Organic Federation of Australia
Organic Update April 2006

Chairs Report

Four Main Organic Events
This edition features the four main organic events that will be held this year- ECOV, The Third OFA National Organic Conference, The Organic Expo and The Queensland Organic Conference. We would encourage every person who is interested in the organic sector to participate in these events to ensure that they are a success.

They will be a wonderful opportunity to meet our friends and colleagues, learn more about all facets of the organic sector and see the huge range of organic products and services that are now available in Australia. All of us as consumers, farmers and traders will find that these will be? enjoyable and useful events.

EMS Workshop
The OFA hosted a facilitated workshop in Sydney on March 21 looking at how to improve the Environmental Management Systems (EMS) that already exist in organic farming systems. The meeting consisted of farmers from every state in Australia, representatives of Certifiers and experts in environmental systems.

The workshop agreed that organic farming systems had excellent environmental management outcomes, however, there were areas where they can be improved. It also recognised that governments, regulatory agencies, environmental groups, academics and a large percentage of the public were unaware of the environmental benefits of organic systems. There was a need to formalise the environmental management systems used by organic producers and to demonstrate the positive environmental benefits to the wider community.

One of the significant outcomes was the formation of a working group of certified organic farmers who will produce a template on how to incorporate a formal EMS into the farmers' organic management plans that will not require extra time and costs.

Cyclone Larry
Cyclone Larry has devastated most of the organic farms in the far north of Queensland. All of these farms have lost their crops and had serious damage to infrastructure such as houses, sheds, water supplies etc. Many of the orchards have had trees ripped out of the ground or smashed and shredded.

The OFA is coordinating help. The crucial help is the need for volunteers to work on organic farms. These farmers need many people to help them clean up, repair the damage and replant. If you are interested in working as a volunteer on a cyclone affected organic farm please contact me by email:

Best regards
Andre Leu

The Third OFA National Organic Conference July 22-23 2006

Dr Elaine Ingham and David Holmgren will be keynote speakers.
Dr Elaine Ingham is one of the worlds leading experts on using composts and compost teas to improve soil fertility and food quality. She will hold a workshop on the morning of July 23 showing how to composting can sequester carbon into the soil and reverse the 25% of Australia's greenhouse gases created by Agriculture.

David Holmgren, along with Bill Mollison was a founding author of permaculture. David will present an overview on how all of us can take an active role in reversing climate change through our lifestyle choices.

Climate change is one of the major issues affecting all of us on our planet. For the first time in recorded history the glacier on Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro is melting and the ice at the North Pole had melted. Another first was recorded in North America - Lake Erie did not freeze over this winter. 2005 recorded the hottest average temperatures on record and produced the most destructive hurricane season ever. In Greenland the ice is melting three times faster than the early 1990s. Experts from NASA are predicting that the intensity of major storms will increase even more as a result of rising ocean temperatures.

Experts expect that climate change will have a negative effect on our food supply due to more frequent adverse weather events leading to increasing crop failures. The security of our food supply concerns all of us.

So what has organic agriculture to do with climate change? Published studies show that organic farming systems are more resilient to the predicted weather extremes. Organic systems have higher yields than conventional farming systems in weather extremes such as floods and droughts.

Very importantly organic agriculture can help reverse climate change. Published peer review scientific studies in North America and Europe show that best practice organic agriculture, not only emits less greenhouse gases than conventional agriculture, the carbon sequestration from increasing soil organic matter leads to a net reduction in greenhouse gases.

According to the Rodale Institute "U.S. agriculture as currently practiced emits a total of 1.5 trillion pounds of CO2annually into the atmosphere. Converting all U.S. cropland to organic would not only wipe out agriculture's massive emission problem, by eliminating energy-costly chemical fertilizers, it would actually give us a net increase in soil carbon of 734 billion pounds." On a worldwide scale, if we had hundreds of millions of hectares of organic farming it would equate to removing billions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

In order to increase the knowledge and debate around the benefits of organic agriculture for reducing greenhouse gases, the topic has been selected as the theme of the Third National Organic Conference, to be hosted by the OFA at Darling Harbour, Sydney, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July 2006 in conjunction with the Organic Expo.

For More Information Contact: Mary Hackett, Ph: 02 9319 1228 Fx: 02 9453 3499
Mob: 0414 306 689 Web

EcoV Bendigo, Victoria, May 5-7

Unprecedented endorsement of EcoV by Prince Charles
In a major coup for Bendigo, Prince Charles has endorsed EcoV – The Organics & Sustainability Show being held in Bendigo next month (5- 7 May), calling it an "important event."

