A war won or lost by health?

A war won or lost by health?

Have you felt weary the last few weeks?  As a conscious citizen, a local business owner, a producer – it has started to wear even our strong guards down.  When will this end?  How will this end?  And what does this mean for the future of our our families and the economic pain that is felt across the country currently.   To offer hope here are some key actions we can all take.

  • Care for your mental health
  • Connect with your fellow local producers
  • Forge a healthier future for your family
  • Enable organic food to pass the budget test
  • Care more about the environment and your food!

  • This week was RU Ok week.  A week to reflect on our mates, many who are isolated at this time.  Many that may not socialise or connect that much.  For some organic producers it can be isolating being one of only a few in each region.  Even more reason to reach out and make sure they’re  OK.  And if a friend needs a break, if they need a chat, or a hand in their business, offer some of your resources to lend a hand.

     

  • Organic producers are a robust bunch.  Loyal as they come.  Pioneers ahead of their time.  But the pandemic is having a unique and lasting impact on their businesses.  Like many others.  Many Farmers Markets are being closed at short notice.  Border closures have meant that some processing businesses cannot get their regular staff to work so are running on half a workforce.  And many producers that planned their crops this time last year did not envision that this pandemic would extend to what it has.  We need the community to get behind Australian Farmers.  We need your local IGA, your supermarket, your local Cooperative to support Australian Organic Farmers like never before.  Ask your local supermarket to stock local garlic instead of cheap imported garlic?  Encourage your local store to stock locally grown grains, instead of imported flour or oats from Finland (even if they are certified organic!)?  Now is the time to buy Australian.  There are many champion organic producers around the country, and if we don’t support these farmers in this time of need – they may not be here in a year’s time.  Australia has the most certified organic farmland of any country in the world, now over 39 million Hectares.  Yet many retailers and processors are importing organic food that competes with our Australian producers.  Get behind Australian organic dairy, meat, grain and horticulture producers.  Food security has never been more critical than right now in the daily choices we all make.

     

  • A pandemic.  Can it be a war won with health? 
    While we are talking about healthy food and ‘wellness’.  How is your wellness lately?  Is this pandemic a war on medicine, or a war won with better health?  Good food choices?  Better eating habits?  In years gone by families were supported with investment in time, slow food, made with healthy locally grown, seasonal vegetables and fruit.  Many having their own backyard gardens and healthy food.  Access to fresh healthy food in our hospitals can even be a complex task.  We need to act on better community wellness and be the shining light to the next generation in how we connect, appreciate and value our food. 

* Is healthy organic food expensive?  Or is industrial food just too cheap?  

What is the ‘true cost’ of healthy food?  Or the cost of unhealthy food in terms of long term sickness?  Organic food is closer to the ‘true cost’ of food production – the sad part is that the industrial food system has deceived us that industrial food is cheap, bulk and does no harm.  Harm to humans.  Harm to our health.  And harm to the environment in which it’s grown.  Investing into organic food is not about gourmet products.  It’s about avoiding the ‘Dirty Dozen’. It’s about investing in the type of farming that you want to feed your family.  Would you go camping in a cattle feedlot?  Or in the middle of a broccoli patch that is sprayed every few days?  Or eat flour that has been desiccated (sprayed) just days before harvest?  Every time we invest in healthier food, we are investing in a healthier planet, healthier farmers, and ultimately healthier food.

* And what about the environment in which our food is produced?

Have you considered the downstream externality cost of an industrial food system on the environment?  Where food is mass produced in monocrops.  That requires higher levels of toxic sprays due to the increasing pest and disease burden.  Higher levels of artificial nitrogen that over stimulate growth causing further health issues for the plant.  And lacking nutrient density as it’s force fed an unhealthy high ‘N’ diet.  Rather than naturally grown, and naturally fertilised organic food.  And where do all these toxins and artificial inputs end up?  In our water systems?  Have you wondered why we have such extreme levels of blue green algae?  Why the Great Barrier Reef is under such environmental pressure.  We only have one planet and without adjusting our food and farming choices – we are destroying our top soil and our planet quicker than we realise.

