellbeing.”
She said the more people, like Glenn, she and James spoke with, the more they realised how so many were “crying out to be heard”.
“They feel isolated in this debate,” she said.
“They see that the baselines have shifted in their lifeline in their own backyard, and so, are trying to do things to restore biodiversity in the ecosystem for their kids, for the next generation.”