Organic Insights Magazine - Spring 2023



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LOCAL, FRESH, ORGANIC, SUSTAINABLE 6 16 4 23 OUT AND ABOUT CELEBRATING MES SAGE FROM THE CHA IR DISPELLING THE MYTHS OF “GREEN WASHING” The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) have announced a review of “greenwashing” claims by superannuation and investment companies, with the purpose of improving governance and accountability of environmental claims. Greenwashing is the practice of making and misleading claims, and that company’s should ensure their disclosure around 25




Tim Marshall / NASAA Organic Chair

a product, policy, or service appear to be more environmentally friendly or less environmentally damaging than it really is. The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) surveyed consumers, revealing that 86 per cent of Australians expect their superannuation or other investments to be invested responsibly and ethically. These investors are motivated by personal values, but 62 per cent of those surveyed also believe that ethical or responsible super funds perform better in the long term. Managed investment and superannuation funds have responded by offering investment products that claim to target environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations. (Previous Chair’s reports in Organic Insights have described ESG). ASIC have taken legal action against Mercer Super for its ‘misleading’ Sustainable Plus fund, which claimed to exclude fossil fuel companies, but continued to invest in traditional energy, coal mining and resources interests. ASIC reminded Boards that The Corporations Act contains penalties for false

environmental risks and opportunities of their products to accurately reflect ESG investment practice. In October/November 2022 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also conducted an internet sweep of environmental and sustainability marketing claims, finding that 57 per cent of 247 business viewed had made concerning claims about their environmental credentials. The highest proportion of concerning claims were in the cosmetic, clothing, footwear, and food and drink sectors. Speaking to The Financial Review, ACCC ever, making purchasing decisions on environmental grounds. Unfortunately, it appears that rather than making legitimate changes to their practices and procedures, some businesses are relying on false or misleading claims. This conduct harms not only consumers, but also those businesses Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said, “Consumers are now, more than

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taking genuine steps to implement more sustainable practices.” “Businesses using broad claims like ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘green’, or ‘sustainable’ are obliged to back up these claims through reliable scientific reports, transparent supply chain information, reputable third- party certification or other forms of evidence.” In PKN Packaging News, Ms Lowe said that the ACCC had several active investigations underway resulting from the sweep and “We will take enforcement action where it is appropriate to do so as it is critical that consumer trust in green claims is not undermined.” In its assessment, the ACCC identified the widespread, indiscriminate use of certification trademarks and the term ‘certified’, sometimes with no clear measure of the robustness of the underpinning certification scheme – claims can be misleading in their application to product, product range, or company, and some businesses are even creating their own certification schemes. The proliferation in use of certification trademarks means that they are becoming increasingly meaningless in terms of assisting consumer choice. The ACCC’s publication ‘Green Marketing and the Australian Consumer Law’ guide is designed to educate businesses about their obligations under the law. The ACCC’s position is clear, in that companies that make claims to sustainable, environmental, green credentials, must ensure that the substance of these claims is ‘scientifically sound and appropriately substantiated’ i.e., are truthful. Third party certifications Organic certification is a third-party process, that is, it is independent of the producer/grower (first party) or downstream organisations, such as traders, or even professional organisations (second parties). Third party certification relies upon verification of claims by independent organisations and is therefore considered by consumer organisations and government to be more reliable. Each participant in the process, such as the organic inspector, is bound by rules that include confidentiality and impartiality. For export purposes, Australian certification bodies must be accredited by the Australian Government according to National Standard and subject to the Administrative Arrangements (AAs), a document produced by DAFF and based on ISO 17065 Guide for certification bodies that is universally applied to organic certification around the world. NCO is also accredited by the International Organic Accreditation Service (IOAS), an independent non-profit organisation founded by IFOAM. The European experience – Organic speaking up IFOAM Organics Europe made headlines in January, launching a lawsuit against the French agency for ecological transition, and developers and users of the ‘Eco-score’ sustainability labelling initiative, which is based on the European Commission’s Product

Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology. Eco- score was developed in 2021 as a front of pack label that provides a colour coded assessment from A to E of the total environmental impact of a product, similar to Australian Energy Star Rating on consumer whitegoods. In launching the lawsuit, IFOAM Organics Europe claims that the term ‘Eco’ is synonymous with organic, and that Eco-Score will cause consumer confusion. In addition, the lawsuit challenges the underpinning methodology for the PEF and Eco-score that is believed to be misleading; is insufficiently broad enough and may in fact penalise some organic producers in favour of more intensive food production. IFOAM cites the example of eggs from hens in cages scoring better than free-range eggs, which in turn score better than organic eggs. The lawsuit follows warnings from 14 NGOs that the PEF effectively legitimises greenwashing. Eric Gall, deputy director of IFOAM Organics Europe said that “Consumers who see organic products with a bad eco- score grade will be confused or think that organic is bad for the environment.” In its policy position paper on sustainability labelling, IFOAM identifies that 87% of EU citizens agree that there should be stricter rules when calculating environmental impact and related claims. IFOAM introduced its own ‘Planet-score’ system in 2022, partly based on the PEF, but considered broader performance on pesticides, biodiversity and climate impacts and a separate animal welfare score, to define sustainability. The scheme has been used by 180 companies across 20,000 products in 11 countries to date. The IFOAM case is set to test the basis upon which products in the EU are to be assessed as legitimately meeting ‘environmental’ standards, now and into the future. The Australian situation Australian primary producers (farmers, fishers and foresters) can display an amazing almost 200 environmental and social certification marks on their product. Some of these are reliable, but some lack suitable evidence. Claims around carbon accounting have come under particular scrutiny in past months. At least one company in Australia is certifying organic produce according to the AS6000 and is not one of the six accredited companies listed on the DAFF website. Major organic industry organisations know very little about this company, and they have declined to answer my emails and phone calls. The AS6000 can be used by Australian courts and the ACCC, but there is no specific budget for market surveillance, or clear, simple pathway for dealing with fraud. At the launch of the National Standard (NS) by government, in 1992, it was widely assumed by everyone, including Simon Crean (Minister for Agriculture at the time) that the NS would be adopted

Organic Insights / Spring 2023 / 3

for domestic use, but there is still no domestic regulation today.

The AS6000 can be used by Australian courts and the ACCC, but there is no specific budget outlined for market surveillance, or clear, simple pathway for dealing with fraud. Australia urgently needs domestic regulation for organic, to achieve better control of “organic” claims. Businesses in Australia can currently use the wording “organic” and brand their products as such, but without an independent certification body to inspect and monitor business practices, non-compliant use of herbicides and fungicides could have been used. The National Standard controls use of the words ‘organic’, ‘biodynamic’, or words of similar intent’, and for this reason, if adopted in Australia, it would restrict the use of these words, leading consumers to look for labelling with “certified organic” and a mark to verify the integrity of the product. If an organic certification mark is not branded on a product, it is “buyer beware” as it may not be truly organic. NASAA Organic takes the issues of misleading labelling and marketing seriously in both domestic and international contexts and have become the first ANTI FRAUD Organic Trade Association Supporting Partner outside of USA and EU. We are committed to supporting organic certified operations and future certified operations in complying to the new USDA SOE requirements. Further Information IFOAMEU_policy_position-paper_sustainability- labelling_202209.pdf?dd warns-against-greenwashing/ IFOAMEU_policy_position-paper_sustainability- labelling_202209.pdf?dd dispute-boils-over-as-ifoam-takes-legal-action-against- misleading-and-unfair-eco-score.html Findings of the ACCC’s internet sweep of environmental claims can be found here: businesses%20in%20Australia.pdf

TimMarshall NASAA Chair

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Declaring that he “was going to make an organic farm”, Adrian Strachan walked out of an Industrial Design course at college in the 70’s and never looked back. “I liked making stuff, designing stuff, but dreamt of building a farm that was integrated with the surrounding ecology,” he says. This yearning was partly influenced by a childhood surrounded by market gardens on the river flats of Paradise, in what is now suburban Adelaide. Early work experience on an organic orange farm in the Torrens Valley provided an awakening interest; while a later career job with stock agent Bennett and Fisher enabled him to observe a number of different farming systems. But it was visiting the then ‘hippy’ areas in Northern NSWwhere multiple occupancy (MO) bush building blocks in rich farming country were selling for as little as $1,000 that really got Adrian started. “It was totally inspiring, the community, seeing the houses that were built from salvage, frommud brick, stone and timber - and some good growing practices,” he says. “My conversion was total; I was going to do it!” So began Adrian’s search for the right farm property; a difficult journey which took 3 successive attempts. “My first block inWillunga was billy goat country,” says Adrian and, after surviving an accident, he realised that the hills were just too hard. “I then bought a property in McLaren Vale, and built up a herb farm and nursery called Yakatoon Herbs. It was where I first started growing stuff to sell.” “During this time, I met and married my lovely wife Robin and later had two children, Tasman and Mollie.”

After 7 years, the couple sold up after finding themselves the target of some pointed harassment, which culminated in several thefts from the block, including tools and equipment. “I was receiving constant cynicism and bullying from all types of people who ‘knew best’, but surprisingly it was the ‘alternative lifestylers’ who were worst,” says Adrian. It was then that the family moved to their current property in Sellicks Hill. “During the late-80’s, a number of almond blocks were being let go in the area,” he says. Most were replanted to grapes. By the mid-90’s, the wine industry was experiencing a renaissance in the district after the great vine pull scheme of the 80’s. The move marked Adrian’s decision to focus on mainstream crops to grow organically. “I knew if this was successful, that it would surely help the relevance of biological farming,” he says. “We had bumper almond crops in the first years, but many of the trees had Phytophthora, a fungal root disease which caused a rapid decline after ceasing herbicide use. So, we started replanting more and more young trees.” Rows of olive trees (Kalamata, Koroneiki and Frantoio) were also planted, that are now processed in the purpose built olive shed on farm for sale as table olives and olive oil, direct through a network of wholesalers and retailers. “We’ve been lucky with the olives; we had a number of Italian and Greek guys who helped, we were

welcomed into families, and were proudly shown their management methods; and we hadWWOOFers on the farm for 10-15 years before the visa legislation changed.” Adrian also did a lot of research and participated in olive seminars, including hosting on the farm. Celebrating 30 years of treading an alternative path WILLUNGA HILLS ORGANIC – ADRIAN AND ROBIN STRACHAN