Some may say organic farming cannot feed the planet!  Ask the question – just how much land in Australia is wasted?  How much is not fully utilised, or multi-layered to produce more food and give better resilience to farm businesses.  Should Australia be focussed on growing more and more and more.  Or should we be considering growing healthier, more nutrient dense, more regenerative, less environmentally damaging and healthier food for our communities.  What if there is a peak oil limit and access to phosphorus or nitrogen in artificial forms becomes financially unsustainable in the next decade?  Perhaps now is the time to transition our thinking to regenerative farming systems that circulate our agricultural economy, including waste and nutrients and lessen farmers’ dependence on expensive unsustainable external inputs.  Organic and regenerative farmers are strategic masterminds.  They regenerate the land with minimal external resources.  They read their soil and meet the needs of the land.  Without a chemical bucket list.  And use their livestock and natural resources to grow nutrient dense food while regenerating the land.  How about you?

From Calvin – an organic grain producer from South West Victoria.  His deep concerns regarding the increasing COVID virus lockdowns, increasing levels of cancer and other serious health problems.  Plus the planetary boundaries and climate resilience.  See his reflections here….

I, along with others see the urgent need to find the CAUSE of these events and DO SOMETHING TO PREVENT AND LOWER THE FREQUENCIES OF THESE HAPPENINGS.  SOMEONE NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE.  The time is now.

I feel that over the more recent years, farmers have been convinced to apply more and more dangerous chemicals so as to increase production and yield.

Farmers are paid for quantity NOT quality .

In the process of increasing production, by applying these chemicals, this process has most likely killed off almost ALL the natural soil life necessary for balanced nutrition in our food.  Nature tries to build up life in soils, but a couple weeks later, another spray is applied to kill weeds etc and microbes again.  Most soils in my local area have zero soil life and very little air left to allow microbes to live .

There is a varying degree of soil hardness in my area, but some farms it is now almost impossible to dig a 4 tine garden fork any more than 2 inches into the ground, even by jumping on it [maybe it would be more profitable to make bricks in these areas ]

In my opinion, the answer is in convincing farmers to use an intense program of cover cropping and applying healthy microbes [which is much less costly than the presently used fertilizers].

Further, I feel that there are enough farmers [grain, horticulture, fruit, dairy and beef to supply Australia’s food requirements for “CLEAN” food.  The other can be sold overseas to hungry nations.  Food security has never been such a national issue as right now.  With closed borders and transport delays.

Are we to wait until further epidemics evolve and more climate change, or can we make changes now? 

I know it’s a difficult question, however we need to start somewhere, and the epidemic is making it even more urgent.

ORICoop connects Organic and Biodynamic Farmers that demonstrates the direct relationship between healthy food, healthy farms and a healthy planet.  Did you realise that organic agriculture is a leader in addressing these key questions of food security, planetary boundaries and healthy people?

  • Organic agriculture has the capacity to provide one (1) calorie of food energy for every calorie of energy utilized to produce that food, typically industrial agriculture requires twenty (20) calories of energy primarily sourced from fossil fuel to produce a calorie of food, hence a higher footprint
  • Organic agriculture in general requires less fossil fuel per hectare and kilo of produce due to the avoidance of synthetic or artificial fertilizers.
  • Organic agriculture improves soil fertility and nitrogen supply by using leguminous crops, crop residues and cover crops.
  • The enhanced soil fertility leads to a stabilization of soil organic matter and in many cases to a sequestration of carbon dioxide into the soils.
  • This in turn increases the soil’s water retention capacity, thus contributing to better adaptation of organic agriculture under unpredictable climatic conditions with higher temperatures and uncertain precipitation levels. 
  • Organic production methods emphasizing soil carbon retention are most likely to withstand climatic challenges particularly in those countries most vulnerable to increased climate change. 
  • Soil erosion, an important source of CO2 losses, is effectively reduced by organic agriculture and as a consequence prevents the loss of energy that would occur due to the embedded energy used in industrial agricultural systems.
  • Organic agriculture can contribute substantially to agroforestry and mixed production systems.
  • Organic systems are highly adaptive to climate change due to the application of traditional skills and farmers’ knowledge, soil fertility-building techniques and a high degree of diversity.

The Way Forward

So what does this mean for us?  Supporting organic and biodynamic producers has never been more critical as now.  At ORICoop we encourage more producers to transition to biological farm systems.  We know it takes time.  We can assist with connecting with your local organic producers.  We know to balance supply and demand – we need more businesses to invest in more locally grown, Australian produce.  Not cheap imported food.  Whether organic or conventional.

