Organic is no longer just for hippies or those denizens of Nimbin or Byron Bay. Organic is moving into mainstream supermarkets and Sydney markets in a big way. Worldwide, it’s estimated that sales of organic food will soon reach $15 billion a year and keep rising.
Is it any wonder that the organic food industry is booming? In a 1998 survey, Food in Focus carried out by Murdoch Books, nine out of 10 Australians claimed they had concerns about the integrity of the food they eat.
About half surveyed said they would pay more for natural products. And for those anxious about genetically modified foods, organic products are a sure fire guarantee of food “purity”.
What Does It Mean?
Organic or biodynamic foods are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers or livestock feed additives such as antibiotics or steroids.
It’s not just eliminating synthetic chemicals. Organic agriculture is a way of farming using sustainable and environmentally sensitive practices including crop rotation, composting and biological pest control and irrigation management.
These practices serve to prevent soil erosion, promote bio-diversity and minimise impact on local waterways and the water table.
The Big Seven
How do you know you are getting the real thing? In Australia, producers and growers are certified by one of seven organisations. These bodies act as your guarantee, and by looking for their certification logos, you can be certain you’ll he eating organic. All have been approved by the Federal Government’s Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to ensure they comply with the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce. They are:
- Biodynamic Research Institute
- National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia
- Biological Farmers Association
- Organic Herb Growers of Australia
- Organic Vignerons Association
- Organic Food Chain (tea-tree oil only) Eco Pure