Farming
What is Organic & Bio-dynamic?
BD kiwifruit orchard
BD kiwifruit orchard

Organic and bio-dynamic produce is grown in harmony with the cycles of Nature using soil management techniques which regenerate the soil and not using human-made chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Studies have shown that fruit and vegetables grown in the high fertility soils typical of well-managed organic and bio-dynamic farms have higher nutritional levels (eg vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes) and minimal toxic residues. "Organic" agriculture was how food was produced until the introduction of agriculture assisted by human-made chemicals (eg herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, antibiotics, growth promoting hormones). Since the end of World War 2, the chemically-assisted agricultural regime has now become the most widely practised and is now known as "conventional" agriculture.

Organic agriculture is a form of sustainable agriculture, that is:

Box for storage of BD preparations
Box for storage of BD preparations

"A system of agriculture able to balance productivity with low vulnerability to problems such as pest infestation and environmental degradation, while maintaining the quality of the land for future generations.

In practice this involves a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators, livestock feed additives and other harmful or potentially harmful substances. It includes the use of technologies such as crop rotations, mechanical cultivation and biological pest control; and such materials as legumes, crop residues, animal manures, green manures, compost, other organic wastes and mineral bearing rocks. The intention is to encourage natural biological systems." (Standards for Organic Agricultural Production, NASAA, 1993.)

Bio-dynamics is a specific system of organic agriculture developed through practical applications, experience and research mainly on the basis of principles taught by Austrian scientist Rudolf Steiner. The aim of members of the Bio-dynamic Agricultural Association of Australia, founded in the 1950's, is to "redeem dead soils and make farms viable without the use of water-soluble fertilisers and chemicals." (Bio-dynamic Movement in Australia - Agriculture, Standards, Certification and Marketing.)

To differentiate produce grown organically rather than conventionally the farming system from which the produce comes must be certified and labelled accordingly.

Certification of a property as "organic" or "bio-dynamic" follows a rigorous process - including application, farm inspection(s), soil and/or plant tissue testing - to satisfy the relevant certifying organisation that methods of soil and farm management, product processing and transportation comply with its Standards.

Standards do not guarantee that produce marketed as Organic will be totally free of chemical residues. Small residues of contaminants are found virtually everywhere on earth - in air, water and soil. However, the Standards aim to ensure the lowest practicable risk of residues. (Standards for Organic Agricultural Production, NASAA, 1993.)

The Green Line is an ORGAA (Organic Retailers and Growers Association of Australia) certified retailer and may be inspected at random by an ORGAA inspector. Any item of produce in stock must be able to be tracked through a paper audit trail back to a certified organic or bio-dynamic grower.

The labels below identify the 3 main certifying organisations:

1. NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia)

2. BFA (Biological Farmers of Australia, Bio-Farm)

3. DEMETER (BDRI, Bio-dynamic Research Institute)

Their respective certification levels are set out below:

BD Sprayer
BD Sprayer
NASAA

Level A = Certified Organic:

Produce has been grown using appropriate land management practices without the use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides, growth regulators, antibiotics, or growth stimulants, or intensive livestock systems for at least 36 months.

Level B = Conversion:

The same as Level A except the farmer has been farming organically for between 12 and 36 months.

BFA

Organic or Bio-dynamic Certified Level A:

Meets BIO FARM organic or bio-dynamic production standards. No artificial fertilisers or chemicals are used. A sound regenerative organic or bio-dynamic farming system is used.

Organic or Bio-dynamic Certified Level B:

Organic or bio-dynamic farming methods are being practised but as yet not to all the requirements for A classification. No artificial fertilisers or chemicals are used. The regenerative farming system is at a development stage.

BDRI

Bio-dynamic Grade A:

Considerable bio-dynamic development of soil and plants - with consideration of optimum development potentials as well as limitations of location presented by soil and climatic conditions prevailing in a particular geographic region. No soluble fertilisers or synthetic chemicals permitted.

Bio-dynamic Grade B:

In conversion to Bio-dynamics.

The Green Line supports certified growers and growers working towards certification. By pooling our regular shopping dollars through The Green Line we do make a difference in ensuring a sustainable organics industry.

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