Agriculture has been a massive rebound for Australia’s economy in the past.  It has been a place where you could always find work, a living, and raise your family.  It can this time as well.  If you are interested to be involved in the most exciting area of agriculture – in organic food systems, or organic farming.  Contact us to find out how!  We have producers looking for the next generation of farmers.  Now more than ever!

* National Organic Awards – vote for your favourite organic business HERE

* Did you know it’s Organic Awareness Month?  Here are ways you can be involved in raising awareness of all the reasons why Organics is better for you.  For your family.  For the planet.  And for organic producers. 

And if you are not already an ORIcoop member make sure you join ORICoop HERE.  And encourage as many others as you can to also join. Don’t forget that the power of numbers to make change is very strong.  Together we are stronger.

(And subscribe to our blog here for our next updates)

 

#nationalorganicweek

#organicawarenessmonth

#bethechange

#organicfarming

#covidhealthwarrior

#healthandwellness

 

 

 

What are your End of Financial Year Goals?

What are your End of Financial Year Goals?

Empower the world you want to be part of ……

We know it’s been a rough year for many.  We are rallying support in the last days of the financial year towards organisations that continue to ‘do good’ through these tough times.  Here is our hot list for any tax deductible donations that align with your values …..

* Make a donation to ORICoop Bushfire Fund (tax deductible via AMF)

* Offset your carbon footprint directly with organic producers

* Support our friends at CERES  who continue to do incredible things across Melbourne
 
* Fifteen trees – buy your own tree to be planted and watch them grow

* Buy a carbon credit that goes directly to indigenous communities

* Trees for Life – connecting seeds with farmers one by one

* Buy a piece of rainforest – from just $2.50

* Bush Heritage – supporting bushland conservation

* Tasmanian Land Conservancy – preserving farmland in Tasmania

* Offset Earth – for only $2.50/week

* Firesticks – supporting Indigenous communities

* Organic Matters Foundation – Organic education and buy a tonne of carbon
*
Earthworker Cooperative – supporting businesses transitioning across the Latrobe Valley

  And your yearly financial health check up list!

 * Transfer your super to one that aligns with your investment criteria

* Review your banking (and mortgage choices) to an ethical one

* Switch your browser to Ecosia and plant some trees

* Close down that ‘extra’ credit card

* Invest your funds to enable ethical and sustainable returns that don’t cost the earth

Could your business achieve Net-Zero by EOFY 2021?

We are urgently calling on all ethical, organic, conscious businesses to aim for Net-Zero by the End of this Financial Year.    Let’s show some love for our planet!  Here is how you can start your journey….

* Calculate your carbon and environmental footprint
* Choose credits that align with your business values
* Reduce your footprint through best practice sustainability

Our newly released Eco-Credits can help you achieve this – while directly benefiting organic producers that are increasing the carbon across their farm businesses.  Key outcomes include:-

* Verified independent soil tests confirm carbon drawdown

* Quantification of biodiversity quality and density in every farm system

* Annual ecological reports (including natural capital)

* Eco-Credits™ are only offered once and then retired

* All purchasers receive an Offset Certificate to verify your offset

Apply for your Eco-Credit here

Or you can download an Eco-Credit Application Form here

Or contact us for more information

Bushfire recovery that restores ecological hope

Bushfire recovery that restores ecological hope

Earlier this year as part of the Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal, we put out a call for people to support our friends in East Gippsland and purchase trees for landholders in areas that had been devastated by the February fires. Many people heard the call, and together with 15Trees we were able to offer Chris and Christine Watts, of Blue Sky Organics, 100 trees (and guards) for a revegetation project that will help restore native bushland. Organic farmers were heavily impacted by the bushfires across many areas of south east Australia and the Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal continues to support each farmer in ways that they need.

Blue Sky Organics is a family farming venture located in the East Gippsland located on the Murrindal River, VIC. Their family team consists of Madeline, Talsy, Jaklan, parents Chris and Christine Watts and grandparent Ian Watts. Last month, 100 native trees and shrubs were planted out along their creek beds, a true family affair!

