Hope Seed - Voices of Regen #4: Jarrod Ruch
By Jaari Heyes, Photos by Hope Seed Australia
“My experience has been, whenever you take a step towards regenerative practice, you find that it brings about wellbeing and happiness within your soul, as well as builds community and cooperative action.”
Living on a farm in one of Victoria’s most isolated communities, Goongerah, Jarrod Ruch spends his days pruning organic fruit trees, tending to his farm animals and doing everything he can to heal the planet.
Avid permaculture farmer, Jarrod, shared with us his personal and professional path to regenerative farming, which began with a management role in an indigenous plant nursery.
“I really gravitated towards this concept of regenerating and bringing back the bush at an early age,” said Jarrod.
Not long into his career, Jarrod decided to branch out and learn the techniques of permaculture, which mimics the natural systems within an ecosystem.
He also discovered that the benefits associated with this approach were not only extended to the prosperity of the land, but also to the wellbeing of those involved.
“Permaculture is the ultimate design process for us to approach regenerative farming,” said Jarrod.
“It brings back biodiversity, soil health and [focuses on] the wellbeing of farmers and gardeners.”
Birds-eye view of Hope Seed Farm, note the bushfire-affected forest on the opposite side of the road (a legacy of the Black Summer Bushfires)
After purchasing his own property 18 years ago, in the community of Goongerah, East Gippsland, Jarrod has recently started ‘Hope Seed Australia’. This is a farm based ‘not for profit’ cooperative business with the central philosophy that operates primarily within the gift economy.
“The idea behind the gift economy is that if we share our surplus and give our time in generosity, that then creates a loop of generosity, and people feel as though they want to give back in some way,” says Jarrod.
For ‘Hope Seed Australia’, it is essential that every stakeholder has an equal input into how the business is run, initiating productivity and wealth in many forms.
“In the business world, we definitely need to move a lot more towards a cooperation approach rather than competition,” says Jarrod.
“There is a greater drive from the workers to make the business successful because they’re a part of it.”
Family affair, Jarrod's daughter harvesting from the garden (note the companion planting)
In a society where regenerative businesses are finally beginning to trend, for Jarrod, regenerative farming through permaculture is a way of life, and has been for decades.
What was inspiring about Jarrod was his selfless approach towards business. He always seemed to circulate back to a main goal of conserving the planet, for both ‘Hope Seed Australia’, and for the future of all businesses.
As a pioneering leader of Regeneration, we took the opportunity to ask him to shed some light on how to integrate regenerative principles into a business.
“We need to re-localise our businesses as much as possible.”
“If we look at trying to have global businesses that distribute and use materials from around the world, we are buying into the need to use fossil fuels to do that.”
The land has always held a special place in Jarrod’s heart. He would love to see more people inhabit the countryside and come back to the land. Regardless of where you live, the land and waters are calling us. It's time to regenerate.