In an unprecedented message of support for EcoV, The Prince of Wales says "I hope EcoV will inspire everyone who attends and that the messages of this important event will be spread far and wide, across Australia and even further afield."

EcoV director, Brian Abbott says as well as winning the support of Prince Charles EcoV has received a tick of approval from the United Nations.UNESCO has recognised the expo’s role as an educator and is allowing EcoV to use the logo for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

EcoV will be Victoria’s largest Organics and Sustainability show and will be held at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds 5 – 7 May this year.

The Organic Federation of Australia and the two major certifiers of organic products, the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture (NASAA) and Australian Certified Organic (ACO) are Gold Sponsors of EcoV.

For more information about the show or exhibiting, contact: Brian Abbott, 0404 06 1404, (03) 9889 5631


Organic Expo – Australia’s Premier Organic and Environmental show
Over 140 exhibitors and 8,000 - 10,000 attendees on two and a half days of show are expected. A Trade Only day will be held on Friday 21 July, 2.00pm – 6.00pm, followed by the Organic Cocktail Party, a ticketed industry networking event. To avoid the queues on Friday trade can pre-register for the Organic Expo at, alternatively just bring your business id with you on the day and register then. Your trade pass will give you free access to the Organic Expo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Fully supported by industry and government, the following organisations will have a significant presence and involvement with the show; The Organic Federation of Australia (OFA), Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA), Australian Certified Organics (ACO), The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA), Organic Food Chain (OFC), The Australian Environmental Labelling Association (AELA), Nature Conservation Council (NCC), The Wilderness Society, NSW Department of State and Regional Development and Department of Primary Industries.

Seminars and Demonstrations
The Celebrity Stage and Speaker’s Corner is where you can catch up on all the latest news, opinion and research from the organic and environmental sector. Renowned chefs Kylie Kwong and Holly Davies will be cooking up some delicious organic fare and you can field your questions in the panel discussions with seasoned journalist & SBS food lovers guide to Australia host, Joanna Saville, Australia’s much awarded food writer, Cherry Ripe, Author and Biodynamic Farmer, Patrice Newell, third generation Organic Farmer John Priestley and many more. And to top all that exhibitors will be offering plenty of mouth-watering organic samples and tastings to enjoy.

The Organic Garden, created by show award winners Permaculture North, and will host some great gardening presentations by ABC Gardening Australia presenters Jerry Coleby-Williams and Andrew O’Sullivan as well as Permaculture expert Peter Rutherford.

The Farmers Market Display will show-off the array of beautiful fruits and veggies grown by organic farmers in Australia and give you the opportunity to taste the produce and talk to the farmers directly.

The Organic Café will offer a full range of organic fair.

The Australia / New Zealand Organic Wine Show will showcase of the diversity, regionality, originality and quality of organic wines

The Organic Cocktail Party
Traders, industry and media don’t miss this very popular and exclusive ticketed event which follows the trade day on Friday 21st July. In a stunning venue, overlooking Darling Harbour, this party will entertain 500 guests and provide a great opportunity for everyone to network and catch up with friends and the latest news in the industry. Organic wines, beverages and a select range of organic canapés will be served. Tickets are available by calling 02 9451 4747 or emailing

For more information about the show or exhibiting, please contact Smeaton Hackett Events on 02 9451 4747, or visit

OPAQ Queensland Organic Conference

The 2nd OPAQ Queensland Organic Conference - Back to Basics
Beerwah Queensland September 1&2 2006
The Organic Producers Association of Queensland Inc (OPAQ) is organising a 2 day conference at Beerwah, 40 minutes north of Brisbane, Queensland. The 2003 Inaugural Queensland Organics Conference in Cairns FNQ was a resounding success, bringing together over 300 stakeholders including, producers, scientists, researchers, certifiers, suppliers and government representatives, including many from overseas.

The conference will involve a speakers program on September 1 followed by farm tours on September 2. It has been organised to give the Queensland and Northern NSW organic sectors the information and skills needed to prosper in the current economic environment.

