Australian Organic networking event – Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory

JuneeThe Australian Organic team, members and clients visited Neil Druce at Green Grove Organics’ Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory on Thursday, 2 July 2015 for a networking event. A big thank you goes to Neil who presented a personalised tour of the operation (needless to say we all walked away with significant purchases of ACO certified licorice to share amongst our family and friends).

In order to create his licorice, Neil sources one of his ingredients from his father Alan Druce – Alan runs a certified organic cereal production enterprise and is considered to be a founding father for organics in this sector.

Alan was joined by a larger group of ACO clients and members (the majority were also in broad acre production and cereal cropping enterprises) to hear from Dr Andrew Monk about Australian Organic and what is happening in the broader Junee district and Riverina area.

This successful networking event brought growers from a number of certifying bodies. A key discussion of the session focused on the critical shortages of certified organic grain and how to build this supply.

Industry Development Officer, Annabelle Bushell, facilitated a discussion on the priorities both short and longer term. “It was great to have so many grain growers in the room to speak to and hear from them – tDSC_0036he primary producers underpinning the certified organic production system – how and what we can start to do to address this.”

The existing Riverina Organic Farmers Organisation (ROFO) is coordinated by many who were present at the networking event and offers a great local platform of support for growers who are researching how organic systems of production may integrate into their existing enterprise.

“It was clear from the day that sound benchmarking data needed to be developed and Australian Organic will be working with ROFO to achieve this.”

ROFO represents likeminded organic growers in the Riverina area and is run by Bill Barnhill (President). The committee includes several contacts for each different sector of the organic industry including grain, livestock and vegetables (etc.). With such a diverse array of different people, the committee members always look forward to meeting new members and engaging with young growers in particular.

The committee holds a meeting/get together every quarter with the next one due to happen in September 2015 (date TBC). The general meeting place is held at members’ farms, therefore changing location each meeting. This gives the committee leaders the opportunity to view the progress of their members’ running operations and provide any support and feedback where needed. As well as quarterly meetings, ROFO also holds an annual AGM (annual general meeting).

Membership is available (as well as associate membership) for $50.00 annually.

The ROFO committee are constantly receiving contact in regards to what’s happening within the committee, the different sectors and the area. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact Bill Barnhill.