Louis Hoang / Unsplash

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“All stages of my farming approach I could compare to existing methodology and equipment to adopt, adapt or abandon to suit a wholistic biological farming approach,” he says. He was (and is) an avid reader, calling Masonobu Fukuoka’s “The one-straw revolution” his bible, and pointing to organic gardening books by Samuel Ogden, Peter Bennet, PA Yeomans; specific herb growing books by M Grieve and Ludo Chardenon, and other seminal books by Rachel Carson, Peter Andrews, Bruce Pascoe,

Charles Massey as inspiration. He has also kept up with various magazines and papers like Grass Roots, Earth Garden and Acres. “These days there is a real momentum, with goodwill and positivity, as the scale of [organic] production and use has really pervaded the mainstream food supply,” he says. Adrian points to the danger of being suddenly ‘in’, however, believing that many are using organic as a marketing tool, with little regard for the principles. “Some are doing the bare minimum

When organic certification came in about the early 80’s, I was keen to seeNASAA come in as a regulator with a good charter

In addition to almonds and olives, 9 acres of the farm is devoted to Shiraz grapes, delivered direct to Yalumba winery for one of their organic lines. To increase biodiversity, thicket forming hedgerows were planted around the farm and have matured into a thriving native ecology that integrates with the farm ecosystem. “It [organic] was new on the radar

required without really being converted or committed.” He says also that most consumers haven’t read the Standards and glaze over when it’s explained. “Apparently, some people still believe the Earth is flat and its many resources are made for the use of humans as quickly as possible,” he says. “Some believe organic is great and we should all wear beanies.” He says there is a huge increase in farmers becoming certified. “When organic certification came in about the early 80’s, I was keen to see NASAA come in as a regulator with a good charter,” he says. “There was a near end to overnight ‘organic’ crops and inspections and records became the norm.” Adrian believes that organic certification provides “a set of rules that will make a difference if the farmers of all nations want to improve the current dire condition of our trajectory and the ecology of our planet.” “To me, organic means ‘biologically integrated agriculture’ and simply, ‘humanity’, “he says.

at the time,” says Adrian, reflecting on the early years. “I was seen as a pariah at the time, like I was betraying farming,” he says. “I still am to this day,” laughs Adrian, “but for being a non-conformist now.” Adrian says he is very thankful to his wife Robin who “helped me ignore the bullies, the cynics and the socialites and keep focused on purpose, the principles and doing the job at hand as well as possible.” Robin went to work when the children were a bit older and while the family cottage was being completed. She continues to do the farm books and manage certification records and inspections. With a lack of support and information, Adrian became part of a group that secured the backing of the State Department of Agriculture underpinning the formation of the Biodynamic and Organic Agricultural Bureau (BOAB), a grassroots grower group of which he was a Founding member. Surprisingly, Adrian says that a primary inspiration has been the many capable ‘conventional’ farmers with their individual fine tuning of methods, equipment and crops that have put Australia on the map as “competent, ingenious, world-class farmers.”

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CACreative / Unsplash

Adelaide’s Finest Supermarkets, Frewville and Pasadena Foodland, have built a reputation as a leader in the grocery industry – supporting local producers, and placing sustainability at the core of its operations. The retailer continues to demonstrate its efforts across the group’s 2 stores, in Frewville and Pasadena.

commitment to improving performance, with the release of a formal Sustainability Plan that defines priorities in three key areas: Planet, Products and People. The company has also recruited a dedicated Sustainability Officer, Brian Johnston, to drive the company’s programs and help meet targets. Brian is well known in the waste management industry in South Australia, having previously worked with KESAB and BioBag Australia, and as the local Branch Support Officer for the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR). During his time with KESAB, Brian was aware of the development of the Sustainability Plan and was ready to ‘hit the ground running’ in what he describes as a ‘greenfields’ role. Brian’s job is to identify and drive all aspects of Adelaide’s Finest Supermarket’s sustainability

“This can include involvement in anything from product sourcing, to in-house presentation and packaging, consumer education, energy use and the management of waste,” he says. “My job is to work with the leadership team, to support departmental heads and key stakeholders across the group; to identify, encourage and promote whole-of-store sustainability initiatives.” Foodland’s Sustainability Plan includes a target of 75% of waste diversion from landfill, a move to 100% renewable energy use and a 20% reduction in water use. Food waste across the stores is currently diverted to Food Rescue and OzHarvest, and to composting facility, Jeffries for manufacture in their Jeffries Special Soil product.