A note from Christine ‘We had some significant pockets of gorgeous gullies and creeks etc before the fires. Alas not so gorgeous now! And so we have concentrated our revegetation efforts in these areas. The creek banks are a priority as the trees will stabilise the banks (roots hold the soil together), provide habitat to native wildlife and help keep the creek water clean (so important for down stream ecology).

The bush up the back has not come back at all yet. We are still hopeful. We will not re-plant there as it is rocky and mountainous. Nature is going to have to do her own thing there.

We are actually wildlife rescuers and we do have a particular love of wombats. The wildlife here suffered immensely with the bushfires.  Simply heart-breaking. I guess I would like people to understand that wildlife need us to care and regenerate their land. And with the help of Fifteen Trees and ORICoop we can make a start.’

Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way.  Christine Watts | Owner | Blue Sky Organics

ORICoop is pleased to be working with Fifteen Trees to continue to raise the funds needed to purchase 1500 trees (+ tree guards) for this district and other affected by bushfires over the last Black Summer. If you are interested to support you are invited to contribute to this ongoing support. Colleen from Fifteen Trees will keep a tally of all trees purchased and offer more trees to this area in 2021.

This past summer was one of the most challenging Australian seasons ever and giving support to East Gippsland will be an on-going commitment.

You can offer your support by:

And remember that many of these farmers are a long way from being ‘out of the woods’.  Many are still dealing with the heartbreak of last Summer.  Many are still managing their recovery and getting their business back on track.  ORICoop is excited to continue to walk with them, and to support each of them in their journey towards recovery.

Carolyn Suggate (ORICoop) & Colleen Filippa (Fifteen Trees)

 

ORICoop Online Workshop Series launches

ORICoop Online Workshop Series launches

“Never has it been more necessary to find solidarity with those whose values align and more important to garner skills from those who have beaten the path before us.  ORICoop with the support of BCCM have created an online workshop series to help us all build skills and community.  With a 90% subsidy being offered by BCCM, a broad range of topics, guest speakers and interactive Q and A time on each gathering, its a low cost, high value offer that can all be booked and undertaken online by clicking here – book into one or all five”
The Co-operative Farming program offers a 90% bursary for this course. You can find out more and apply at https://coopfarming.coop/learn/educational-bursaries/. Subject to approval, you will receive a discount code that you should apply at the checkout, this will ensure your payment is reduced to 10%.

1. Community driven business structures  – Thursday 3rd Dec 6.30pm-7.45pm 2020 and Thursday 10th December 6.30pm – 7.45 2020

Eager to connect with your fellow growers and find ways to get your food to a local, engaged and appreciative audience. Hear from those who’ve trodden this path already, hear first hand about their wins, challenges, growing pains and opportunities. Most importantly ask the questions which allow you to consider what will work for you and meet other growers and producers on a similar trajectory.

Book HERE

2. Getting to Know Your Region and Community – 4th February 6pm – 7.45pm and 11th Feb, 6pm – 7.45pm

While every community beats to a different drum, many follow similar patterns and the insights of others who’ve observed and engaged in community building is a valuable process to support you in your existing efforts or as a foundation of knowledge before you begin.  Meet food system pioneers, leapfrog with their learnings and kickstart or reboot your own efforts to work collaboratively as a whole community.

Book Here


3.Taking Your Collective Business Online – 25th March and 1st April, 6pm – 7.45pm

While we know the increasing influence of online marketplaces, Covid showed us just how powerful it can be for farmers wanting to diversify their paths to market, work collaboratively and be the price maker for their hard grown produce. Learn practical skills, loopholes and opportunities from those who’ve done it and specialise in supporting you to do it too.

Book Here

4. Resilience in Your Business – 22nd April 2021, 6pm – 7.45pm

Business stability is about being diverse yet focussed, nimble yet strategic, committed yet open to change, having an excellent relationship with your market and always looking to the horizon of innovation and adaptation. Learn from farmers who’ve developed business plans in consideration of these complexities and seek advice and guidance relevant to your specific farming and business needs.

Book Here

5.Transitional Ownership Pathways to next generation, 13th May 2021, 6pm – 7.45pm

Succession planning is one of the single greatest threats to farming enterprises yet when undertaken successfully, one of the most powerful and rewarding aspects. The complexity of building a successful succession plan is a well trodden path and our expert panel will share a diverse range of case studies of well executed plans, and some of the common pitfalls.

Book Here

Any enquiries can be sent to admin@organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au

What is your carbon footprint?

