Organic Insights - Spring 2022

Organic Insights / Spring 2022 / 7

Family and Landcare local projects have helped to revegetate parts of the property over time, planting native shelterbelts. David has followed with interest, the work that Landcare and a couple of local secondary schoolteachers have been doing over past years in identifying remnant indigenous species in the area.

“What we do need, is independent scientists verifying practices.”

David sees certification as vital to operations, and highlights the importance of ongoing communication with the certifier, for advice on changes to standards and technical advice. “I think it’s a bit easier for farmers to get into organic these days,” he says. “With the Internet now, it’s easy to find lots of information on organic food growing, and there are more alternative [input] products being sold.” “There’s really no excuse,” he says.

“Out of 94 that we bred – one died, and 2 were sick,” says David. “Of 25 that we brought in, 16 died within the first 2 years and out of the 9 left, 3 were sick – a stock loss of nearly 50% at a cost of around $14,000!” he says. “Clearly, certified organic and bio-dynamic plant and animal live seedstock have natural innate immunity thriftiness and inherent parasite resistance, which also assist with antibodies and antioxidants, reducing pathogens that can cause ill health diseases.” The Vite Vite local area was originally the land inhabited by the Pakemeneck Balug clan of the Wadawurrung Wathaurong community, Aboriginal Australian people, who lived in the area before European Settlement. David says that by about the 1850’s, “sheep had been introduced to the Mount Vite area, the southern boundary of what was then, the historic Carranballac Squatter Station.” “The hard hooved sheep grazed out the indigenous myrnong yam daisies, wallaby and kangaroo grasslands, herbs, shrubs, young legume wattles, sheoaks, bursarias and gums.” By 1950, when David’s family bought the farm, it was treeless, except for a small, recently planted plot of sugar gums around the jackaroo’s cottage. David is passionate about the future being local. “We are seeing lots of large holdings and increasingly overseas ownership,” he says. “For our efficient, ethical and equitable future, our fresh nutritional food sustenance, and our local wellbeing - we need food and fibre grown locally by locals.” David believes this is particularly important with climate change, to stop what he sees as the inefficiencies of moving food around unnecessarily. He also sees the importance, and need for independent scientists and agronomists, offering their independent program directions.

/ Continued on page 8

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