Saving soil to save the planet

Graeme Sait

By Margaret Maccoll

Twenty-six years ago Graeme Sait’s daughter Rachel was hit by a car outside her school. She was taken to ICU in a coma with suspected brain damage and given little chance of survival. Not a particularly religious man Graeme made a deal with God that should she survive he would do something of value. Graeme said she woke from her coma only moments later and he went in search of a project.

He developed a passion for soil and made a decision to become an expert in soil health, focusing on the link between soil biology and planetary health.

The co-founder and CEO of Nutri-Tech Solutions (NTS), is an author/educator responsible for over 300 published articles and a popular book, Nutrition Rules.

Graeme is a passionate regenerative farmer with three research and demonstration farms where he produces chemical free, nutrient dense food with forgotten flavours and enhanced shelf-life.

He is an internationally sought-after speaker, specialising in soil, plant, animal and human health and wellness. With his travel curtailed by COVID Graeme last week spoke at Noosa Parks Association’s Friday Forum.

“Top soil is the most precious commodity. It’s what feeds us,” he told full house of guests. “Every year we’re losing 7-10 tons.”

Soil is disappearing with erosion from land clearing, poor land management and extreme weather events and each year farmers are pouring more and more fertilisers and pesticides on soil to obtain their single crop yields.

After creating a five-day course to teach farmers to grow food in what he calls nutrition farming he has trained more than 47,000 farmers worldwide.

“Nature is our whole blueprint,” he said.

Graeme considers food production the most important of all professions. He believes farmers must be supported and farming needs to be more profitable and sustainable.

To assist farmers and the health of the planet his aim is to improve soil health and consequently plant and human health.

Instead of planting a single crop Graeme educates farmers on the benefits of growing a diverse range of plants.

The diversity above ground feeds the diversity below ground, feeding the soil, he said.

In a natural system each plant feeds a different group of organisms.

A healthy system requires five families of plants including grasses, cereals and legumes which, he said puts the plants into hypo drive.

“If you do that it’s a total change,” he said.

In his nutrition farming method plants in combination create a healthy system that feeds the insects that in turn feed the birds and animals, aerates the soil, resists disease, creating more resilient plants that grow without the need for toxic chemicals.

By teaching people how to improve soil Graeme is also helping to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere with a little help from fungi, which he describes as one of the most important elements on the planet because of its ability to stabilise humus, the organic component of soil, enabling it to hold carbon in the soil.

In addition to farming education NTS has developed a range of more than 200 problem solving products, including the world’s largest range of organically certified inputs. Exported to more than 50 countries the products his soil therapy and plant therapy services have become very popular.

Graeme is based on the Sunshine Coast from where he operates three local farms including his most recent acquisition, an orchard. He finds that when people

taste this food they are more inclined to support regenerative agriculture in the future.