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Australian National Botanic Gardens
Growing, studying and promoting Australian plants
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  GPO Box 1777
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone (02) 6250 9546
Facsimile (02) 62509599
Media enquiries:
Paul Ziesing (M) 0418 955 661


Keyline, Soil Health, Carbon, Water and the Family Farm workshop

In a new initiative for the Australian National Botanic Gardens, a workshop on environmentally friendly farming practices will be held at the Gardens on Saturday 11 August. The workshop, Keyline, Soil Health, Carbon, Water and the Family Farm, led by Queensland former farmer and grazier and Keyline trainer, John Sweet, is part of a series of workshops accompanying the Gardens’ current exhibition, Caring for Land.

Local farmers, who have faced drought conditions for eight of the last ten years, will find John Sweet’s workshop on P.A. Yeoman’s Keyline System both timely and practical.

Keyline works with nature to hold rainfall in the soil, then uses simple low-cost methods such as the addition of minerals, compost and microbes to maximise soil health and humus levels, thus reducing irrigation/ water requirements substantially.

John will also discuss topical issues such as Peter Andrew’s methods of slowing water down in the land, and Peter Proctor’s biodynamic work, and how these can be combined with Keyline. He will provide information on ways of raising the levels of carbon and organic matter in the soil through the ‘grass shock’ technique and the application of crop residues and microbes to the surface of the land. By using these methods, farmers can manage their land at a sustainable level and help to slow global warming by increasing carbon levels in the soil.

The workshop will be informal. John will give a short talk on methods and issues, and lead open discussion between farmers on water and sustainability issues applying to their properties. He will also show footage of Peter Proctor’s biodynamic farming and the dramatic results Peter has achieved.

TheCaring for Land exhibition is on display in the Visitor Centre until Sunday 28 October 2007.

More information is available at

What: Farming with the Land workshop

Cost: $20 per person - bookings essential 6250 9540

Where: Crosbie Morrison Building, Australian National Botanic Gardens

When: Saturday 11 August 2007, 1.00pm-4.00pm

Paul Ziesing

3 August 2007