Researchers at the University of Sydney Narrabri campus

Adapting our food systems

Industrial agriculture is a key contributor to the climate crisis, which threatens the resilience of our food systems. A panel of farmers and researchers explore farming practices that help restore our ecosystems.

This event was held online on 9 August 2023.

Extensive industrial farming has polluted waterways and degraded soil health, threatening the life-support systems we rely on to survive. Furthermore, intensifying industrial agricultural practices contribute 22% of global greenhouse gas emissionsOur food systems are under threat from the very farming practices and socio-economic systems that currently underpin them.

As both the climate and biodiversity crises worsen, so too does food insecurity, effecting society’s most disadvantaged. How do we adapt our food systems to not only respond to the increasing pressures of climate change but also contribute to the restoration of our ecosystems and reduction of emissions?

A panel of farmers and leading agricultural researchers explore innovative farming practices that are transforming our food systems.

This event, in partnership with the Sydney Institute of Agriculture, is part of the Sydney Environment Institute’s Climate Adaptation series. As climate disasters increase in severity and frequency, all sectors of society - from infrastructure and food supply chains to investment strategies - must adapt in a just and sustainable way. This series, led by SEI Postdoctoral Fellow Justin See, platforms thought leaders across research, business, policy, and communities to delve into climate change adaptation at various scales.

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rural and environmental geographer Rebecca Cross

Rebecca Cross (Chair), rural and environmental geographer

Rebecca Cross is lecturer in Geography in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney and member of USYD’s Institute of Agriculture. She is a rural and environmental geographer with a keen passion for understanding how local knowledge and innovation can be harnessed for sustainable, regenerative and Indigenous transitions in agriculture and natural resource management. She employs a participatory, bottom-up community approach to her research.

Indigenous agriculturist Josh Gilbert

Josh Gilbert, Indigenous agriculturist

Joshua Gilbert is a Worimi man who lives and works on country. Josh is a Senior Researcher at the UTS Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research and is completing his PhD at Charles Sturt University, focusing on the post-colonial involvement of Indigenous peoples in Western agricultural systems. He was recently recognised internationally for his work, announced in the inaugural 50 Next: People Shaping the Future of Gastronomy cohort. Josh is on the board for Indigenous Business Australia, the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office, KU Children's Services and the Australian Conservation Foundation and is the Aboriginal Co-Chair of Reconciliation NSW.

digital agriculture expert Thomas O'Donoghue

Thomas O'Donoghue, digital agriculture expert

Tom O’Donoghue is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at The University of Sydney. Having completed his PhD on Regenerative Agriculture and Farmscape Function, Tom is now looking for digital ways to quantify the rebuilding of natural cycles in our farmscapes through regenerative management. By working with many biological and digital hands, of all shapes and sizes, this work seeks to lighten the load of some of the biggest challenges facing humanity. Currently based in Narrabri at the University of Sydney’s new International Centre for Crop and Digital Agriculture Tom is leading a cover cropping project with the cotton research and development corporation and working within a benefactor funded multidisciplinary team on landscape rehydration.

regenerative farmer William Thorncraft

William Thorncraft, regenerative farmer

William Thorncraft is 30 years old and married with one child, with another on the way. He and his wife own 350 acres near Dubbo where they raise free-range pigs, free-range chickens, and organic lamb, and conducts soil carbon farming. William owns a business called NEXTGENREGEN, which aims to help produce the next generation of regenerative farmers who focus on producing chemical and drug free, nutrient dense food naturally while helping to improve the environment and landscape.

Header image: Researchers at the University of Sydney Narrabri campus

Climate Adaptation:

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