The Organic Advantage

A free newsletter by BFA - producing the best resources for keeping industry informed.

Wednesday,22ndMarch 2006, Edition 57


NDUSTRY NEWS:1st IFOAM Conference on Animals in Organic Production

AGRIBUSINESS NEWS:New Organic Farmers Markets in Sydney

ENVIRONMENT:New Study Confirms the Ecological Virtues of Organic Farming

HEALTH: Children Facing High Risks from Pesticide Poisoning

GOOD TASTE:Asparagus Silky Consomm

INDUSTRY NEWS:1st IFOAM International Conference on Animals in Organic Production. August 2325 2006, St. Paul, Minnesota, US

Organic livestock production is growing rapidly throughout the world, and sales are anticipated to increase dramatically in the coming years. Although organic livestock production has made significant advances over the last several decades, navigating complex regulatory frameworks and dealing with challenges facing the sector such as securing high levels of health and welfare in organic livestock systems need to be addressed on an international level. In addition, the organic movement needs to take advantage of and share the vast knowledge about organic livestock management practices that has been accumulated, from feed supply to market management.
This conference will focus on important issues concerning organic livestock and animal husbandry. It will concentrate upon health and food safety in organic livestock production systems, marketing trends, innovation in organic livestock production systems and livestock breeding strategies. Key figures from around the world will present the diversity of organic livestock systems, including opportunities and challenges on the horizon.

Main objectives of the conference

Identification of best practices in organic livestock production and marketing

Advancement of animal health and welfare in organic production systems

Facilitating trade in organic livestock products

Target groups

Livestock producers, processors, retailers and traders

Developers of standards and certification systems for organic livestock

Governmental or intergovernmental organizations involved in the sector

Researchers, consultants and other service provider

Veterinarians and animal nutritionists

Representative list of conference topics
The main issues covered by the conference program include:

Livestock standards and regulations

Trends and opportunities in organic livestock production

Animal health and food safety in organic livestock production systems

Best practices for the production and management of various animal species

Livestock breeding

For further information about the conference, including opportunities for sponsorship, contact Neil Sorensen, Manager, Communications and Events, at
Conference Secretariat
IFOAM Head Office
53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel: ++49-228-92650-16

AGRIBUSINESS NEWS:New Organic Farmers Markets in Sydney

By Dom OBrien

Farmers Markets are a popular way for growers to sell their produce direct to consumers, with advantages for both groups. Farmers can often get a better price for their produce, receive immediate payment rather than waiting 60 or 90 days, as is often the case with wholesalers, and develop a relationship with the people who consume their products.

For consumers it means very fresh food, better prices (no wholesaler cut), and the chance to talk directly with the grower and learn about the growing process. It is particularly valid for the organic industry, which aims to narrow the knowledge gap between growers and consumers.

So it is good news for growers within range of Sydney where a new organic market has opened up.

The Kings Cross Organic Food and Farmers Market opened on the 11th of February and is on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm

The market will be offering an array of fresh farm produce, including delicious ethnic foods, choice organic and conventional fruit and vegetables, deli and bakery goods, fresh fish gourmet items, meat and groceries, a Natural Therapies, plants, and flowers and herbs.

It is held at Fitzroy Gardens, Kings Cross, around the Fountain with convenient access for customers and there is a large car park on Ward Avenue.

Market organiser, Elizabeth Taylor, also says they can now take more food stalls at another of their market locations at Orange Grove Public School, Leichhardt. So if there are any overstocked farmers or producers wanting to sell in Sydney, theyd love to hear from you.

Enquiries and photos: Elizabeth Taylor

Tel: 02 9999 2227 or 0413 545 183? Fax: 02 9999 2240

ENVIRONMENT:New Study Confirms the Ecological Virtues of Organic Farming

Abstract at

Organic farming has long been touted as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional agriculture. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) provides strong evidence to support that claim.? Writing in the March 6 online edition of PNAS, Stanford University graduate student Sasha B. Kramer and her colleagues found that fertilizing apple trees with synthetic chemicals produced more adverse environmental effects than feeding them with organic manure or alfalfa.

