Our organic farmers need you!
Organic and biodynamic farmers are in the direct line of the NSW and QLD bushfires. You can support them directly HERE
Numerous certified organic producers are in imminent danger, but due to their farming enterprises cannot leave their farm. Others continue to face the waiting game of fires in their direct surrounding areas. Benmar Farm (pictured above) and Marook Farm are under ongoing threat from multiple fire fronts. Together with other certified organic producers on the NSW Mid-North Coast
Help keep stock alive
Did you know that organic farmers are not able to accept the offered fodder by some of the fantastic charities – as it would jeopardise their organic certification. Farmers urgently need help to keep their stock alive, recover from the fires and retain their organic certification. We are aiming to raise $14,000 for a B-double load of certified organic fodder from Victorian organic farmers. It will enable farmers to continue to farm and deliver their exceptional certified organic products to the shelves of your local food store.
Hear directly from farmers about the current challenges they are facing here.
The Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal is coordinated by ORICoop. ORICoop is working with local charities in each region to get our farmers back on their farms growing organic food and fibre. All donations received will be overseen by our regional representatives & an ORICoop Board member to ensure that the funds get to those that need it most.
Other ways to help
- Encourage your customers to make a contribution at the till – contact ORICoop for more information
- Spread the word amongst your networks!
- Help with supply of organic fodder or temporary agistment – register your interest here.
- Contribute your ideas for land rejuvenation – contact ORICoop here
- Spread the word!
- Lend a hand to farmers in NSW & Qld post-fires – register your interest here.
- Consider WWOOFing
- Help amplify the reach of this fundraising appeal – contact ORICoop if you are a logistics expert, wordsmith or PR/marketing guru.
- Spread the word on social media and through your networks!
Are you affected by the bushfires as an organic grower or producer?
Please contact us at ORICoop with details of what support you require.
We aim to launch a further appeal following this one, to raise funds for:
- Bulk grain purchase
- Certified organic agistment
- Transport to suitable interim organic farmland
- Replacement of farm equipment, farm structures and implements on organic farms
Thank you for your support! You can donate HERE to assist farmers directly with organic fodder.
A reflection from Heidi, of Marrook Farm. A Certified Biodynamic Dairy in NSW, near Taree.
Our situation currently is that we have been in drought for the last three years with increasing severity. In many previous years we have been self-sufficient in feed, making silage for winter feed. However due to the ongoing drought, we have had to bring three large loads of hay from Victoria. Currently, we are contemplating another load as feed in the pasture is minimal from the drought. We are lucky to have running water, unlike others nearby.
At present the Bulga Plateau, where we live, is surrounded by fires. Since the fire went through our neighbouring village, Bobin, just a few Friday’s ago, we had spent days in preparation, keeping the cows near the dairy and feeding more hay than we would normally have been. That Friday, the power and all phone communications went out. We have a generator at the dairy and factory so continue to milk twice a day. The phones came back on Thursday last week, which helps. We were not able to send out our truck with the week’s milk production due to the fire situation, and the danger to the drivers and trucks. Luckily, yesterday, due to the great help of friends and a vehicle going ahead to clear trees off the road we were able to send the truck out, so all our products will have a week less use by than usual. Last week I made fetta rather than yoghurt, as we had no space in the cool room to store any more and our workers have left the mountain due to the fire situation. Today I have made kefir as usual hoping to get orders out next Monday.
The closest the fire has come is one kilometre away from us two days ago. So we were on high alert, especially as we also have a 93 year old neighbour staying with us as his sons fight the fires. Thankfully there was a lot of water bombing and crews on the ground, and they held it at the road. Most days it is a waiting game and the situation changes with the wind. They are hoping to have the power restored by Thursday this week, which would astound me, as it is very rugged terrain they have to traverse, and they have lost a lot of poles. We are communicating by intermittent mobile phone mainly and a satellite NBN. UHF radius with neighbours was a great help
People must understand that farmers are feeling exhausted from the intense drought situation in NE NSW, and adding a fire to this will be financially & environmentally catastrophic for years to come.
** Support Organic & Biodynamic Farmers, donate to the Campaign HERE. Buy local. Support farmers that are resilient and surviving one of the toughest droughts in history.
400 Acres has been certified organic for more than 15 years supplying Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia. Irrigating more than 400 acres in North East Victoria, Doug Fehring of 400 Acres runs an organic dairy operation which shares some of its acreage with a pair of young brothers running a free-range egg enterprise. The painted ‘wheeled henhouse’ engages the principles of sustainability by travelling in the wake of a grazing organic dairy herd. Each day the chooks feast on the grubs growing in the cow pats, scratching the soil and spreading their own brand of goodness on the pasture as they go.
