Gavin Reid is an Indigenous man from the Wiradjuri clan in Central West New South Wales. He has been working with us on the Mount Zero farm for the past 8 years.
The largest annual task in the olive grove is the pruning, which Gavin and I do together. Gavin operates the chain saw while I do the hand pruning with pneumatic secateurs. During this work I have noticed we both have a different connection to the land. Whilst I respect and love our land and I would not harm the soils by using artificial chemicals pesticides or fertilizers, Gavin's connection to the land transcends the “here and now”. Sometimes he will pick up a small piece of stone that may have been used many thousands of years ago as a flint. He notices the tiny remnants of a midden.
He explains to me that the chuffs calling when we approach are a warning of strangers coming or the presence of a snake. Whilst I love the call of the bird I hadn’t understood the deeper meaning behind the calls.
He tells me that our 200 acres of olive trees would have connected the ancient Aboriginal sites on the slopes of the Northern Grampians to the Wimmera Plains.
Most people now live in the city and don’t truly understand our connection with the land. Many don’t respect the land. The Indigenous people know the power of the land and relate to the land in a deep holistic way that respects the interconnection of all living things…the trees, animals and birds.
It is important for us all to reconnect with the land, if we are to see the major changes that are needed for the planet to survive. There is much we can learn from Indigenous wisdom.