The sessions and speakers have been selected to explain the various techniques being used to get the best results in organic production management with emphasis on soil health pest control, weed control, water management, marketing systems as well as nutrition and health.
Contact Keith Morris Ph 0500581469


On-Farm and On-Site Composting Seminar
Brookwater Golf Club (between Brisbane and Ipswich) on 26th April 2006
The On-Farm and On-Site Composting Seminar provides a unique opportunity to learn about composting from experts and practitioners and discuss difficult issues.
Contact: Johannes Biala, The Organic Force, Tel. 07 - 3901 1152,Fax 07 - 3396 2511,Mob 0409 062613,

Biodynamic Agriculture Australia Workshop Program 2006
Clifton SE Qld 27/28 April Introduction to Biodynamics – cropping and grazing
Paris Creek SA 11/12 May Biodynamics for Dairy, cropping and viticulture
Mt Gambier SA 15/16 May Introduction to biodynamics
Albany WA 29/30 May Introduction to biodynamics
Cowaramup WA 1, 2 June Biodynamics for viticulture and horticulture
Perth WA 5th June Introduction to biodynamics -Not FarmBi$
Beerwah QLD 22/23 June Biodynamics for horticulture
Mt Barker SA Spring Biodynamics for viticulture and horticulture
Mansfield Vic 30 Sept A MALT farm project – Introduction to biodynamics
Theodore, Qld 10/11 October Antipodean Astro Calendar and biodynamics

EcoV 5 – 7 May 2006 Bendigo
EcoV – The Global Organics & Sustainability Show has launched a major competition for schools. The EcoV Greenplanet Organic Vegie Challenge is very simple. Schools, both primary and secondary, just have to produce up to five kilograms of five types of organic vegetables by Friday 5 May 2006 – the opening day of EcoV.
The Organic Federation of Australia (OFA), the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA,) and Australian Certified Organic (ACO) are Gold Sponsors of EcoV.
Exhibitor Packs are available on the web site Brian Abbott (03) 9889 5631, 0404 06 1404,

Enviro 06 Conference Melbourne May 9 - 11 2006
Enviro 06 will consist of 24 one-day streams in three areas, energy, waste and water. Organic farming will feature in recycled organic stream. For more information: Quitz Event Management 02 9410 1302, or

International Composting Awareness Week (7–13 May 2006)
It’s time to prepare for International Composting Awareness Week (ICAW) being held for the first time in Australia from Saturday 7th to Sunday 13th May 2006. Talk to the Centre for Organic & Resource Enterprises (CORE) or your local compost association about making something happen!

The international theme for the week in 2006 is Compost… The Possibilities are Endless! CORE will also be developing promotional materials on this theme. The official launch will be at ENVIRO2006 conference in Melbourne, May. The week will benefit from the experience of the ICAW pioneer Susan Antler, Executive Director of the Composting Council of Canada, who will be making a special visit to Australia for the event. During the week numerous meetings with the industry and State Governments will be held to take advantage of Susan Antler’s international knowledge and experience.

To find out more about ICAW or to get involved please contact Fanny Hennebo at CORE, telephone 02 9922 1591 or email

The Growing Potential for Organic Produce
Wednesday 17th May 2006, 7.30pm to 9.30pm
The Seminar Room, Cardinia Cultural Centre, Lakeside Boulevard, Pakenham 3810
Contact: Barrie Pickersgill, Agribusiness Officer Cardinia Shire Council and City of Casey
Ph: (03) 5945 0404 or (03) 9705 5393

Grow Organic 2006
Bairnsdale, Victoria - 20th and 21st May
Specialist organic speakers "From paddock to plate"
Also, organic product stalls, work-shops, on site accommodation and exquisite organic catering.
Enquiries & bookings: Organic Agriculture Association Inc. 03 5152 2276 or 03 5157 1586

Eursafe 2006 - Ethics and the Politics of Food
21st to the 24th of June 2006 in Oslo, Norway

Organic Expo: organics for everyone, Sydney July 21-23
The 2006 Show will feature:
* Celebrity endorsement & appearances
* Key industry speakers & involvement
* Premier Location @ Sydney Exhibition Centre
* Creative Layout & Exciting Interest Features
* Organic Café
* Highly successful and proven show
Phone - 02 9451 4747 Email -

The Third OFA National Organic Conference July 22-3 2006
Darling Harbour Sydney Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July 2006 in conjunction with the Organic Expo.

1st IFOAM International Conference on Animals in Organic Production,
23-25 August 2006 in Minneapolis USA. For more information

The 2nd OPAQ Queensland Organic Conference
Beerwah Queensland September 1&2 2006
Contact Keith Morris Ph 0500581469

International Landcare Conference
Melbourne Convention Centre, Victoria, Oct 8-11

For More Information 03 96456311

Organic Update is a publication of the Organic Federation of Australia
Phone +61 1300 657 435
PO Box 166 Oakleigh South Vic 3167 Australia