An Australian farmer on caring for and nurturing the land

Johannes Meier

Johannes Meier 1970 –

When Johannes and Anne moved with their four children to Danthonia in 2004, the social fallout of Australia’s Millennium Drought was painfully obvious. Decades of conventional farming methods had leached the land of its fertility, and an entire way of life was threatened. Local farmers were despairing, and some were even committing suicide.

Today, Johannes, who is responsible for Danthonia’s farming operations, is eager to show visitors how the 5,500-acre property is now thriving as a result of conservation initiatives such as planting 100,000 trees.

In actual fact, a lot of what we’re doing represents a return to old approaches – so old, they’ve been virtually forgotten. The story is not about us, but part of a much bigger picture. It’s about how, through working with nature, a wounded landscape and a wounded world can be healed. Sustainable farms equal sustainable lives.

What’s more, Danthonia’s efforts have earned it the trust of the local aboriginal community: 

Many tell us they feel kinship because of our emphasis on community and custodianship – on the idea of being nurturers and caretakers of the land. 

Of course I’m thrilled by the way nature is responding to our work. But caring for our property is only a small part of the picture. We need to care about the natural world as a whole – for our neighbor, but also for the child starving half a world away, and for future generations. For everything God has created. And we need the humility to recognize our own responsibility for the mess we’ve made of this planet. 

Greed and demand drive the markets – industrial agriculture has a lot to answer for in that regard. But as consumers, each of us is complicit in today’s global ecological disasters. And so the question is, do I care enough to change the way I live?

A fall afternoon in Australia
A fall afternoon in Australia

Your Turn

Enter your questions or reactions here and we’ll pass it on to author Clare Stober.

The Book

A Window into a Christian Community at 100 Years

With photography by British photojournalist Danny Burrows, this 300-page hardcover book celebrates what is possible when people take a leap of faith. It will inspire anyone working to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable future.

Book Cover in blue

Get a Sneak Preview

Sign-up below to download a free sampler of this book. You'll also be notified by email as new stories are posted.

We will never share your email address with unrelated third parties. Read our Privacy Policy.