Peter Andrews is an Australian horse breeder and farmer with a passion, or some might say obsession with the land. Over a period of decades, Peter has formulated a number of theories on land degradation in this country and how to repair the damage. He has been laughed at and ridiculed by many, but the proof is in the pudding so to speak. He has successfully rehabilitated several large properties and now our government is finally sitting up and taking notice.
I’ve just finished reading his book, Back from the Brink. Seriously, it’s one of the most exciting and educating books I’ve ever read. I love our country too and it rips me apart to see what we’ve done to it over just a couple of hundred years. How anything grows here at times completely astounds me. For example, the small parcel of land I used to own had little rainfall and as for the soil… what soil? It was sand and limestone mostly.
I sold that land a while back, but I’ve hungered for another, larger block. Back from the Brink taught me a great deal about what can be achieved relatively quickly on land that is terribly degraded. These aren’t expensive rehabilitation strategies that Peter imparts, it’s about working with what you’ve got and learning to ask not what the land can give you, but what the land will allow you to have. A lot of what Peter writes is just commonsense stuff, I felt gobsmacked in many points throughout the book as realization dawned on various issues.
While Back from the Brink is geared primarily towards farmers, and Australian farmers at that; I feel it will appeal, be of benefit and of great interest to anyone who has a passion for land revegetation. Peter’s writing style is straightforward; he doesn’t seek to impress with big words; just his theories back with his reasoning and results of applying those theories.
I couldn’t say if he’s 100% correct on all his theories about rehabilitating land, but if you approach the book with an open mind, I’m sure you’ll find it very valuable indeed.
Learn more about Back from the Brink on Peter’s site – Natural Sequence Farming.
Peter was also the subject of a documentary on ABC’s Australian Story: