Organic growers meet
Australian Certified Organic is the new name replacing Biological Farmers of Australia and is the peak body that certifies organic growers and products as the 'real thing'. Recently there was a group visit to C-Wise of the national leadership team along with a number of WA organic growers and farmers as well as soil and compost producers and baggers.
The organics industry is growing rapidly and there is constant pressure to ensure that product is indeed being produced according to specific guidelines so that consumers get what they pay for and expect.
The process of gaining accreditation is serious and can take years in some circumstances. This involves regular on-site audits to ensure that standards are being met. Some of the goals of certification include ensuring that no synthetic agricultural chemicals including pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are used. Biodiversity protection is encouraged as well as land regeneration. Farmers consider impacts on local fauna and flora of their work. A major goal is the production of safe nutritious food. There is in addition certification of cosmetics as well.
The visit from the executives of ACO was aimed to inform members of the growing community about recent initiatives. The timing was particularly apt as it coincided with the verdict in the court case Marsh Vs Baxter involving a WA farmer loosing his organic certification with NASSA because of contamination by seeds blowing in from a GM crop next door.
Andy Gulliver and Clint Liddelow lead a tour of facility and Bridget Fitzgerald ABC Radio's Country Hour presenter from Bunbury was on hand doing interviews with participants. Dr Andrew Monk, the Chairman of Australian Organics, said of C-Wise after the tour of the facility that it is - "One of the best composting sites in the country".
C-Wise devotes half of the facility to the production of certified organic composted product. These are sold in bulk to famers as well as soil yards around the metropolitan area. The three new bagged products - Humicarb, Humiclay and Turf Perfect carry the ACO logo.
Some of the tour participants