The Australian Institute of Ecological Agriculture (AIEA) is committed to critically questioning the ecological integrity of human land use practices and the values and assumptions that shape the way we impact on the rest of nature. We place strong emphasis on challenging the motivations of decision makers in the farming and minerals sectors, of governments and all land users. Becoming an ecological agriculturist is at heart a quest for a holistic understanding and appreciation of the interconnectedness of everything. It is the outcome of one’s choice to live a more meaningful, responsible, transformative life, expressed in the way we treat others and the world around us. A person’s farm or domestic garden says something about how that person views the world, about who one is. At the heart of the transformation of a farm business to greater ecological integrity is the farmer’s continuing transformation of the self. The transformation is us!
The essential challenge we face as a species is imagining and understanding what a holistic, ecological orientation could mean for all of us. As individuals and entities live and work in a more ecologically sound way, the adverse ecological consequences of human activity moderate. Turning the corner away from human-induced climate change is important enough for the future of the planet for us to be change agents on every conceivable scale of individual and collective action. The precariousness of our relationship with the rest of nature in these extraordinary times becomes an ever-more urgent reason for each one of us to re-examine our lives, our actions and interactions. Who will take up the challenge to be part of this transformation, if not us?
The AIEA recognises that self-awareness and personal integrity are fundamental not only to our individual well-being and creativity but also to implementing and living respectful and caring relationships with other people, other life, and the land. The AIEA gives its members a forum for furthering insight and understanding through experiencing, exploring and promoting a holistic and ecological orientation. It is as we struggle to do this in specific contexts, making a difference in particular locations, that we moderate the ecological footprint of the species and also enhance individual, family and community wellbeing.
We accept that there is no time like the present to reappraise our relationship to the earth, our being-in-the-world. There will never be a better moment than now to resolve to seek a better integration of who we are and what we are going to make of ourselves and our patch. We are resolved to put aside today’s morass for something better, a more whole way of living, and so we commit ourselves to be part of the transition.
The Institute aims to create a community of engagement that supports its members and which reflects in its mode of operation, the ethics and holistic approach it promotes. The Institute is developing an accreditation scheme that will register farmers committed to an ecological orientation and on the road to achieving ecological integrity on their properties. There will be a separate accreditation system for professionals who can help farmers and others in changing to, and implementing, an ecological approach. The Institute will also be developing a range of educational programs and resources for farmers, other land users, consumers and teachers. The hallmark of the Institute's educational, consultancy and advocacy activities will be a commitment to working with each other and our clients in the joint pursuit of critical reflection on the transformative potential of our actions.
The AIEA acknowledges the living relationship with the land that is central to traditional aboriginal culture and the importance of the principle of lived relationship in the holistic orientation that the AIEA seeks to promote.