A Brief History
by Judith Gregg – Office Manager, Tasmania
The Tasmanian Organic-dynamic Producers Incorporated (TOP) was formed in the early 1990’s in response to the growing interest in organic agriculture in Tasmania and around the world. The market demands for clean foods produced from low impact systems saw increasing numbers of farmers interested in gaining organic certification, and TOP was formed to respond to calls from the rural sector for a body to represent and support Tasmanian growers.
Campbell Town was always the meeting place of the organisation, due to its central location in Tasmania, and as such a small office was opened in the area in 2007 employing a part time Office Manager and providing a permanent location for management of the organisation and for monthly Council & Certification meetings.
Due to the dedication of the many volunteer members of TOP over the years, fees for members have been able to be kept to a minimum. However changes to the accreditation system for certifying bodies, as well as the need to be able to provide greater access to overseas markets, and the increased costs of these measures, has led to the merger of TOP with Australian Certified Organic.
The merger does not mean the end of TOP. The belief in the organic industry and the value of the dedicated Tasmanian brand is still firmly held and TOP will continue as an organisation to promote the Tasmanian organic industry.
Australian Certified Organic recognised the value of the Tasmanian brand and has agreed to the use of the TOP logo for Tasmanian producers who may wish to use it in conjunction with their ACO “Bud” logo. Membership is $50 per annum and is open to all Tasmanian operations certified to the National Standard by ACO.
Pictured below, and showing the already existing links between the two organisations:
Left to right: Kent Mainwaring, Bilambil Berry Farm, TOP Vice President, now with ACO; Graeme Pretty representing Greenham Tasmania, ACO & previously TOP certified; Rex Williams, Kelty Farm, TOP President, now with ACO; Ronald van de Winckel, Marleen Herbs of Tasmania, ACO certified, friend of TOP and council member.