Meet David Marsh

David is well known to many in the central west and southern slopes of NSW as a person who practices holistic cell grazing and involved in the regenerative agriculture movement. He is also heavily involved with ARLASH which stands for Alliance for Regenerative Agriculture and Social Health based in Canberra. He writes a regular blog for ARLASH. This is his story:

Open fire by David Marsh (Img src:

Open fire by David Marsh (Img src:

One cold evening last week I picked up a big lump of wood to put on the open fire in our lounge room.

This piece of wood was from a very large red gum tree that has a ring-barking axe cut right round it. One can surmise with reasonable certainty, that this tree was one of the early trees ringbarked after this district was settled by Europeans some time between 1829 (the year that Captain Charles Sturt went on his voyage down the Murrumbidgee), and 1850.

I am assuming this tree was ringbarked in 1850, and it is probable , because of the size of the remaining stump that when the axe was swung this tree had been harvesting sunlight and storing carbon in its structure for at least two hundred years.

This means that the log being oxidised by fire in our fireplace and providing us with warmth, was a seedling in about 1650. The humans who lay in its shade and watched their children become adults were members of the longest running human civilisation of which we are aware.

In 1948 in an essay called Good Oak, Aldo Leopold wrote that there were two things of which modern urban dwelling humans were mistaken; the first, that their food came from the grocery store, and the second, that warmth came from the electric radiator. In the intervening almost seventy years there are perhaps a greater percentage of the population that do not know the source of their food and heat. We are more and more disconnected from the living world whose ongoing functioning we are totally reliant upon.

The ten thousand years of the history of agriculture have seen the gradual dismantling of the native vegetation of the world and it’s conversion to grazing and croplands that have expanded to feed the increasing population driven upwards by food surpluses.

When impairment of the natural capacity of ecosystems to self-organise and repair using contemporary energy drove our species to begin harvesting the energy stored in soils (humus), forests (timber), coal, oil and gas, we tapped into an energy source of a concentration that was dizzying. It enabled us to do a huge amount of work that was to our benefit, believing this to be a free kick to a future we could never have imagined. However there were consequences. Lately we have begun to realise we need more of what has become scarce if we are to have a thriving future…..biodiversity.

Continue reading David’s story on the ARLASH blog by clicking here.