Are you being organically virtuous this festive season?

Andy with wine copy 2 croppedHello!

No matter your political persuasion, or frustration with inertia on important issues, there remains one everyday thing you can do to transform the world around you: buy certified organic.

This simple act profoundly transforms the lives of organic farming families. It enables them to continue their amazing work of feeding you and your family. Certified organic farmers are the custodians of our water tables, precious soils and the broader ecological web we share.

This Christmas, spare a thought for these people on the land and their hard workers, while you enjoy the fruits of their labour. That is a virtuous connection worth being involved in and – like your health – one that’s hard to put a price on.

Certified organic is a mainstream option for shoppers. With its growth in popularity, there has also been an increase in the occurrence of misleading labelling. There’s one simple way to know if a product is what it claims to be – look for the Australian Certified Organic logo. An enormous amount of work happens to ensure you can trust products wearing this logo. Measures include spot audits, market compliance investigations, product testing and (fortunately infrequently) enforced product recalls if the product is not to specification.

Australian Organic members and Australian Certified Organic clients have been involved in our inaugural industry awards and networking events during the past 12 months. Congratulations to all the winners of the Australian Organic Awards. In particular, I would like to single out Monika Fiebig, who won the Chairman’s Award for Market Integrity. Maintaining integrity in the market for organic shoppers is what we are ultimately here for and Monika has been a superstar in this domain – putting her own business interests behind that of our broader organic community and market. Thank you, Monika, and keep up the great work!

A big thanks to the Barossa and McLaren Vale certified organic wineries that generously opened their doors to Australian Organic staff and members over two days of tours in November. It was great to see Yalumba, Hart of the Barossa, Kalleske Wines, Yangarra Estate, Angove Family Winemakers, Battle of Bosworth and Gemtree Wines.

If you haven’t heard about the new headline value of the organic industry – where have you been and who have you not been talking to? – you can read about it in the newly released Australian Organic Market Report 2014. Australian Organic members can request a hard copy.

I recently had the honour of being at one of our Australian Organic Schools partner schools with former Collingwood Football Club player and Australian Organic goodwill ambassador Chris Tarrant. I was bowled over by the commitment of one particular teacher to bring organic cooking to her school without a kitchen in sight (she used makeshift tables and mobile stoves). It goes to show how little it takes where there is a will and determination. This excellent program reached over 60,000 students this week and continues to grow. Are you involved and educating the next generation?

Enjoy a well-earned break if you are having one. You can and do change the way the world works – one meal and one purchase at a time. Choose certified organic beer, wine or non-alcoholic drinks for your company Christmas party and look for certified organic gifts – chocolates, T-shirts, cosmetics and garden products!

On behalf of our diverse family of certified organic farmers, manufacturers, processors, retailers, field auditors, technical staff and members who feed us information about the organic market, best wishes and please have a safe and Australian Certified Organic New Year season!

Andrew Monk

Australian Organic