Organic News (3)
In a world under the shadow of bad news stories, wars, epidemics and political struggle it is great to break some GOOD NEWS!
Certified Organic Solutions have recently been working with Lismore City Council on a pioneering Australian first program to achieve organic certification status for kerbside food and garden waste. This is huge news for the organic food industry and opens up potential for this success to be emulated across the country. Here is the Lismore Council's Press Release:
Lismore City Council has this week been named the first council in Australian to achieve organic certification for compost made from kerbside food and garden waste.
The exciting news is another in a long list of waste management achievements for Lismore in the last 18 months including being named the first licensed phytocapping site in NSW and opening the state-of-the-art Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).
Lismore City Council achieved the certification through Australia Certified Organic (ACO) by putting in place new screening processes to remove plastics and other inorganic materials from the kerbside waste as well as hot composting, stringent product testing and cleaning/hygiene controls.
The news means organic producers from right across the Northern Rivers can purchase compost from Lismore City Council and maintain their own organic certification.
“The certification from Australia Organic is another feather in Lismore’s cap and something we have wanted to achieve for quite some time,” Waste Operations Coordinator Kevin Trustum said.
“In 2012 we achieved organic certification for the green waste people drop off at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre, but the kerbside certification was much more challenging. Now we have a full complement of composting products that are 100% organic certified. That’s excellent news for organic producers and excellent for us in a business sense.
“We have totally closed the loop on our green waste services and that’s something we can all be proud of. It means local organic producers can buy local, and the money we generate can go into investigating and implementing further sustainability and recycling initiatives.
“The community wants Lismore to be a model of sustainability and being named the first council in Australia to gain organic certification for compost made from kerbside food and garden waste shows we’re really serious about achieving that vision.”
The organic certified compost is available for purchase from Council’s weighbridge for $35 per cubic metre. For more information phone 1300 87 83 87.
To mark the startup of this Australian First innovation, Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell and Waste Operations Coordinator Kevin Trustum planted a vegetable patch using the new, certified organic compost at 10.30am on Friday, 14 November 2014, at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre, 313 Wyrallah Road, East Lismore.
See the informative video and download the information brochure pdf here.
by Sue Neales
"ORGANIC farming has moved from the hippie communes of Nimbin and hobby farms of Gippsland into the boardrooms, bank accounts, farming empires and bottom-line strategic thinking of corporate Australia.
A new survey to be released today by IBISWorld shows organic farming is a $655 million industry, growing at a phenomenal 12 per cent a year.
Organic produce also has emerged for the first time as a significant export earner, particularly organic meat sold to the US, with total exports valued at $66m last year.
IBISWorld analyst Caroline Finch said sales of organic produce still made up only 1 per cent of all income to farmers at the farmgate.
But by 2018, the IBIS report predicts organic farming will be a $1 billion mainstream agricultural industry, driven by continuing consumer demand for food that is healthy, safe, chemical-free and grown in a manner that is kinder to the environment and animals.
“Organic meat has been the big growth areas; it is something Australian producers can do really well because a lot of cattlemen and sheep farmers in the rangeland and outback areas aren’t using chemicals in the first place,” Ms Finch said.
“This is a very attractive space for producers to be in — and they are responding to the consumer demand — because it is one of the few areas of agriculture where you know your buyers are prepared to pay a premium for the food you produce.”
However, the number of organic farmers has not jumped despite the rapid growth in the organic industry, driven by major supermarket corporations Coles and Woolworths — which sell 60 per cent of all organic produce in Australia — demanding larger, more regular and more quality consistent consignments of organic food.
To fill the gap, several corporate and large specialist organic producers have recently seized the opportunity to benefit from the higher prices paid by consumers for food grown without chemicals and fertilisers on officially certified organic land. Organic produce sells at between 1.5 and two times the price of conventionally grown food.
“Australia has the largest area of organic farmland in the world at an estimated 12 million hectares, with the majority of rangelands used for organic cattle production,” the IBIS report says.
“As the industry undergoes rapid change, the type of farmers is also changing; over the past five years larger organic farm businesses have emerged to meet the demands for organic produce by large retailers and supermarkets.”
One such rising organic producer is former Air France and Virgin international pilot Paul Martin. A former Broken Hill boy, he returned to the outback three years ago to become pastoral manager for listed agricultural corporation Tandou, running a flock of 7000 organic Dorper breed ewes on 111,000ha of certified organic lease land owned by the company near Menindee Lakes in far western NSW.
Every year, the company aims to sell 10,000 organic lambs to local and export markets — with some of its organic lambs ending up in Woolworths, and the rest in the US.
Hardy Dorper sheep, originally bred in South Africa, are ideal for outback conditions such as the grassy downs, billabongs, baked claypans and bluebush of Tandou estate because they shed their wool and don’t need to be shorn, and thrive in environments where merinos or other European meat sheep would not,
Mr Martin said his lambs are fetching $6.50 a kilo as organic sheep, compared with $6 for conventionally reared produce, almost a 10 per cent premium.
“It means we get abut $148 a head rather than $132; that’s a big difference when you are running a big operation like ours,” Mr Martin said yesterday.
“And by default a lot of this rangeland western division lease land is organic because there is no need for fertilisers or chemical to be used on this country, because we don’t need to dip, jet or drench Dorpers for flies, worms or anything because they are so hardy,” he said.
“So for a company like Tandou, running an organic sheep business to earn the price premiums there for both export and local markets from organics makes good financial sense.”
3rd April 2012
Slater & Gordon Solicitors today lodged a claim in the WA Supreme Court on behalf of an organic farmer seeking to recover loss and damage allegedly caused by a genetically modified canola farmer neighbour. Steve Marsh, an organic farmer from Kojonup, Western Australia, suffered contamination by GM material on his farm in late 2010 leading to the loss of his organic certification and loss of income.
Slater & Gordon Solicitors are acting pro bono in the public interest. The Safe Food Foundation directed by Scott Kinnear, longstanding organic industry representative, is supporting Steve by raising funds to support the case. The SFF will coordinate the fund raising efforts of dozens of groups and thousands of individuals across Australia and internationally who have pledged to help Steve in this landmark legal battle.
“Steve has been deluged with offers of help since news of his story broke. The Safe Food Foundation has taken on the coordination of fundraising as a major project in support of Steve and the right of farmers everywhere to grow GM-free foods; which ultimately equals consumers’ right to buy and eat GM-free foods and to avoid potentially dangerous toxic GM foods” said Kinnear.
“There are legitimate concerns, derived from a body of developing research, that GM foods and the herbicide Roundup may be toxic,” Kinnear said. Roundup Ready GM crops such as GM canola, are resistant to the application of Roundup which is used on the crops to control weeds, causing Roundup residues to enter our food chain,” said Kinnear.
“We believe that Steve Marsh’s case is the tip of the iceberg and that unless stopped, Australia will follow Canada and North Americas dangerous lead, where there is virtually no GM-free canola available and GM residues are commonly contaminating non GM grain crops.”
“We suggest farmers considering GM canola for this year, should reconsider their plans until this case has resolved the issue of contamination and common law responsibilities. If this case fails, then there will be no turning back the GM tide as contamination sweeps through our food supply. We simply cannot stand by and let this happen” said Kinnear.
For more information:
Scott Kinnear, Director, The Safe Food Foundation