Our 2015 Annual General Meeting and Annual Awards for Excellence took place at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre, Gatton on November 27th. The awards were hosted by Australian Organic ambassador Zoe Naylor. Zoe was the face of our 2015 CSA and promoted the success of our awareness month in this month’s issue of Town and Country Farmer.
The evening recognised the achievements of our growing industry and showcased those who have helped its continued growth, including individuals, businesses and standout certified organic products.
The Young Leader Award was presented to Brynley King from Nature Pacific Pty Ltd, whose creative and innovative approach in reaching consumers impressed the judges. A major asset not just to Nature Pacific, but to the broader national and international movement for certified organic products as well as a major contributor to establishing food as medicine in the health and well-being sector.
Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Co. received the Gold Award for Export Market Leader by reaching more markets with greater depth and number of export certificates issued (administered by ACO under the Australian government Organic Export Orders program) while creating a 10 year history, driving industry growth in Australia.
The Gold Independent Retailer of the Year went to both Wray Organic for their 9 bricks and mortar stores and Bhumi Organic Cotton for their online store. Bhumi is ushering in a new sector for the Australian organic industry; beautifully designed textiles paired with purpose and an inspiring story – helping third world producers escape the poverty and synthetic chemical industry trap by providing viable market alternatives. Wray Organic was also a stand-out due to their dedication to the certified organic industry, the clear labelling of products as certified in their stores and the expansive mindset they have to continue growing their business and the authenticity with which they are conducting their retailing operations.
Therese Kerr, an Australian Organic Goodwill ambassador, was awarded the Organic Industry Leadership award for her pivotal role in changing public perception about certified organic products by conducting regular public forums educating the public. She has worked tirelessly in front of and behind the scenes in bringing the certified organic message to Australian consumers.
One of the biggest certified organic wholesalers in the country, Eco Farms, received the title of Wholesaler/Trader of the Year. Eco Farms has branches in all the eastern states and directly employs approximately 250 people and directly or indirectly buys from hundreds of organic farmers and manufacturers, here in Australia and overseas. Eco-Farms has been reaching out to community and school groups, as well as working through Foodbank and Ozharvest with excess stock.
The delicious Loving Earth Chocolate was awarded the title of Manufacturer of the Year. Loving Earth takes the manufacturing of the products they develop back to the indigenous communities who grow and process the raw materials, thereby adding more value to their work and increasing the revenue they can generate for their local families.
The Best Certified Organic Product in the Non Food category went to Vanessa Megan’s Nature’s Elixir Face Oil (NEO). Vanessa Gray has established an astounding and innovative range of organic cosmetics and personal products to the exacting requirements of the Australian Certified Organic Standard. NEO is testament to the research and balance sought and achieved in the Vanessa Megan product range. NEO is both innovative and effective but also based on nature’s own potency and simplicity.
The Best Certified Organic Product in the Food category was awarded to Cleaver’s new Paleo Sausages. The Paleo range highlights Cleaver’s drive to remain innovative and market reactive. Cleavers has continued to deliver to consumer expectations and through product diversification, has maintained this position.
Don Murray from Nature’s Haven was titled Farmer of the Year. Mr Murray has over 30 years’ experience in agriculture and after initially instigating certified organic activities with his NSW Nature’s Haven property in 2002, Don’s family venture now consists of 7 farms, stretching across two states, purposefully delivering 12 month’s supply of fresh produce. Don is very active and generous in both regional communities where his farms are situated and his long term vision for successful, competitive Australian organic farming is clearly evident by his nurturing of the next generation of farmers, his son Brendan.
The prestigious Hall of Fame Award was presented by last year’s recipient Gavin Dunn to both Geoff Steinicke, who was the original founder of Melrose Health, and David Williams, a founding member of Australian Organic, formerly the BFA (Biological Farmers of Australia). Geoff and David have been inducted into the Hall of Fame due to their active involvement in the organic marketplace and industry services sector and continued service to the broader industry.
The evening included a wine tasting from various Australian Certified Organic wines from all over Australia, including finalists Pig in the House, Kalleske Wines, Angove Family Winemakers, Gemtree Vineyards and Yangarra Estate Vineyard.
A big thanks to everyone who attended and to our amazing wine clients whose certified organic wines were sampled at the wine tasting.
Congratulations to all our award winners and finalists for 2015. We can’t wait for next year!