Regional Agriculture and Landcare Facilitator

Funded through Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the Regional Agriculture and Landcare Facilitator (RALF) role supports farmers and agricultural industry groups in the Port Phillip and Western Port region. 

The RALF engages farmers, community groups and agricultural industries in emerging ideas, innovative practices and relevant new government policy that can help improve the sustainability, productivity and profitability of agriculture in the region.

The RALF for the Port Phillip and Western Port region is Karen Thomas. Karen can be contacted at karen.thomas@melbournewater.com.au.

This project was originally led by the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA. The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA is integrating into Melbourne Water on 1 January 2022 and from this date Melbourne Water will be the delivery agency. 

Why this project is important

The RALF role facilitate two-way communication between the Australian Government and the farming community, and encourages partnerships that will connect industry, grower and community groups to improve networks and deliver best-practice solutions to national priorities. 

Issues such as water scarcity, natural disasters, biosecurity and climate change are central to managing farms in the region. The RALF role can support landholders with access to information, activities and likeminded networks that want to encourage the adoption of sustainable agricultural and regenerative practices. On-ground collaborative projects, monitoring and case studies that demonstrate these practices leads to best-practice solutions to national priorities. 

Project partners 

  • Western Port Catchment Landcare Network  
  • Other Landcare networks and groups  
  • Local government  
  • AUSVEG Vic  
  • Other industry bodies and research organisations  

Timeline  

2020-21 Delivered community engagement activities that supported landholders to contribute towards the protection of soils, water and biodiversity, including: 
– A native bee workshop with Berries Australia in Silvan
– A dung beetle workshop with Macedon Ranges
– A planting for pollinators workshop with partners from the Mornington Peninsula.
Continued to support the Bunyip Complex Fire recovery  Facilitated focus group discussions around the development of the National Soils Strategy.  
2019-20Continued to support the Bunyip Complex Fire recovery on private land.
Established the Regenerative Farmers Network SE Vic (Myrniong to Mallacoota) with East Gippsland CMA and West Gippsland CMA.
Provided information and support to Indigenous organisations to apply for sustainable agriculture and bush food (economic development) grants.
Supported a FoodPrint Melbourne research project assessing the resilience of Melbourne’s food system to the impacts of shocks and stresses such as fire, drought, flood and pandemic.
2018-19First year of the RALF project under the National Landcare Program – Phase 2.
Developed a ‘Guide to compost use in vineyards’ tool for Sustainability Victoria, based on the Compost Under Vines trial results.
Supported the Bunyip Complex Fire recovery by being a member of the Bunyip Fire Natural Environment Recovery Sub-committee and delivered workshops and support to affected landholders.
Assisted Bunurong Land Council with a feasibility study for its aquaponic bush food project.  

Funding acknowledgement

Australian Government's National Landcare Program logo

The Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator project is supported by the PPWCMA,
through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.