Southwest Australia

Pursuing ecological, social, cultural and economic balance in Southwest Australia

The stewardship and history of the Indigenous Noongar nation are essential to the landscape of Southwest Australia. The Noongar people learned to live in harmony with the land for more than 60,000 years as moondang-ak kaaradjiny, the carers of everything. Caring for everything is the principle that animates the mission of Commonland and our partners to regenerate this global biodiversity hotspot, which has lost more than 90% of its native vegetation.

In early 2015, Commonland became a founding shareholder and partner of Wide Open Agriculture, Western Australia’s leading regenerative food company and the world’s first listed 4 Returns company with a market capitalisation of €30 million as of December 2022.

Since 2018, Commonland’s partnerships in the Southwest Australian landscape have expanded to include an ecosystem of partners with a shared ideal: putting people and land first when it comes to economic development.

“Aboriginal people have had a blueprint for environmental, cultural and social harmony for over 60,000 years. And this is something that can help not just Aboriginal people, but everyone.”

Richard Walley, Noongar Elder and co-leader Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together project

Vision

With our Southwest Australian partners, we aim to co-create a vibrant and resilient social, ecological, cultural and economic landscape where we care for everything and everyone.

“We cannot do this alone. Without a compelling business case and buy-in from farmer partners, consumers, customers and our network, we wouldn’t survive as a business.

Ben Cole, executive director and co-founder of regenerative food company Wide Open Agriculture

Challenges

  • Climate change, decreased rainfall, and increased frequency of extreme weather events
  • Chemical-based and industrial farming techniques have negatively impacted landscape health
  • Sheer scale and low population density, including rural depopulation

Opportunities

  • Bring regenerative food products to new markets (WOA’s regenerative, carbon-neutral oat milk is now available in the Middle East, Singapore and Australian retailer Woolworths)
  • Support Southwest Australian farmers’ transition to regenerative agriculture through route-to-market strategies, proven business cases and peer-to-peer learning
  • Facilitate carbon farming and re-vegetation projects, using carbon credits to promote ecological health
  • Support the recognition and incorporation of Indigenous land management techniques and knowledge to restore Southwest Australia’s natural capital
  • Develop the Southwest Australian impact investment sector for regenerative and Aboriginal-owned and controlled social and cultural enterprises

Impact for this landscape

>1400

members

of the RegenWA learning network

25

aboriginal people

employed by Boola Boornap tree nursery

>20,000

hectares

under active regeneration

>11,500

people

purchasing from Wide Open Agriculture

What has happened in the different zones

  • Natural Zone
  • Combined Zone
  • Economic Zone

Regenerating a landscape’s ecological foundation by restoring and protecting native vegetation, trees, and biodiversity.Current status

Activities

Farmer mobilisation and engagement through RegenWA program and WOA outreach activities; remnant vegetation and native habitat protection on existing farms; broader community and stakeholder mobilisation through bringing food, landscape and community restoration onto the broader social change agenda via the Social Impact Festival (UWA SCI) and Food for Thought Festival (Sustain).

Restoring the topsoil and biodiversity, and delivering sustainable economic returns through regenerative agriculture, agroforestry and rotational grazing.

Activities
Supporting the next generation of regenerative farmers through a pilot scholarship program; community regeneration through business case development and local / state government involvement with the Regional Regeneration Alliance; research & development, particularly focused around long-term impact of regenerative agriculture.

To deliver sustainable economic productivity with dedicated areas for value-adding activities like processing. This zone is typically concentrated in urban areas.

Activities
Developing 4 Returns business cases under the WOA banner, including a regenerative meat distribution business, industrial hemp production, farmland portfolio fund; investment fundraising and management under WOA listed structure and farmland portfolio fund.

More landscapes

Agroforestry for a sustainable future

Tribal communities choose agroforestry to promote community well-being, nature conservation and sustainable economic development.

From green deserts to thriving landscapes

Dutch farmers ditch intensive practices to restore ecology and promote sustainable farming through resilient business models.

en_USEnglish