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Brian is also looking at ways to further ‘productise’ food that is being currently lost or wasted along the supply chain, for sale in store; as well as promoting good practice in the home. “We ran an initiative in store, for example, of making passata from organic tomatoes from Eldridge Farms,” he says [The event included a guest appearance from our own food contributor, Mandy Hall]. “Tomatoes are a fresh produce item that is in over-supply seasonally and when we have more of something than we can use it can often go to waste, and if we sauce them, it doesn’t. It was a lot of fun, and it got lots of people talking about the passata recipes that they have.” Brian is working with Tandem Energy to ensure that energy requirements across stores are met with 100% renewable sources, as well as educating staff on behaviours to conserve energy and water use. “Part of my role is educating our staff, which can be difficult with 600 employees across the

group, and with a highly casualised workforce,” says Brian. Adelaide’s Finest Supermarkets has been well ahead of the State Government’s plastics ban [see Breakout] and has a target to ensure that all in-store packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable. The retailer was the first to introduce fully compostable fresh fruit and vegetable bags in 2020. “We’ve also introduced some exciting new products that support a circular economy,” says Brian. “We’ve also sourced a range of homewares, for example, from a small manufacturer in Robe [transmutation]. It’s the only example of product made from 100% repurposed expanded polystyrene.” Brian aims to increase activations with consumers, with in-store tours and restaurant experiences providing a platform for education on sustainable practices.

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Innovative Green Hub development places sustainability at its core

With the prevalence of greenwashing claims, being honest and transparent with customers is critically important, according to Brian. “We plan to develop a public dashboard that will measure our progress against Plan targets, to provide transparency and drive progressive improvement.” He says that the reaction from customers has been positive to the Plan and initiatives run in store.

Adelaide’s Finest Supermarkets were part of a successful consortium who have been appointed to develop a prominent, disused parcel of land in the inner south- west of Adelaide (Forestville) as an innovative, food-oriented, Green Hub. The development will feature mixed residential and commercial development to a minimum 5 Star Green Star rating,

“It’s what customers expect of us, it’s giving people what they want, and it’s been really well received.”


with centrepiece Locale store, cafes and eateries; a Green Urban School, where students will learn about sustainable food production, a rooftop urban farm, and market square. An allocation of 30% for open and green space is included in the development. Brian is part of the environmentally sustainable design team supporting the development and is looking at ways to integrate sustainability programs within the community precinct, including identifying potential employment opportunities that support a circular economy. “Forestville will be a culmination of all of the great work that has been done at Adelaide’s Finest Supermarkets so far, and the opportunity to take it to a new level,” says Brian.


institutions – with the merger of Australia’s longest standing certified organic retailer, Central Organic, and wholefoods retailer, House of Health, creating a holistic and unique customer shopping experience.

Further Information Find out more about Adelaide’s Finest Supermarket’s Sustainability Plan.

The Norwood store opened in December 2022 and continues the legacy of the market presence, with an expanded footprint offering more products, a café with ready-made offerings, and a community wellness space. The store offers an increased range of organic, plant based and gluten free options (some 5,000 product lines), with additional wellness and lifestyle products. The fresh fruit and vegetable produce stocked is 100% certified organic. Co-owner Chester Frank says the issue of greenwashing is “huge” and becoming more and more prevalent with the “majors swamping into the ranges that we have. Terms like natural, eco-friendly, compostable – it’s confusing.”

“The difference in a major is that it is the product that carries the message; for us, it’s the education and story behind the product,” he says. “We are big on the provenance and the origin of food, and organic is one of the best regulated, as we have full pedigree and traceability through certification.” “As part of our induction process, we train all new staff on what certification means, the difference between organic and non-organic.

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South Australia Plastic Free! South Australia continues to lead the nation in the phase-out of single use plastic. The State’s Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020 represents the first legislation of its kind in Australia. Under the Act, the Government is implementing a phased plan of banning common single use plastic items – with time frames supporting a switchover to recyclable and compostable alternatives, and the development of sustainable alternatives. Already, the State has seen bans on single-use plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers, expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates, clamshell containers, and oxo-degradable plastic products. Further bans on the use of plastic will be implemented throughout 2023 to 2025. This will include a variety of plastic items, such as stemmed cotton buds, single-use bowls and plates, pizza savers, produce bags, single-use beverage containers, EPS trays used for meat, fruit and other food items, confetti, bread tags, fruit stickers, and soy sauce fish containers. Say goodbye to plastic!

