Groundswell’s Jamie Durie deep dives into the ongoing evolution of Australia’s organic farming industry and looks at why organics have become so popular and where it is heading.
As consumers gain more awareness about the connection between diet, health and the environment the popularity of organic foods surge. Organic farming is ideally positioned to address food/health related concerns, while providing growth in an industry that desperately needs it.
The momentum towards more organic farming methods – fewer chemicals, decent soil management and more regenerative and biodynamic methods – isn’t new. However, it is gathering momentum and is the path forward. Better nutrition, taste and flavour are the driving factors behind organic’s growing popularity.
Jamie talks to growers and distributors of organic produce and has found there are some interesting and sometimes alarming gaps in the industry. He discovers that some members of the industry are aiming to fill in those gaps as more shoppers want to know where their food is coming from and how it’s grown and produced.
For many years monocrop farming with a heavy reliance on chemical pesticides has damaged our once healthy soils and that leads to compromised health in the population.
There is increasing awareness in our society about the extraordinary benefits of healthy soil. When farmers adopt regenerative agriculture, a key factor is soil regeneration and healthy soil leads to healthy crops/food, which leads to a healthy human gut when we consume nutrients through our food, that supports healthy immune systems in our population. Something which is imperative in these times of pandemics such as, COVID-19.
As awareness of the benefits of organics grow, consumers will hopefully realise that glossy, perfect-looking fruit and veg is quite often a façade that could be hiding a myriad of chemical sins. Organic food may not always look ‘perfect’ because it is naturally, perfectly imperfect in appearance. We need to change the way shoppers think about the ‘look’ of their food versus the nutritional virtues of the food.
For these farmer’s working the land, there’s more to it than simply the science of building up the structure and health of soil. It’s the big-picture aspect of stewardship of the land over time – making sure that soil is better after each crop, growing good quality, clean produce – establishing a sustainable farming practice that can be handed down to future generations.
When farmers align with the principles of regenerative agriculture, they find themselves aligning with a true purpose of being a farmer; they begin to give back to the land, as they also take from the land – it’s a much more symbiotic relationship with the earth, rather than that of just consumptive and exploitative.
Australia has the largest certifiable organic land mass in the world, we have the capability to produce all our food organically if required. We certainly have the intelligence, drive and aptitude within our farming industry to make Australia a world leader in the practice of regenerative agriculture.