Landcare Australia Project

Australian Landcare International (ALI)

About Landcare Australia

Landcare Australia is a not-for-profit organisation, leading the promotion of and providing financial support to the Landcare natural resource management programme in Australia; aligning the practice of environmental management with land productivity, and devolving governance and management to local communities.

Landcare Australia works collaboratively with federal, state and local governments, corporate partners and sponsors, and individuals, to deliver hundreds of projects annually through the volunteer efforts of local community groups, indigenous groups, and the more than 5,400 Landcare and Coastcare groups across Australia.

ALI have reviewed their Overseas Landcare Fund (OLF) - thanks to Horrie, Kaye and Malachy. All donors are being given reports. A few ideas for new funding sources. ALI are proud however that in 16 months, some 20 projects in 14 countries have been funded, with around $11 500 raised. Who continue to seek new projects. Incidentally, relations remain close with the Victorian Landcare Council.

Andrea Mason and Rob Youl with spouses Ken and Alison, ran a Jamaican Landcare training course from 30 March–2 April at Knockalva Agricultural School in the mountains 10 km south of Montego Bay.

Whilst the school has cattle and crops and milks a few cows, nearby is a largish dairy farm and a huge orange grove, unfortunately diseased. Outwardly there seemed to be little other farming in the area, but there is enough to run an annual show, which we missed.

Montego Bay supports a huge land-based tourist industry (beaches and golf), and numerous cruise ships visit. But most tourists eat food imported from the US, and have little to do with local people, who by the way are very friendly and interesting.

Our partners were, besides the school, The University of Wolverhampton and Hanover Wolverhampton Link Organisation Project, a group of Wolverhampton citizens of Jamaican origin, many from Hanover parish, and including Professor Mike Fullen of TUW. We worked very amiably with the British group. Our Jamaican students were late teenagers from Knockalva – terrific kids, and impressively sharp and farming-oriented, along with several local landowners. We promoted a multi-disciplinary (as in Landcare) approach and covered many aspects of group formation and project management. Three days were in the classroom and around the school, and one at the property of Trevor and Monica Lewis – Trevor is a native of Friendship village, Westmoreland parish on the south coast.

The surrounding landscape is devoted to sugar production (a Chinese company has leased the valley for 99 years), but along the Cabarita River there are a few smallholdings like Trevor’s. Local farmers, who essentially practise organic farming and grow fruit and vegetables, want to supply produce to the resorts and restaurants; as best we could we explored this concept. The local bureaucracy wasn’t interested in what we were doing, but the students and farmers certainly were. Trevor himself is keen to start an ecotourism business.