“More generally, [in combating greenwashing] we use our socials to talk to customers and educate about what we are actually achieving.” “Building trust for customers is huge for us and ensuring that products we carry do not mislead or deceive customers is of high importance.” House of Health Collective has implemented an efficient waste diversion program and enjoys solar energy use at its Central Markets stall, as part of a wider City of Adelaide initiative and is also looking into further opportunities for the Norwood location. The retailer has been at the forefront of plastic reduction for many years and has been recognised by the South Australian Government as a ‘Plastic Free Champion’ for its commitment to sustainable packaging options. Along with supplying a huge range of plastic free bulk wholefoods, “we’ve introduced compostable bags, glass containers, and compostable pre-pack options that allow us to pack down bulk items in an environmentally friendly way,” says Chester. “Bulk food options not only allow us to tread more lightly on the planet, but also provide a more accessible product to the customer, allowing them to purchase only what they need, at a reasonable price.” Customers are also encouraged to bring their own reusable containers. “For us, getting the industry, our suppliers to catch up is an issue…as a cog in a system of other cogs, you can only influence so much,” says Chester. “We can’t control what comes in, but we do look to influence suppliers to reduce their own plastic use. We had one supplier [for example] initially supplying 1kg bags of coffee, who is now supplying 10kg pails with a swap system. Organic produce suppliers like Ngeringa and Bio-Park provide produce in returnable crates,” he says. “There are some relics in the industry, however… but they are coming around, there is a new generation, it’s really about time and education.” NASAA was fortunate to attend the launch of the Norwood store back in March, which was opened by the Hon Andrea Michaels MP, Minister for Small and Family Business. Further Information

Lucrezia Carmelos / Unsplash


If you are interested in becoming a Certfied Organic Inspector and want a career in one of the fastest growing industries in the world- then the NASAA Inspector theory training course is for you! This service puts you on the farm, in the supply chain for processing and provides a valuable service to passionate people who care about growing, manufacturing and providing products with values and ethics.

The domestic and international certified organic industry has seen year on year growth, and continues to provide substantial opportunities in the agribusiness sector for new markets and diversification opportunities. As part of this industry growth, there is a growing service sector in provision of certification services to our agribusinesss sector. This on-demand, online course is designed to provide an introduction to potential NASAA Certified Organic inspectors (NCO); by providing you with what is expected of an Organic inspector, the fundamental of organic production practices, and an understanding of the inspection process to conduct onsite inspections of organic crops and livestock, processors input manufacturers and handling operations.

This course is for:

• Those wanting to become an Certified Organic Inspector • Current Organic food producers or processors or those in conversion seeking a deeper understanding of the standards and inpection process • Agriculture professionals, Quality assurance consultants • Those wishing to enter into certified organic farming, processing or related industries. • Learn about The Organic Industry & Certification Overview • Understand the Role and Responsibilities of the Organic Inspector • How to Plan and Conduct Organic Inspections • Develop a clear understanding of Audit trails and Record-Keeping • The importance of reporting for Organic Inspections All course material is provided online here including manuals and recorded lessons. Multiple assessments will need to be completed to obtain the Certificate of Achievement. Cost: $1100AUD inclusive of GST, including all training materials, access to videos, and marking of assessments to achieve the Certificate of Achievement. Completion of the course does not guarantee paid work with NCO, but will give you the theory fundamentals of becoming an NCO Inspector. In addition to this course, you will be required to attend and conduct several inspections with a senior inspector until you are assessed as competent to inspect on your own. There is also additional online training required for any inspectors who are contracted to NCO for international programs such as USDA NOP and JAS.

In this course, youwill:

Course Material:

Please contact the NASAA Organic office on (08) 7231 7700 for more information.

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INOFO would like to acknowledge the support that its Council Members have received from Andreas Hermes Akademie who have been instrumental in INOFO formalising the organisation, from a loosely connected network, to a farmer organisation platform with a vision, mission, and a strategy within the IFOAM Organics International Network. Since the association with Andreas Hermes Akademie, INOFO has been able to consult, debate and align our organisation as an integrated participatory organisation within a structured process. Furthermore, the understanding of how INOFO positions, relates and functions within the IFOAM Network and INOFO’s operational ecosystem is an ongoing process of our organisational development. INOFO also wishes to acknowledge that the IFOAM Network is fully supportive of our self-organised development and our growing contribution, participation, and value in the overall network development. After all, farmers are the heart of the organic movement and therefore it is a crucial necessity for the network to have strong and united farmer representatives. Finally, but not least, INOFO appreciates the voluntary resources deployed by its Convenors and Organic Farmer Organisations to building our organisation and ensuring that the farmers speak for themselves and are heard. RA I S ING THE VOICE OF ORGANIC FARMERS GLOBALLY The Intercontinental Netwo k of Organic Farm rs Organisations (INOFO) is a sub-group of IFOAM Organics International designed to represent organic producers globally; to ‘ensure that farmers speak for themselves and are heard’. INOFO was founded in 2008 as a self-organised farmer sector platform within the IFOAM Organics International Network. There are now 6 regions spanni g all continen s where INOFO ha active membership. farmer herself) says that when she joined INOFO in 2014 at the time of the Organic World Congress in Istanbul, it was obvious that there was a lack of representation of farmers, with attendees being mostly businessman, traders and certificatio people. “[At the time] my mentor Dr Claude Alvares, then Director of OFAI (Organic Farmers INOFO strategic plan R-L: ShamikaMone – INOFOWorld Board – President and IFOAM World Board; KarenMapusua – IFOAMWorld Board – President; ThalesMendonça – INOFOWorld BoardGlobal R latio ship; Julie Matovu – INOFOUganda Convener; Daniel Wanjama – INOFO World BoardVice President; CharlesMubanga – SouthernAfrica Convener; Gerald A. Herrmann –Director Organic Services Germany; Nana Adams – INOFOWest Africa Convener; Choitresh Ganguly – IFOAMWorld Board; CarolinMoeller – INOFOGlobal Support; Miss Sarah Jensen –GIZ Germany



