The Organic & Regenerative Investment Cooperative kicked off the Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal with the fires in November 2020.  What started as a $12,000 load of hay to NSW bushfire affected farmers has grown into a significant appeal. Now capturing more than $324,000 (including financial, donations & in-kind support) in value, this has directly benefited each of the bushfire affected organic farmers in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia!  

Collectively between supportive organic farmers, best practice organic advisors, volunteer teams, our bushfire committee and donors, ORICoop has brought together a band of knowledge, experience and learnings. This network can only enhance the long term resilience and benefit of the organic industry.  We thank each of you – and we are not finished yet!

Breakdown of $324,000 raised (and mostly distributed) bushfire appeal funds so far includes:-

  • $89,000 cash raised
  • $28,907 donated organic inputs
  • $72,000 donated organic fodder
  • $14,611 freight subsidy (fodder)
  • $85,000 donated professional time
  • $35,000 donated volunteer coordination

Best Practice Organic Farm Expertise

For many of the bushfire affected farmers – the best ‘value’ of the Appeal, has been their appointed volunteer bushfire recovery consultant.  They have walked through the biology (courtesy of AgPath) and soil nutrient (EAL) tests with each farmer.  From this data they identified the effect of the bushfires and the needs of their farm recovery.  Together with ascertaining the physical damage and parameters using a Visual Soil Assessment and photos, these farmers are now on their road to recovery.  Though the journey ahead is likely to be long and hard, the farmers won’t be walking alone.

Donated organic inputs

We would like to pay tribute to the organic input providers that have generously supported this Appeal.  These are all organically certified products – and each has been tailored to the needs of these farms and their recovery.  

Where to from here?

The Bushfire Committee is currently finalising the last of the applications for the Appeal and putting in place plans for ongoing support of the fire affected farmers.  Now with the COVID-19 restrictions easing, the Committee is looking forward to finalising plans around bushfire recovery workshops and volunteer projects.  

Volunteering opportunities

ORICoop has a need for volunteers to assist with the following (depending on the COVID-19 restrictions of course)

  • Coordinated tree planting days
  • Native tree fundraisers in your region
  • Native animal box making
  • Weed blitz days
  • Bushfire recovery workshop coordination
  • Marketing assistance
  • Volunteer Coordination assistance

Register to be a volunteer HERE

Fundraising and community networking

Contact us if you are interested in hosting a community fundraiser – with funds to support bushfire affected organic farmers in your closest region.  ORICoop is keen to see these farmers be supported for the long term.  For some this is going to take months to years to recover.  Ongoing community support for these farmers to continue is very important.  Some of the farms have lost 30-40% of their orchards, with much of the bushland and wildlife destroyed.  Many have lost infrastructure not least fencing, thousands of metres of irrigation and annual fodder stores.

Farmers tell their stories

We look forward to sharing more about these farmers, and their courageous stories of resilience and recovery.  Christine Watts and Kym Green joined Carolyn, talking about the Bushfire Appeal as part of the Farming Secrets Summit HERE    Both of these farmers show much courage and grit from the devastation they felt.  And the heart behind their farming choices.

You can also catch up with more stories around the Bushfires, in our upcoming BioLogical Journal.  And you can follow our Instagram page HERE.

Stay Well – and now more than ever, support your local organic farmers!  

(photos supplied by Kym Green – credit to Nutri-Soil for their generous donations!)

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