To uphold our promise to provide clean, fresh and organic produce, we continue to believe that certification is essential in ensuring that the produce we sell has been grown in accordance with organic principles and our values.
To support the growth of organic farms in our region, and with full support from Australian Organic Limited, we are excited to welcome Certified Organic In-conversion produce to our Stores. In-conversion farms follow organic practices and are monitored by Australian certifying bodies from 2-3 years before becoming Certified Organic. However, these farms can struggle to find a market for their produce until they are fully certified which can lead to financial loss and the inability to complete the certification process.
We support existing Certified Organic farmers while also encouraging local farmers on the journey to full certification through our Tiered system:
- Tier 1 - Certified Organic - first preference
- Tier 2 - Certified Organic In-conversion - second preference and introduced only if Tier 1 produce is unavailable or availability is limited (not meeting demand)
As with Tier 1 produce, all certification documentation is collected prior to Tier 2 produce being stocked. Tier 2 produce is separated and clearly labelled as Certified Organic In-conversion within our produce areas and our team is trained to ensure correct handling and labelling of the two certification types.
In line with our aim to increase the number of organic farmers in the region, we are investigating support for in-conversion farms and those who wish to initiate the in-conversion process but who face obstacles in doing so.
Of $25,000 total funding, over half has been allocated to the recipients, and the remaining funds will be given in the subsequent stages of their conversion:
- Pepe Fassos of Five Sixty Farms in Lismore: Pepe produces microgreens and a range of annual vegetables.
- Dave Warne of Green Cauldron Farm in Tyalgum: Dave offers a fantastic range of annual vegetables.
- Tom and Nicole of Misty Creek Agroforestry in Booyong: Tom and Nicole farm with syntropic agroforestry to mimic the natural structure of the rainforest for food production.
- Andrew Cameron of Fig Rock Farm in Burringbar: Andrew is currently regenerating a large avocado orchard.
- Karen Gross of The Paddock in Mullumbimby: Karen uses syntropic farming, has market gardens, and offers NDIS programs on her inclusive farm.
- John Quayle of Maryfields Organic Farmstay: John has mango and pomegranate plantations, as well as Manuka honey.
- Simon Schaffer of Macaco Agroforestry in Wollongbar: Simon uses successional agroforestry to grow taro, cassava, bananas and pumpkin.
- Margi Carter: Margi has a fantastic range of fruit trees in her large orchard, on the outskirts of Mullumbimby.
In our effort to maximise supply from Northern Rivers farmers, we will continue to work with farmers and key stakeholders to find the best solutions to increase our supply of local produce grown using certified organic practices that will become sustainable not only for Santos Organics, but for the whole community! If you want to know more about this project, click HERE.