2021-2027 (TWO TERM)

INOFO has a vision, mission, and a strategy to seek influence to gain recognition and visibility for organic farmers’ organisations throughout the World. It has a farmer-centric focus on: • Advocacy • Knowledge Sharing and Training • Leadership and Capacity building; and • Organisational Development & Governance INOFO released a Strategic Plan back in February to guide the group’s priorities to 2027 around these 4 key focus areas. The Plan includes actions to share farming best practice, participate in broader agro-ecological systems, build relationships with non-organic stakeholders to ‘mainstream’ organic, provide high level government advocacy, develop farmer skills in representation, and provide training and mentoring. Several thematic topics are also outlined in the plan, including food and nutritional security, climate resilient farming, gender empowerment, youth engagement, family farms, and market access and value chains. Shamika Mone (INOFO’s President and member of the IFOAMWorld Board, and a

Association of India) wanted the world to know that organic farmers are doing great work on their farms and the whole world should see them. He wanted the Organic World Congress to come to India, which it did in 2017.” It was Dr Alvares that encouraged Shamika to step into INOFO and it was Anton Pinschof, Ex President of INOFO, who inspired her to contribute to the development of INOFO. The idea was not new, with many contributors to IFOAM (including Australia’s Andre Leu) advocating the need for greater farmer representation over the years. Some of these people were instrumental in obtaining a small grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 2014 to mobilise a capacity building program for INOFO. This resulted in 3 workshops held in Asia, Africa and Latin America to consolidate a network of Organic Farmers Organisations with a young leadership. In addition to regular online monthly meetings, all convenors would meet physically at the INOFO General Assembly which took place every 3 years after the IFOAM Organic World Congress. During the last GA in 2021, during covid times, we

Organic Insights / Spring 2023 / 13

had 6 GA in the 6 Regions and one Global GA, all online. The Organogramwas approved at the GA 2021, where it was defined to have 3 convenors nominated to represent farmers in each of the 6 regions – Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, Latin America and Oceania Pacifika making a total of 18 convenors. In 2018 further support was provided by the Andreas Hermes Academy (AHA), a German

organisation that supports the organisational development of farmer organisations, who helped develop the vision and mission for INOFO and subsequent Strategic Plan. With the release of the Plan, Shamika says that the “structure is now there, the communication channels are getting established, and we are identifying resources to be sustainable and support implementation.” Communication of the Plan is vital in developing understanding among farmer members, according to Shamika. “Different regions are at different levels of understanding; Some regions are struggling with the language, so work is being done to communicate the intent of the Plan,” she says. Shamika says that different regions will also have different priorities in the Plan, as some regions have said that all 4 areas are important, while others will be focusing on only one area. “Asia wants to focus on all 4 areas and all 4 areas are important to us, [but] as a new region Oceania Pacifika [including Australia] only wants to focus on Knowledge Sharing for now,” she says. For this reason, the Plan is still a draft, a guidance document, until it is to be formally ratified at next year’s INOFO General Assembly. This will occur in Tunisia 2024, where dates are yet to be finalised. The group has made steps toward greater involvement in established farmer networks and organisation initiatives worldwide, providing a voice for organic farming. INOFO is a Global Steering Committee member and after decentralisation in 2016, remained as such a member of the IFAD Farmers Forum (FAFO), where INOFO Council members participated in Farmers Forum (FAFO) events. These events have been hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and held throughout the World, with the last regional events held in Montevideo and Panama (representing South and Central America and the Caribbean). INOFO continues to represent the need to increase efforts to promote organic practices in IFAD’s programs and projects. “Not just in India, but globally, people should know that organic farmers exist and are doing great work on ground,” says Shamika.

