A Conversation about Savory Hubs, a Movement to Influence the World’s Grasslands
Panel of Hub Leaders:
- Jorgen Anderssen, Nordic Hub, Sweden
- Huggins Matanga, ACHM Hub, Zimbabwe
- José Manuel Gartazar, Chile Hub, Chile
- Ivan Aguirre, Sonoran Hub, Mexico
- Moderator: Tré Cates, COO/CFO, Savory Institute
TC: Upcoming trips – Scandinavia (Sweden and Norway), also South Africa. Trips take place on an ongoing basis. There are now 20 hubs. Our purpose comes from a vision established several years ago regarding large-scale restoration and empowering local people to create an impact. We wanted the people in each region to own it. It is more about a conversation with individuals that want to see true impact. These hubs adapt according to region but there is a core of consistency. We will discuss what it is like to be in a relationship with an organisation such as the Savory Institute.
TC: How did you hear about the Savory Institute?
IA: First heard about this in the 70s and 80s and trained with the Savory Institute in the 1980s. I am a rancher and trying to spread the message as much as I can.
HM: I am part of the Africa Centre (one of the first hubs) managing 72 hectares and targeting 15,000 people.
JMG: I am a vet from Chile. I first heard about this around 8-10 years ago and travelled to Australia to find out more.
JA: I am from the Nordic hub and have been involved with this now for 5 years.
TC: For all of the guests there has been a move from practitioner to wanting to teach others. What has been the biggest impact?
HM: Changes taking place since 2012
- Forage production increased
- Reduction in bare ground
- Improved livestock conditions
- Reduced theft of livestock as they are bunched together
IA: I am a Mexican second-generation farmer. The biggest impact has been the number of ranchers that have made a radical change to holistic management. One farmer in particular is in his late 7os and has gone to learn new methods and will now change the way he farms.
JMG: Increased capacity is a big impact but first of all we talk about the holistic context and what it is that farmers want to achieve. The best example is my own life and how it has changed since discovering this.
JA: We have to deal a lot with scepticism but when farmers see how big the heifers are when they are brought in (instead of making them big at home on grain) that is when we see the impact.
TC: When did it transform from being about you personally to about informing and helping others?
JMG: That happened when I strengthened the bond with the Savory Institute. It is about family and community and getting to know the landscapes and their people.
HM: When the Deputy Agriculture Minister came to visit. We are now influencing change in government policy. We share knowledge and ideas via the Savory Institute. It is very important to help others to avoid the same pitfalls.
JA: It is powerful to know that we are part of something bigger.
JMG: Everyone is waiting to fix the problems. So we have to take one problem at a time and fix it. The Savory Institute can help that – it acts as a platform. We do not have that much time.
TC: How do you deal with the challenges and frustrations?
IA: By declaring a set of values and assets under a holistic framework. Every living thing is part of a living process.
HM: We need management to be smart and effective.
MG: We need to focus on the things that are going well and we need to connect with the natural – society has become so disconnected with the natural world.
JA: Responsibility is scary so we try to avoid it so that nothing is our problem. We must take the choice of more responsibility together.
TC: In 2014, 90 organisations asked to partner with the Savory Institute but we could only choose 10. Why should an organisation become involved with us?
HM: It will give them confidence to deal with the threat of a changing climate.
JMG: Talk to farmers – ask them what they think about the future. Ordinary farmers are pessimistic, holistic farmers are positive.
JA: the capacity is there to tap into – just go for it.
IA: Many farmers are possessed by established paradigms. Become a hub – we all need you!