"The intensification of agricultural production over the past 60 years and the subsequent increase in global nitrogen inputs have resulted in substantial nitrogen pollution and ecological damage," Kramer and her colleagues write. "The primary source of nitrogen pollution comes from nitrogen-based agricultural fertilizers, whose use is forecasted to double or almost triple by 2050." Nitrogen compounds from fertilizer can enter the atmosphere and contribute to global warming, adds Harold A. Mooney, the Paul S. Achilles Professor of Environmental Biology at Stanford and co-author of the study.? "Nitrogen compounds also enter our watersheds and have effects quite distant from the fields in which they are applied, as for example in contaminating water tables and causing biological dead zones at the mouths of major rivers," he says. "This study shows that the use of organic versus chemical fertilizers can play a role in reducing these adverse effects."

HEALTH:Children Facing High Risks from Pesticide Poisoning

Full Story release from WHO/FAO/UNEP

Children are facing higher risks from pesticides than adults and need greater protection against these chemicals, particularly in developing countries, according to a joint report published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Pesticide poisoning is a serious health problem that disproportionately affects infants and children, the UN report, called "Child Pesticide Poisoning: Information for Advocacy and Action" and issued this week in Geneva, said. The number of children affected is unknown, but based on the experience of many countries, likely to be large. The report highlights both the magnitude of the problem and the need to put more efforts into better reaching and helping the rural, disadvantaged populations who are most affected by pesticide poisoning.

It has been reported that an estimated one million to five million cases of pesticide poisonings occur every year, resulting in several thousands of fatalities, including children, the report said.

Most of the poisonings take place in rural areas of developing countries, where safeguards typically are inadequate or lacking altogether. Although developing countries use 25% of the worlds production of pesticides, they experience 99% of the deaths due to pesticide poisoning, the report said.

Children face a higher risk from pesticides because they may be more susceptible than adults or more greatly exposed than adults, the report said. Children's behaviour - playing and ignorance of risks - result in greater potential for exposure. Malnutrition and dehydration increase their sensitivity to pesticides. Currently around 200 million children are suffering from malnutrition.

Pesticide poisoning can occur via breathing, drinking or eating, or through the skin or mucous membranes. The symptoms resulting from acute poisoning may range from fatigue, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, to respiratory and neurological effects that may be life-threatening. Chronic, and even low-level exposure to pesticides has been linked to cancer, birth defects, and damage the nervous and the functioning of the endocrine system.

Diet can be a major source of exposure for children. As they grow, children drink more water and eat more food, per body weight, than do adults. Water and food containing pesticide residues may therefore be a source of chronic, low-level or high-level pesticide exposure.

Growing food on or near contaminated soils, using contaminated water on crops or for washing puts people and children at particular risk.

When a mother to be is exposed to pesticides, the child becomes exposed as well, before birth, while still in the womb. Small children can also come into contact with persistent and bio-accumulative pesticides through breast-feeding. Protecting pregnant women and lactating mothers from exposure to toxic contaminants is therefore crucial.

Two key international conventions are aiming at reducing the adverse health and environmental aspects of pesticides: The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), created to reduce and eliminate 12 POPs of which nine are pesticides, and the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. The first ministerial conference of the Rotterdam Convention ends today in Geneva.

Gregory Hartl
Telephone: +41 (22) 791 4458
Email: hartlg@who.intyes ws

GOOD TASTE:Asparagus Silky Consomm (Vellutata di asparagi)

A delicious recipe from Mirko Grillinis Italy, in BFAs Organic Cookbook series.


2 bunches of Asparagus

1 large potato (sliced very thinly)

1 brown onion (sliced very thinly)

100g unsalted butter

half glass white unwooded wine

750ml milk (full or trim)

50g blue cheese (blue variety)

750ml water salt

Cut off and discard the bottom third of the asparagus stems and blanch the rest in hot salty water for about 2 minutes. Bring to the boil the milk and stock.

In a large pot (3 to 5 litres capacity) melt the butter then add the onions and potatoes. Stir well and let them soften for about 3 minutes. Do not burn anything. Add the asparagus. Once hot, raise the heat to high and pour over the wine. Make sure you stir well until the wine evaporates.

Add now the milk and the stock, stir well and once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. After about 30 minutes add the cheese, stir again, and let simmer for another 30 minutes.

Wine suggestion: grassy, cool climate Sauvignon Blanc.

Editors:Holly Vyner, Sam Statham, Dom O'Brien

Ph: 07 3350 5716 (International +61 7 3350 5716)

Ph: 07 3350 5706 (International +61 7 3350 5706)