Organic Gardening , growing food with love and respect for the environment, dates back further than the history of writing. Once the different cultures of the world became agrarian, they began to settle and accumulate wealth. This wealth took on differing forms, and today, much of this wealth supports entire sections of our society.
Running through this history is the legacy of growing food organically. This legacy is extremely old, sustainable and healthy. It is based on living with biodiversity, water conservation and practical plant breeding and cultivation. Scientific knowledge has enhanced Organic Growing on many levels, however, it has also unwittingly caused the demise of much organic growing throughout the world.
I have just been for a short journey up to the Beechmont Plateau (Mt Warning Caldera Region), in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, Queensland. There are quite a few Organic Growers around Beechmont, and in the surrounding area.The Beech Mountain General Store has a nice range of Quality Organic food, and dotted along the roadside are a number of produce outlets. Some practice Permaculture principles, some simple organics, some sell the food to the public on the Beechmont Plateau and others grow and collect seed for the industry.
PK on his way to the Beechmont Markets – across roadways, fences, cleared land and new developments – he finally makes it!!!
The organics industry is not only for food. It is also for textiles, beauty products, herbs and medicines, fodder crops, land restoration and habitat management to mention a few things.
Back in the 1980′s, I was lucky enought to meet with the Brisbane Organic Growers. Their founding members were an inspiration to me, full of knowledge, sharing and practical stories. Before, and since that time, many other organic groups have started up. About the same time, I started meeting permaculture enthusiasts and bio-dynamic growers. All growers echoed similar principles of respect, love and natural increase for the land they worked with. Permaculture offers a wider range of sustainable options to just organic growing -Permaculture is about sustainable lifestyle and much much more.
From then, I have watched the evolution of the Organic Standards across Australia, the melding into mainstream society of organic growing and the contrasting, very mainstream “traditional growing” of the Agricultural Chemical Industry, high energy input, monoculture, water intensive farming practices that still make up the mainstay of Australian agricultural and horticultural industries.
The more natural, time proven method of growing “organically” helps create more life force in the biosphere, by building up the soil and it’s humus, the natural systems about the growing area and keeping networked people close in the natural system.
The less natural method – by far the most common type practiced in Australia, helps destroy the life force in the biosphere, based on extensive machinery cultivation, soil destruction, weed & pest chemical warfare, genetic modification and alientation from the smaller natural systems closeby.
It is easy to be trapped by the latter system – decades of education have sustained it. Easy wealth and pride have championed it. Science has condoned it and further been made rich by it. There are many farmers (corporate, community, family, individual and small scale) who are trapped by it’s methods, beliefs, quick fix mentality and prestige.
It is not hard to change from one method to the other. Nature backs the organic way. Nature leads us back to the organic way. Urbanised social systems and leaders (economics etc)back the other way. Now, I know who I would put my money on, in this regard.
Yes, I would back nature over urbanised social economics any day for best practice sustainable outcomes. There is a growing population of people supporting Organics and the Industries that support Organic Farming.
Each time you buy a spray, run a machine, over irrigate, and consume, consume, you are eating away at nature:-
- by subsidising chemical companies and their stranglehold on non biodiverse seed crops:
- by subsidising a petrochemical industry that has a history of environmental degradation that is almost unsurpassed;
- by using water that is stored and diverted for irrigation purposes, thus justifying more and more large dams;
- by giving your money and power to giant industries that control genetic manipulation, you support constant release of new and often dangerous new chemicals into the food chains of earth;
These above practices are furthering the myth of prestige through large industry, machine and landholdings.
You are, in short, giving your money to the people who are not very well educated in sustainable ways and land custodianship, and expecting them to take care of you, in return.
With organics, you are subsidising nature, often subsiding local community, creating a healthier planet and showing by example that it can be done this way. You are helping nature in growing the biosphere.
Now, don’t get me wrong – Science has alot to offer – valuable learnings, recipes, methods, machines : HOWEVER……..I shall back nature over the monocultured/genetically modified/irrigation , chemical and machine intensive system any day!
Some useful LINKS:
Seed Savers Network
Select Organic – seeds for home gardeners
Organic Food Directory : Regional Organic Groups
Gold Coast Organic Farmers Market : location, times, articles, information
Threeworlds Organic Pizza Mermaid Beach Gold Coast, Qld Australia
Biological Farmers of Australia – Australia’s largest representative Organic Body: increasing consumer awareness of organic food and supporting growth of local food economies
Demeter Bio-Dynamic Agriculture in Australia -
- The Bio-Dynamic Agricultural Association of Australia (BDAAA) : farmer based advisory organisation for commercial producers
- The Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI) : Organic and Bio-Dynamic Certification Organisation responsible for the DEMETER Trademark (Australian Accredited).
- Biodynamic Marketing Co. Ltd. (BDMC) : Distributes Bio-Dynamic produce to Australian consumers and facilitates export
National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia -Australian and International Organic Certifier : resources, networks, links, steps to organic certification
Organic Research Group -Links for Organic Research ( University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia)
Organic Growers of Australia - links and more
You Pick It – Farms & Roadside stalls at Organic Food Directory – Australia – find food by location, learn more about Organics and reasons to become Organic or support the Organic Industry
EcoDirectory : food, farming, blogging, organics and alot more
USA : National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service : Market Gardening – A Start Up Guide . Although in USA, this site still offers relevent info for starting up a market garden
Finding a market in Mt Warning Caldera Region (NE NSW & SE QLD) : you can try some of the following links to locate a market in this region-
Qld Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries
NSW Department of Primary Industries and Associated Agencies