oceania pacifika

Recognising the critical value of organic farmer representation globally, Carolin Möller, Manager – Business Development, Projects, Operations was involved in the development of the Plan and is formally dedicated to providing executive support for INOFO, to assist the group in building capacity and executing the plan. Carolin is also the nominated country convenor for Oceania Pacifika who became the last region to officially join INOFO in 2021, represented by three conveners. In line with the INOFO Strategic Plan, INOFO Oceania Pasifika focuses on the knowledge exchange of its members adapted to their unique region. Mr Stephen Hazelman from Poetcom is the convener for Pacific Islands while also being on the board of INOFO and IFOAM PGS. Stephen is supported by two convenors from Australia and New Zealand. INOFO Oceania Pasifika is the only active IFOAM network in the region and highly supported by Karen Mapusua, IFOAM President. As Oceana Pasifika is a relatively new region, NASAA Organic would like to invite Organic Farmer Organisations to join our network and introduce farmers who may be interested in becoming an INOFO convener for this region. Further Information Access the INOFO Strategic Plan at inofo-global-strategic-plan

Next generation, iron-based, all-weather slug & snail bait that packs a punch in controlling slugs & snails but is gentle on the environment, crops & non-target organisms. IRONMAX Pro is the latest development in slug & snail control with technology for maximum

attractiveness, palatability & persistent control. Nil withholding period for grazing & harvest. Certified input for organic production.

Innovation. Quality. Solutions. ®IRONMAX Pro & Colzactive are registered trademarks of De Sangosse SA. 200511

Organic Insights / Spring 2023 / 15

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has moved to close existing loopholes in the National Organic Program (NOP) and increase surveillance in a crackdown on organic fraud. The Department has issued new guidelines for what amounts to the biggest changes in the NOP since they were first published in 1990. Amendments under the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) Rule will serve to uphold confidence in organic products, build consistent certification practices, and improve transparency and product traceability. Central to the changes is the requirement for exporters to develop an organic fraud prevention plan as part of their Organic System Plan (OSP). To assist compliance, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), which represents some 10,000 growers in the US, has developed a voluntary Organic Fraud Prevention Solutions training program, which includes a risk-based process for developing and implementing a fraud prevention plan. NASAA Organic is pleased to announce that we are the first Supporting Partner of the OTA’s anti-fraud program outside of the US and Europe. As an expert partner, we can provide advice to operators exporting to the US on completing the OTA’s online training, and in developing and evaluating their NASAA ORGANIC , NOW A SUPPORTING PARTNER OF THE OTA ORGANIC FRAUD PREVENTION PROGRAM

fraud prevention plan. Further information

We are committed to supporting our current and future certified operators to comply with the new requirements within the given timeline. Contact the NASAA Organic team on +61 8 7231 7700 or email

16 / Organic Insights / Spring 2023

youth perspectives are needed for industry SAGE LAWLESS

Engaging with younger consumers to promote the value of organic is vital to our future success. How best to do this was the subject of a research paper by post graduate student Sage Lawless, who worked with NASAA Organic over an internship period of 10 months to look at ways to increase youth engagement within the organisation, and the broader Australian organic industry. As part of her research, Sage consulted with the NASAA Organic executive and many industry stakeholders, including surveying participants at the Naturally Good Expo in 2022. She also looked at different models of youth involvement in other agricultural industries. Sage discovered, while young people between the ages of 20-39 represent a significant portion of Australian organic consumers, the values and beliefs of youth are consistently underrepresented in decision making within the industry. At the same time, her research indicates the strong benefit to industry that increased youth representation could bring – in resolving systemic diversity issues, creating better alignment with a new generation of savvy consumer, introducing new technologies and new ways of thinking, and in addressing a communications disconnect with the younger consumer. Sage’s report provides several insights into strategies that could be incorporated

to achieve this – with the suggested implementation of a Youth Advisory Board designed to address these issues and improve the effectiveness of communication with youth consumers. Sage discovered that there are mis­ conceptions with young people around the value of organic that the industry needs to address. “Having conversations with people my age stemming from the research – there is misunderstanding about the industry,” she says. “Some see organic as just a money-making thing; it’s clear there needs to be continued education on why organic is worthwhile and what it means.” “That it is really about making a difference.” Sage says her own perception of the industry has changed through working with NASAA Organic. “I’ve been interested in sustainable agriculture for many years, volunteering in environmental conservation with different groups…I was keen to learn more about organic,” she says. “It seemed a no-brainer and aligned with my values.” “I now have a huge appreciation for the industry and would like to work alongside these people.” “I have felt very welcomed and included.”

Organic Insights / Spring 2023 / 17

mandy hall

anytime is great to enjoy some beet borscht!


Borscht soup is a traditional Eastern European dish that is loved for its rich flavour and hearty texture. This unforgettable soup is typically made with beetroot, giving it a distinctive deep red colour, which is complimented with other ingredients like potatoes, carrots, cabbage and sometimes meat or sausage for those meatlovers!