What is your carbon footprint?

The Organic and Regenerative Investment Co-operative (ORICoop) is focussed on bringing together farmers, friends and businesses for the better. ORICoop exists to increase the productivity and profitability of organically and regeneratively managed land in Australia, while supporting farmers to be better land stewards of our ecological farming systems. We support organic and biodynamic farms to transition their agricultural businesses for the better. This builds a more resilient Australian food and farming economy that can change the way our farmers do business … for the long term.

WHAT IS THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF YOUR BUSINESS?

We are excited to announce the creation of a direct Business-to-Farm carbon and ecological offset.

The Eco-Credit™

Bringing together farmers interested to drawdown carbon – and in the process offset the carbon footprint of business.  Eco-Credits™ are a credible and definable instrument to measure ecological health, whilst enabling business to OFFSET their carbon footprint.  A true WIN-WIN between conscious businesses and ecological farm stewards, that supports our planet for the long term better.

ORICoop has created Eco-Credits™ so conscious businesses and individuals can offset their carbon footprint, with direct, measurable and tangible outcomes. Eco-Credits™ are deployed to selected organic farmers who commit Eco-Credits™ to their farmland.  These credits are independently and annually verified using the latest technology and measurement parameters.  Each business receives a report provided by the collective of farm contributors each year – detailing what the Eco-Credit™ collective outcome has achieved in terms of carbon offset and ecological health.

 Purchase Eco-Credit’s here

Eco-Credits™ – ‘An ecological and farmer driven market instrument that offers a pathway to a stronger and more robust organic farming industry.  That is empowered to withstand market pressures on farm production systems, together with sustainable and measured outcomes.  Demonstrated via shorter supply chains, better food security, reliable market data, and a transparent market that enables farmers to achieve the best value for their work.’

The Vision:-

  • Vitalise capital to connect business, food and farming for better long term outcomes
  • Enable farmers to benefit from the value of natural capital in their farming systems
  • Connect business and individual carbon offsets directly to farmers
  • Align with accredited stewardship measures and outcomes

 

HOW CAN FARMERS REGISTER FOR the ECO-CREDIT™ PROGRAM?

Farmers around Australia have a massive opportunity to draw down carbon into their farms both above and below ground through best practice ecological stewardship. Farmers can be rewarded for improving the land that they manage, and the carbon that is sequestered terrestrially via biodiversity enrichment and through an increase in soil organic carbon.  Eco-Credits™ are deployed directly to organic and regenerative farmers – that are committed to increase the amount of carbon stored in their soil and to honour the value of water, soil, ecological health and biodiversity in their organic and agroecological farming systems.

Key measurable outcomes of Eco-Credits™ include:

  • Increase in sequestered carbon in soil, trees and biomass
  • Increase in biodiversity quality, area and ecosystem health
  • Healthier soils and water
  • Increase in birdlife and endangered wildlife
  • Permanency and verifiable
  • Market Transformational
  • Environmental and social co-benefits

Organic farms can REGISTER HERE for the next Eco-Credit project

It’s that ‘Resilience’ time of the year

It’s that ‘Resilience’ time of the year

As the end of this financial year runs to screaming halt – it’s time for us to take stock, and assess the type of world we live in – and how each one of us could be part of the solution to a better world!

Given the incredible outcomes of the Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal, we are excited about the next steps from here for ORICoop.  And how we as a member owned Co-operative can step up to help when it’s needed.  And stick to our key mission of increasing and enabling more organic farmers to be better stewards of more land over time.  And meet the specific needs of our farming community, member to member.   While connecting our friends, eaters, farmers and investors more closely together, for a better and more aligned food and farming system. 

You can become an ORICoop member HERE

Each year we love putting together our ‘hot’ list of leading organisations.  If you are looking to make a real difference as a tax deductible donation some suggestions are here:-

So what else can I practically do?  Here is a short action list!


We are launching the FIRST edition of BioLogical shortly.  Here you will get the first glimpse of this collaborative journal, that covers organic farming, local stories, bushfire recovery, ethical investment and our community.

And make sure at this complex time, that you connect more closely with your local farmers and your food system.  One bite, one meal, one good investment at a time!

You can keep up with ORICoop via Instagram.  Or subscribe to our blog for our regular updates.