The Organic Advantage

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton has announced that more than $2 million will be provided in this year's budget to cover three years of funding for an advisory service for organic farmers and growers and for those converting to organic production. The advisory service funding will be in addition to a $1.5 million government grant provided as bridging finance for a new national body for the organic sector.

Green Party organic spokesperson Sue Kedgley says the hope is to have 200 farmers a year converting from conventional production. Organic grower and retailer Jim Kebble says the need to increase the number of organic growers is urgent because stores are finding it increasingly difficult to get organically-grown fruit and vegetables.

Organic grower and retailer Jim Kebble says the need to increase the number of organic growers is urgent because stores are finding it increasingly difficult to get organically-grown fruit and vegetables.?


ABC News, April 27, 2006

A group of organic cattle properties owned by the high profile grazier Sir Graham McCamley are on the market.

The seven properties from western to central Queensland have a total area of more than 100,000 hectares and can carry 15,000 head of cattle.

The agent, Peter Watkins, says the properties will be offered in four lots and auctioned in Rockhampton in July.

"All the properties as part of the group of Sir Graham McCamley are organic," he said.

"The property, Hopevale, is not [organic] just at the moment because it is part of an irrigation process but the entire offering as such is being offered as an organic string of properties and they have an overall carrying capacity of in excess of 15,000 cattle."

Mr Watkins says the family's flagship properties in Marlborough will remain intact.

"It's quite a significant offering, particularly given the knowledge and widespread of properties that Sir Graham had," Mr Watkins said.

"Obviously in terms of organic run beef operations, it's quite significant in itself."

ENVIRONMENT:Superweeds Spreading in Genetically Engineered Cottonfields

Pesticide resistant weeds are introducing a new problem to cotton farmers. Traditionally, herbicide resistance is dealt with by simply changing the herbicide. But according to North Carolina State weed scientist Alan York, farmers are running out of options: there are no more effective pesticides to switch to. The majority of farmers in the Cotton Belt are now growing genetically engineered Roundup Ready cotton, which is resistant to glyphosate pesticides. As a result of the heavy use of glyphosate in the area, varieties of pigweed have developed an immunity to it. Tests at the University of Georgia showed that the pigweed Palmer Amaranth has developed amazing resistance to glyphosate. Scientists doused the weeds three times with a quadruple concentrated dose of glyphosate, but the pigweed continued to grow and multiply. "If you grow cotton in the Southeast, and you have Palmer amaranth in your fields, looking at side-by-side comparisons of resistant and non-resistant pigweed should scare you to death," York says.

:Extract from Chew on This - A New Book for Young People

The 59 ingredients in a fast-food strawberry milkshake:

To make one at home, you need four fresh ingredients. The processed version isn't so simple ...

Britons now spend more than £52bn on food every year - and more than 90% of that money is spent on processed food. But the canning, freezing and dehydrating techniques used to process food destroy most of its flavour. Since the end of the second world war, a vast industry has arisen to make processed food taste good.

During the past two decades the flavour industry's role in food production has become so influential that many children now like man-made flavours more than the real thing. As marketing to children has become more and more important to processed food companies and fast food chains, flavourists have increased their efforts to discover what children like. The flavour companies constantly run "taste tests" for kids - focus groups in which new products are piloted.

Fresh fruit and vegetables often have complicated, unpredictable flavours that combine bitterness with sweetness. When flavourists create additives for adult foods, they try to imitate nature as closely as possible. When flavourists create additives for kids' foods, they usually get rid of the bitterness and increase the sweetness. Children's flavours are often twice as sweet as those made for adults.

"Children's expectation of a strawberry is completely different," says one flavourist. "They want something that is strong and that has something like bubblegum notes."

The phrase "artificial strawberry flavour" offers little hint of the scientific wizardry that can make a highly processed food taste like a strawberry. For example, if you wanted to make a strawberry milkshake at home, here's all you'd need: ice, cream, strawberries, sugar and a touch of vanilla.

Now take a look at the ingredients you might find in a fast-food strawberry milkshake: milk fat and nonfat milk, sugar, sweet whey, high-fructose corn syrup, guar gum, monoglycerides and diglycerides, cellulose gum, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, citric acid, E129 and artificial strawberry flavour.

And what does that "artificial strawberry flavour" contain?

Just these few yummy chemicals: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphrenyl- 2-butanone (10% solution in alcohol), ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, undecalactone, vanillin and solvent.,,1759888,00.html

Editor's Note: Do certified organic foods contain any additives?

Certified organic foods undergo the minimum processing necessary. A minimum number of natural processing aids such as ascorbic acid (vitamin c) and guar gum are approved and must be included on the label when used. These are under constant review and new processing aids can only be added following intense scrutiny.

GOOD TASTE:The Incredible Pumpkin

Extract from Organic: Mirko Grillini's Italy

The many varieties of pumpkin make it possible to be grown almost everywhere, even in short season districts. From the Queensland Blue to the Butternut, we all love it for its contrasting shapes, sizes and colours and for the smooth, mealy, sweet bright orange flesh. Whole recipe books have been devoted to the pumpkin - pumpkin scones, pumpkin pie, soup and the most impressive - whole pumpkin stuffed and baked!

We would call it the protective pumpkin when we learn that it is full of beta-carotene, the vitamin A precursor that helps protect us against cancer (especially lung), heart troubles and respiratory disease.

The seeds are extremely valuable for zinc, iron and calcium content together with protein and b-complex vitamins. Much is written about the health benefits of consuming pumpkin. The cooling thermal nature relieves damp conditions including bronchial asthma, dysentery, eczema, edema; it promotes mucus discharge and helps regulate blood sugar and benefits the pancreas.

Considering the above, the ultimate is the organic pumpkin!

Organic pumpkins are not grown on plastic sheeting used by conventional growers, which heats and kills the worms and microbes that keep the soil alive. Therefore the vines produce healthier root systems which take in maximum nutrients from the balanced healthy soil. The resulting strong healthy growth can resist pests and disease (eliminating the need for chemical control sprays) and increases yield. Best of all - we can enjoy the superior taste!

Mirko Grillini's Italy can be purchased from the BFA website at or by contacting BFA on 07 3350 5716 and

BFA - Producing the Best Resources for Keeping Industry Informed

Your Organic Advantage
Editors: Holly Vyner, Dom O'Brien

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


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