Story & photo Kate O’Neill
If you’re a fan of organic produce but can’t stand the fact that supermarkets continue to wrap it in plastic, there is an answer – buy your organic produce at the farmers’ markets.
The Byron Shire community is spoilt for choice when it comes to fresh local organic produce, with at least ten certified organic stalls at Mullumbimby Farmers Market and six at New Brighton Farmers Market, offering a wide range of organic vegetables, fruit, nuts, coffee, eggs, jams, sauces and more.
To celebrate Australian Organic Awareness Month, we spoke to local grower and organic educator, David Forrest, of Organic Forrest Farm at Federal, about why shoppers should buy organic, and why certification is important.
‘Certified Organic farming provides customers with the opportunity to support their health while also supporting a verified environmentally-sound production system,’ says David. ‘Support for organic farmers is a partnership creating healthy soil, health-giving plants, and healthy local ecosystems. Research has shown better nutrition through higher levels of minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols, carbon sequestration, clean water and air, and higher biodiversity on certified organic farms.’
David says organic certification has underpinned the growth of organics as it provides a definition to what is organic, and a marketplace quality assurance system. ‘There is a requirement to document the production process and inputs for all crop cycles and management activities. These records, coupled with farm inspections, provide a validation that customers are getting what they expect of organic food, and that the farm is not causing environmental damage. Farmers are happy to carry this out so customers know their purchase is helping to create a greener world.’
For more information about local organic farms and farming practices, look up TROPO (the Tweed Richmond Organic Producers Organisation), or visit their insta account @troponorthernrivers.