We are Rachelle and Justin Armstrong, the Founders, Facilitators and Collaborators of Soil Restoration Farming.
Rachelle grew up on a dairy/beef property in Yackandandah, Victoria where her innovative father, Graham Maddock developed the vermiculture product, NutriSoil. In 2005, she partnered with her parents to commercialise and develop the business into a significant concern, before leaving in 2020 to pursue her dream of bringing people together to Heal the Planet through Agriculture. Rachelle’s association with human and planetary health led her to achieving a Bachelor Degree in Health Science, majoring in Public Health. Her gift of bringing people together naturally found her in Community Development roles, living and working in Sri Lanka for 3yrs and in Nannup, Western Australia, where she worked for local council as a Youth & Community Development Officer for several years. Rachelle’s top values are Community, Health and Holism.
Justin grew up in Beechworth. He studied electronics in the RAAF and ran as an independent candidate in the Victorian State Election for a Yr 12 project. Following a pursuit of adventure, Justin has raced mountain bikes all over Australia and the US. His gift of problem solving was well suited to his role as a Project Manager in a CCTV security firm. He was a key player at NutriSoil, representing NutriSoil at countless events and setting up logistical processes, sending product Australia-wide. He helped Rachelle guide the business into an award-winning ethical enterprise, ultimately achieving B-Corp certification and Australian Organic Product of the Year. Justin was a founding member of the Victorian Downhill Mountain-Bike Series in 2006, enjoys coaching people to ride mountain bikes with The Fastline Bike Academy and is an active committee member with the Albury-Wodonga Mountain-Bike Club. Justin loves connecting farmers to education, coaches or whatever they need to help them shift to regenerative farming practices. Justin’s top values are Family, Fairness and Being your Best.
So what is Soil Restoration Farming?
It is not a product; It is not a method of farming; and it is not a belief system.
It represents a movement, a shared understanding that we CAN and MUST restore our soils to their original function through farming.
This is not a NEW idea and it comes with sound science.
It is backed by ALL levels of society – from World Leaders, Universities, Companies, Consumers and Farmers of ALL time.
The problem is that somehow we have lost our way, particularly in the last century, and began destroying our soils like there’s no tomorrow!
Soil Restoration Farming represents the DIRECTION we need to head in, and the REALITY that we need to work together. When I think of working together with a shared purpose, I think it is a bit like raising a child, but in this case, restoring our soils. We need to think like a village. We each have different gifts and therefore, when we come together, we can achieve exponentially more than on our own.”
This was the introductory speech for our inaugural event in 2015 with Dr Christine Jones. Fast-forward to 2021 and the Founders have resurrected this beautiful model, upgraded it to a company and are building the SRF Network.
The SRF Network
The SRF Network brings Farmers, Educators and Coaches together to achieve the SRF purpose.
SRF Purpose: Heal the Planet through Agriculture
Connecting People with Each Other & the Land
Soil Restoration Farming Principles
Knowledge-Sharing: Those with expertise, knowledge or experience in an area share what they know to create an asset of collective knowledge. We always strive to give credit to the source of knowledge.
Synergy: What we create collaboratively is far greater than what we can create on our own. Living in synergy ensures our work and life is far greater than we could ever dream possible.
People Being their Own Kind of Different: We are all of equal worth. All members are encouraged to contribute in their distinctive way, appreciating differences in roles, education, backgrounds, interests, skills, characters, points of view, etc. It is in our differences, our weirdness or uniqueness that we are likely to find new thinking necessary to solve the complex or wicked problems.
Steward Leadership: The Steward Leader is currently the founder, Rachelle and it is her role to steward SRF to it’s greatest expression of wholeness and integrity to the source idea of connection. The leadership style is mostly anti-hierarchical, unless it is necessary to make a decision that protects the integrity of SRF.
Self-Organisation: Individuals organise their communal and developmental pathway according to logical steps for the benefit of all, rather than by traditional class-style instruction. Members are responsible for their own actions providing them with more freedom, creating resiliency through independence and self-sufficiency.
Statements of Support
Rachelle Armstrong is one of those rare individuals who lives integrity in all of her work and life. Her care for the healthy future of our planet through soil health and regenerative agriculture is clearly evident in her actions. She is a strong and committed leader as well as a synergistic team player – quite the exceptional combination.
Christine McDougall, Founder and Chief Steward, Syntropic World
I am really enthusiastic about Rachelle’s new business venture. I think there is a need in the regenerative agriculture world for a company with the skills to network and bring people together. The time is right to further the knowledge and share experiences in this non-prescriptive way of managing landscapes.
Gillian Sanbrook, Farmer and Founder of Earth Canvas
Justin and Rachelle Armstrong bring a depth of integrity, joy and passion to any of their projects. They engage in the deep thinking that’s required to bring projects to life, through examining values and clarity, merging strategy and vision. They are truly a demonstration of regeneration in business and who they are in the world. I always enjoy working with them, knowing they foster and empower leadership. They are a huge contribution in this necessary shift towards the post-modern world of agriculture.
Nicole Masters, Integrity Soils
With a skill set stretching from farmer coaching, event planning, business building through to micro herd management (worms & soil biology) Rachelle & Justin Armstrong from Soil Restoration Farming have the confidence and vision to support the farming community to a new green future. I’m excited to know there is team of knowledgeable people who want to see farmers thrive.
Karen Jarling, Farmer and Coach, Clean Green Local Agrarian Culture
Dramatic and severe changes are affecting our planet and its ecosystems, creating an urgent need for change. One of the major causes of the planet’s dire future is industrial agriculture, and how it has been practised for many decades.
Rachelle and Justin have been advocating and demonstrating biological and regenerative agriculture for many years, but their development of ‘Soil Restoration Farming’ will take farmer and community education to another level and encourage the innovation and change that is urgently needed.
Colin Seis, Farmer and Co-Founder of Pasture Cropping
“Since meeting in 2015, I have been enormously inspired by Rachelle and Justin’s work supporting farmers to expand their knowledge for soil restoration through open learning and facilitated workshops. Their integrity is demonstrated by always putting others first and working for outcomes, not accolades, and this translates into the trust installed to them from both farmers and educators globally. Getting to know each other better and understanding their core values, they are the reason I’m in the incredibly fortunate position of working with industry leaders to create pathways for change. I offer my wholehearted support to them as they grow Soil Restoration Farming from a foundation of likeminded and genuinely decent people by supporting them through their learning journey and sharing knowledge with the wider community.”