History of Australian Organic

 Original board

BFA

Australian Organic (formerly Biological Farmers of Australia or BFA) has always been a major force in ensuring that organic standards in Australia remain in the hands of the supply chain.

Initially formed to progress the interests of farmers and processors who wanted to promote and protect the message of organic, including the setting of organic standards, the BFA moved on to develop an organic certification program to independently verify that farmers and processors were producing in accord with those standards.

Australian Organic represents both organic and biodynamic (a specific form of organic production) farmers, and hence the broader term ‘biological farmers’ was chosen as the group’s name to promote a simple message that such farmers were using natural methods, not synthetic or unnatural methods, to produce their foods for consumers. BFA was registered as a co-operative in 1988, following key community and industry meetings across the country.

In 2009 BFA changed its corporate structure to that of a company limited by guarantee. This allows Australian Organic to be recognised as an entity which is conducting its business nationally, with other benefits including reduced administration costs and greater assistance in operating on a not-for-profit basis.

BFA changed its name to Australian Organic in 2012 to better reflect its activities.

The Australian Organic head office is located in Brisbane, Queensland.

The Bud Logo

Australian Certified Organic Bud LogoThe Bud logo was initially designed in 1989 by Rosemary Dunn of South Australia, one of Australian Organic’s early and still loyal members, while sitting around the Dunn’s kitchen table.

The Bud represents everything that Australian Organic is about: The growth and promise of spring, the sign of big things growing from the initial organic movement, and the strength and logic of nature and natural (biological and organic) systems in guiding our choices in life.

The Bud is a registered mark with IP Australia and is the oldest Australian organic certification mark in the country still currently in use. Many other symbols and organic signs have come and gone through the last two decades of the organic industry’s development in Australia. There are others, like in other countries of the world where organic products are traded, but none as recognised as the Bud logo. Most importantly the Bud represents Australia’s leading certification program, ‘Australian Certified Organic’ – ensuring integrity of organic products in the marketplace for consumers.

As the industry and the market is now maturing and growing with an ever-widening group of consumers, the Bud simplifies choices because it’s easy to recognise. It can be found on the overwhelming majority of certified organic products sold in Australia (over 80% of the market) and is the most recognised organic certification mark by consumers.

OGA

The Organic Growers of Australia (OGA) started as the Northern Rivers Herb Growers Association in 1987 in the Northern Rivers region of NSW when a small group of enthusiastic farmers came together to discuss herb growing at a time when it was practically non-existent in Australia. With a growing interest in organic production, name changes and the program steadily evolving, OGA quickly developed into a body which audited not only herb growers, but farmers and processors Australia-wide.  In 2006, the OGA certification program merged with the Australian Organic Limited Group (formerly BFA).  Since 1 July, 2007, Australian Organic Limited has offered OGA certification as a dedicated program servicing smaller, domestic only, producers.

The OGA program played a very important role in Australia by providing small producers access to a low-cost certification service, with dedicated and committed farmers providing consumers with confidence about the honesty and integrity of the products they sold and welcomed scrutiny of their claims by a highly-reputable certification organisation.

After a two year review, the OGA program will cease to exist on 30 June, 2018 when all small producers will be transferred to the larger ACO group.

 

Australian Certified Organic Pty Ltd (ACO)

Australian Certified Organic is an independent subsidiary of Australian Organic, responsible for the certification of organic foods and fibres and was set up in 2001 to distinctly separate the task of certifying and regulating organic products from that of promotion of the industry and representing the industry’s interests to government.

The early 1990s saw involvement from the federal Australian Government, following industry requests to establish a national organic standard for production and marketing for export. This was formalised in 1991 and remains today as a bedrock regulation upon which the Australian Organic bases its popular Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACOS).

ACOS confirms with the leading organic standards across the world, making it one of the most respected and rigorous standards in the world for organic production.

It conforms to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the USDA’s National Organic Program, the Japanese Organic Standard, the EU’s Organic Regulations, and others.

The ACOS is reviewed every three years.