The beets are definitely the star of the show in borscht soup though, as they provide the sweet and earthy flavour, which is complemented by the other vegetables and simple pantry seasonings. This delicious soup is often served with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh dill, which adds a creamy tanginess and brightness, as the dill provides that herbal note, taking it to another level of flavour. Borscht soup has a long history and cultural significance in countries like Ukraine and Poland, where it is often served as a main or entrée. This dish is also popular in Jewish cuisine, where it is sometimes made with meat and served on holidays like Passover. Whether you’re a fan of beets or just looking for a full flavoured soup, borscht is a dish that is worth trying. Its complex flavour and bright colour make it a stand out among other soups, and its cultural significance adds an extra layer of depth to the experience.

Ingredients 2 large beets, peeled & grated 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 litre chicken stock 1 cup water, plus

Method Peel, grate and/or slice/dice all vegetables including the beets, potatoes, carrots, celery and capsicum. Heat a large soup pot over medium/high heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add grated beets and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until beets are softened. Add the chicken stock, water, potatoes, carrots, bay leaf and salt & pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until soft. While the beets, potatoes and carrots are cooking, place a frypan over medium/ high heat and add 1 Tbsp oil. Add chopped onion, celery and capsicum. Sauté, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly golden, approx. 7-8 minutes. Transfer to the soup pot and continue cooking with the potatoes. When potatoes and carrots reach desired softness, add white vinegar, garlic, and dill. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, adding more salt or vinegar to taste and extra water, if needed, for desired consistency Serve whilst hot, with a hearty dollop of sour cream and extra chopped dill.

additional if needed 2 medium potatoes, peeled & sliced into bite-sized pieces 2 small carrots, peeled & thinly sliced 1 bay leaf Salt & pepper to season whilst cooking 2 celery sticks, finely chopped 1 small red capsicum, finely chopped 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 Tbsp white vinegar, or to taste 1 garlic clove, crushed 3 Tbsp chopped dill

Organic Insights / Spring 2023 / 19

As reporting requirements within the Modern Slavery Act 2018 move further down the supply chain and consumers demand nothing but transparency from their product, the adoption and promotion of fair on-farm employment practices is becoming more important for producers, employers and suppliers. Consumer expectations for fair and ethical labour in the horticulture industry

of them and to provide a pathway to a Fair Farms Certification, which is utilised by Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi to meet their ethical sourcing policies. SO, WHAT IS ‘MODERN SLAVERY’? The term ‘modern slavery’ covers situations of mistreatment, where a person cannot refuse or leave work due to threats, violence, coercion, deception, or abuse of power, and can include slavery, servitude, forced labour, debt bondage, and dishonest recruiting for labour or services. According to Australian Government Legislation, the Modern Slavery Act 2018 applies to modern slavery conduct that occurs in Australia and activity occurring overseas (which is reportable) if it may form part of your business supply chain. Fair Farms was established as a solution to the fair labour issues within the Australian horticulture industry – a pathway for our producers and suppliers to adhere to social compliance and provide evidence of their ethical labour practices through Fair Farms Certification. The Fair Farms Certification assists growers with social compliance while improving and promoting their fair work practices to employees, suppliers, and consumers. Industry examples include: • Fair Work Ombudsman fines farm employers more than $78,000 for breaching pay slips and record-keeping laws • Queensland labour-hire company faces court for alleged underpayment of 87 visa holders • Labour recruitment agencies confiscating the passports of migrant workers, forcing them to work and live in poor conditions. LEARN MORE… Learn more about the Fair Farms program and how you can become certified at HOW FAIR FARMS IS CULTIVATING FAIR WORKING PRACTICES TO COMBAT THIS

We explore what the definition of Modern Slavery is, why an understanding of this is so important for said producers, employers and suppliers, and how the certification and training available through Growcom’s Fair Farms Program can best place them for compliancy requirements. GROWING CONSUMER AWARENESS AND EXPECTATIONS Consumers today are more cautious, knowledgeable, and interested in their food and its origins than ever. So much so that satisfying the customer’s call for paddock-to-plate transparency and fair labour practices should be of significant importance. According to the 2022 Australian Consumer Environment, Social & Governance Issues (ESG) Report (Food & Grocery) , one of the most important factors impacting brand perception is ‘taking care of supplier welfare’, with the report citing brands with stronger consumer ESG credentials grow faster than brands perceived with less. Other findings from the report include: • 9/10 consumers expect brands to act responsibly when it comes to society and the environment. • 1 in 4 consumers say they’ve changed brands based on perceptions of the brand’s ESG. Ultimately, consumers demand to know more about what they consume, the requirement of confidence that their food and products meet high ethical standards now commonplace. A certification from Fair Farms assists in establishing and nurturing this confidence between fair labour practices, a producer and their brand. Fair Farms is an industry-led, national training and certification program that now plays a crucial role in ensuring quality working and living conditions and fair pay for employees in the horticulture industry. It provides training for employers unfamiliar with the Modern Slavery Act and Fair Work Act , to better understand what’s required

SachinAyachit, Fair FarmsNational ProgramManager

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