Starting out as conventional farmers, the Fehring’s had developed a “more on” mentality until more on didn’t work any more! This drove the quest to find out more about soil biology and ecology, which led to the discovery of how biological farming could improve both soil health and the overall health of the farming ecosystem. Experimentation with organic agricultural techniques finally led to organic certification.
The Fehring’s have employed a young girl that loves cows and is enthusiastically learning how to work in conjunction with nature rather than trying to control nature across the four seasons. Under the Fehring’s guidance, this young farmhand is learning how to be proactive and resilient, circumventing potential future issues through good ecological management in the present.
400 Acres joined the Organic Dairy Farmers Cooperative while it was still in its infancy nearly 15 years ago. “Since joining we have continually received a premium over and above conventional milk price and have never had a step down in price.”
“I like the concept of a ORICoop and can see that there is a need for a better connection between the end user of organic products and the producers of the products.”
By Doug Fehring, Edited by Eva Perroni
Nestled 750 metres above sea level, in the cool climate of Stanley, Victoria, Black Barn Farm is a biodiverse orchard, nursery and learning space. Home to the Showers family, Black Barn Farm is a permaculture-based horticultural operation, where they grow a rich variety of apples, pears, quince and berries, among some perennial herbs and vegetables, with more than 50 varieties spread across their 23 acres. Their produce supplies the local farmers markets and is open to the public for pick-your-own adventures. The Showers also operate a fruit tree and perennial plant nursery and run regular feasts, gatherings, workshops and other events, often in partnership with other local fair food advocates. Fostering a diverse orchard ecosystem, the Showers understand that healthy, nutrient-dense food comes from maximum tree nutrition which comes from super healthy soils – that takes time, biomass, biodiversity and carefully managed disturbance. Stanley Apples, pears, cherries, chestnuts, walnuts and berries all have a long history in Stanley, where the locals turned to horticulture after the gold rush. At its peak, there were more than 30 families earning a living as orchardists, but as the Australian food system became more centralised and concentrated, these farming families have been whittled down to just a handful. Moving to Stanley 18 years ago, the Showers watched small family-owned operations struggle to make a living in a supermarket dominated world, pulling up walnut trees and their families’ history with them. After a study tour of Vermont, USA, where they experienced a truly localised and resilient food system, the Showers decided to start their own orchard business and community-owned food co-operative in Beechworth, the start of a big journey for improved food security and sovereignty in North East Victoria. Life on the Farm Cold sub-alpine frosty re-setting winters with regular snow is downtime on Black Barn Farms, a time for hibernation and renewal in preparation for the busy year ahead. Spring slowly arrives with short-lived bursts of warmth kicking off the tree grafting season, before arriving in full wonder with amazing orchard blossoms, bees and fruitlets giving an idea of the fruitful bounty to come. Summer sees the orchard spring to life with berries, cherries and early apples for picking, days spent swimming in the dam and checking irrigation lines. Autumn is into the thick of apple, pear and quince season as the harvest hits full swing, with the end of a hard-working season leaving the family looking forward to a rest again over winter. Why Regenerative? The Showers Family are motivated to live a simple, rewarding, community entrenched and seasonally-based life where they can earn a living from a sustainable and regenerative source. Part of the local food revolution and building a sustainable local food system, the Showers have chosen a farming system that best aligns with permaculture-inspired philosophy and goals to increase food security and build community in their local area. “We are not certified, we are radically transparent and operate with the full trust of our customers who buy direct from us in full knowledge of how and why we farm the way we do. We believe in simple, minimal overhead approaches where relationships are valued and supply chains are purposefully short! We don’t farm organically because of opportunities or premiums, we farm regeneratively for the permanence of our culture.” “We joined ORICoop to support the development of an organisation that changes our food system for the better. Promoting and driving new investment in organic and regenerative farming starts to change the way our culture values its food system, improving food security and food sovereignty. Reflections with Thanks to Charlie Showers & Eva Perroni ”
New bill will be first step by ministers to protect and restore soil as fears grow over a future soil fertility crisis
A new bill will be brought before parliament this year mandating, for the first time, measures and targets to preserve and improve the health of the UK’s soils, amid growing concern that we are sleepwalking into a crisis of soil fertility that could destroy our ability to feed ourselves.