The 3rd Annual Awards for Excellence hosted by Matt Welsh, Olympian and Health and Wellness Consultant, were held at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, Melbourne on Thursday, 10th November 2016.
Every business or producer who ventures down the certified organic path commits to going above and beyond what is expected of other businesses. Amongst the shortlisted, there were many who were deserving of these awards. Unfortunately there could be only one winner in each category. Generally the winners were exemplified by not only having a high quality product and a strong commitment to organics, but also by their outstanding commitment to community, staff, customers, suppliers and the environment. In other words all things that are part of an ethical and caring world. It’s important that in recognising the winners that we also acknowledge all the organic growers and producers who work so hard to make our world a better place.
And the winners are ………..
Young Organic Leader
This young organic leader has developed a range of exciting high quality organic coconut products that now have sales all over Australia. At the same time she encourages her customers to lead healthy lives with recipes and tips, as well as contributing 1% of her sales to environmental initiatives and through speaking engagements promotes organics and organic lifestyles. All packaging is minimised and recyclable.
The judges congratulate Bernadette on achieving so much in a relatively short time.
Export Market Leader
Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat Co. is one of the world’s largest organic meat exporters and they have worked hard and innovatively to have their brands accepted and selling well into 9 different countries. All certified organic meat is sourced from Australian family farms and labelled as such demonstrating transparency to overseas markets. The judges commended their strong partnerships with their organic producers.
Farmer of the Year
Murray River Organics was chosen as farmer of the year because of their dedication to organics on a very large scale. Not only does their certified organic business convert distressed vineyards in the Sunraysia region to organic dried fruit resulting in more than 4,300 acres of organic farmland, but they also process and package their own fruit in organic facilities in Mildura and Dandenong. They are strongly committed to environmental sustainability but they also work towards improving the lives of people both locally and overseas through their social commitments.
Business of the Year
Eclipse Organics, the winner of the Business of the Year fulfilled every criteria and more. From the involvement of customers and community in product and display development to the focus on the well-being of employees, the business’s enormous contribution to local community, as well as to organics in their 215 certified organic products, Eclipse Organics richly deserved the award.
Retailer of the Year
Despite many strong contenders the judges found it hard to go past this certified organic retailer, Garden Organics. Not only do they sell only certified organic fresh products but their business has been certified for 14 years. Their commitment to the Organic Industry is very strong, as is their care and respect for their staff, suppliers, customers and their local community. They donate surplus food, raise money for important not-for-profits as well as donating produce to local groups and more.
Best Certified Product of the Year, Beverage
The Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Springs Co. stood out because of a very real commitment to innovation and strong environmental practices, in both the production of their organic drinks as well as their sustainable packaging. Judges also noted their involvement in the local community and commitment to sustainable business models.
Best Certified Product of the Year, Cosmetic
Savi Australia achieved the award for best cosmetic for their endeavours in using organic Australian products wherever possible as well as their commitment to research and constant striving to make their products the best they can be. Their commitment to organics is seen in their diligence in vetting all their suppliers to ensure only high quality and truly certified organic and environmentally friendly ingredients are used. The judges also noted the way the local community was involved trialling and testing product.
Best Certified Product of the Year, Food
Barambah Organics stood out not just for its excellent product but also for its commitment to service, to their customers, staff, suppliers and the wider community. Particularly in their regular contributions to community events and individuals in need of help. The judges also noted recognition of their exemplary food safety standards. Their commitment to organics is displayed by their longevity as well as the range and quality of organic products produced and distributed all over Australia.
Best Certified Product of the Year, Non Food Item
The judges were impressed by the long term dedication of Nutrisoil to their product and absolute commitment to producing healthy, living soils, as well as to the organic industry. They were early adopters of internet technology to advertise their product and set up their business to directly benefit farmers and provide knowledge about how their product is produced, as well as open days, monthly Biological Farming Roundtables and a new business based on Soil Restoration Farming. It is not just about the product but about the future of farming as a whole and being part of an industry that delivers nutrient rich food.
Hall of Fame 2016
This years’ Hall of Fame recipient, Howard Rubin, has dedicated the past 30 years towards the establishment and development of the Australian organic industry. Upon arriving in Australia in 1987, Howard founded the Organic Herb Growers of Australia. This association later became known as the Organic Growers of Australia (OGA Certified). OGA were one of the original certification agencies to be formed in Australia. Howard served as its president for 14 years.
Over the years, Howard met with several Ministers and Members of Parliament to encourage them to embrace organics. One such meeting with the NSW Minister for Agriculture, Howard introduced the concept of farmers having to identify what chemicals were used in the crops production. This was flatly refused and thus the concept of organic certification was introduced. Congratulations Howard!
Our second inductee into the Hall of Fame for 2016 is Roger Pitt, co-owner and former Executive Director of Kadac for 26 years. His role has centred on developing new opportunities and finding new products and commodities for the business within Australia and overseas.
Roger has travelled extensively over the past 20 years to build direct relationships with farmers and brand owners, and today has a wide global network in the organic industry. From Bolivian organic quinoa farmers to cacao growers and organic chocolate producers in Peru, Roger is passionate about growing the organic industry and actively connects people throughout the supply chain. Congratulations Roger!
Chairman’s Award 2016
“I grow certified organic mushrooms, it’s not a job, it’s a life.”
Becoming certified just over 20 years ago, Benalla Mushrooms wanted to give consumers the option of being able to buy organic mushrooms, as there was no one else growing this certified organic product in the marketplace.
Andrew and his father started growing mushrooms over 25 years ago and are the first certified organic commercial mushroom farm in Australia, and the longest lasting. Andrew receives numerous phone calls from people all over Australia, who are happy to be able to purchase certified organic mushrooms, often hearing from mums asking the difference between conventional and organic. Growing mushrooms organically is a constant challenge and keeps him thinking and on his toes, however, he is always keen and willing to assist anyone interested in the mushroom business. Andrew’s integrity and commitment to the Australian organic industry is second to none and he loves promoting certified organic at every opportunity. Congratulations Andrew!
Australian Organic Reader’s Choice Product of the Year 2016
Australian Organic’s Annual Awards for Excellence were created to celebrate and showcase the year’s most outstanding Australian Certified Organic products, businesses and individuals. This year, as a media partner with Australian Organic – owner of Australia’s largest organic certification body – ABC Organic Gardener hosted the Australian Organic Reader’s Choice Product* of the Year Award.
Pioneers of the seaweed category, Seasol have won the Australian Organic Reader’s Choice Product of the year with their Seasol Concentrate! Congratulations Seasol!