Organic Agriculture – a clear pathway to Net-Zero

Organic Agriculture – a clear pathway to Net-Zero

I awoke this morning with a lump in my throat.  Hoping that the IPCC report didn’t confirm what we have all known.  Some have known for decades.  Others since the last natural disaster they or their business has had to endure.  What are we to teach and pass onto our children, if it cannot be the urgency and need for us to curb our desire for more and more, with less and less concern or consideration for the earth and its planetary boundaries.  Like a mother that feeds its young – sometimes almost to her own detriment.  So what does our country look like if a 1.5 degree rise by 2030 is in fact true.  What does it mean for our Pacific neighbours? For our communities still in recovery from the last drought, bushfires or floods? 

Organic Agriculture – the Next Generation..

With the Prime Minister announcing his ‘big moves’ to be in technology and hydrogen.  These ‘big moves’ although positive, come directly from the more production, higher yields, cheaper prices and commodity-capitalism mindset that got us into this mess in the first place.  I gasp for air, as I know personally the number of farmers and producers that are farming our land and feeding our nation that know agriculture is a huge part of the solution – if it were managed correctly with the right incentives for exemplary regenerative land management over time.  

Farmers and producers have been at the coal face of planetary boundaries for years.  Since Australia made its last feeble commitment to reducing our carbon footprint in 2005, I personally can recall enough bushfire events (from Black Saturday to the horrific events of the last Black Summer), to the worst floods in history, unprecedented cyclones, droughts and extreme natural disaster events across our country.  Too many to count on one hand, and should be too many for any producer to endure in one lifetime that alone in just 15 years.  What if we only have 60 harvest years left, what if the degradation of soils and water systems could be our last frontier?  Climatic change is upon us, urgency has surrounded us, and together we can watch with fear, act with courage, or pretend that someone else will be the change we are desperately hoping for.  I hope that you will call on your courage to be the change.  We need you now. 

ORICoop together with many contributors, advisors, farmers, producers, experts in their field and businesses are seeking to act on this urgency.  One step at a time.  Now.  We encourage you to take as many of these steps as you can.

  • Know your footprint – for your business, your household, your school
  • Reduce your footprint
    • Install solar, reduce your fossil fuel use
    • Reduce business and household waste
    • Reduce car/fuel use
    • Buy more food seasonally
    • Support local businesses with less of a footprint
    • Check food labels (less imports)
    • Reuse and Recycle fashion
    • Plant a garden, grown your own
  • If you are a farmer ….. (this one’s for you!)
    • Assess your farm sustainability footprint (ask us how)
    • Register your farm for Eco-Credits
    • Reduce your farm dependency on external inputs (urea, NPK fertilisers, fossil fuels)
    • Explore more direct, secure and efficient markets
    • Plan how to increase your carbon in soils and biodiversity (ask us how)
    • Slow down your water flow
    • Make a business resilience plan for your farm
    • Make a strategic plan for the next 10 years for your business
    • Record the natural capital assets that your farm holds
    • Include the value of your human capital in your natural capital

Perhaps join these forces that advocate for long term change.  Together we are stronger.

Today’s news pulls no punches.  For some the glimmer of hope lies in our pastures, in the soil, in the biodiversity and ecosystem that we all should take responsibility to look after.  Every meal we eat.  Every farmer we know. We all need to be part of the urgency in planetary care, of as much carbon drawdown as possible, and as little leach into the atmosphere as we can manage in our daily lives.  You’re part of it. As is your community.

As one climate scientist tweeted this morning:

As a climate scientist, I’d like you to know: I don’t have hope.  I have something better: certainty. 

We know exactly what’s causing climate change.

We can absolutely 1) avoid the worst and 2) build a better world in the process.

Environmental Sustainability Goals (ESG’s)
In Quarter 2 alone, the European Union has amended three major financial, investment, and insurance regulations to include “sustainability” (2021/1256, 2021/1255, 2021/1257). The SEC has formed a 22-person enforcement task force focused on scrutinizing Green Investments & Climate-Related Disclosures. Even the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), which groups market regulators from the United States, Europe and Asia, found that the Trillions of ESG-related investments are burdened with different frameworks, key indicators and metrics, relative weightings as well as qualitative judgement. We need business to lead with united values and urgency. 

At the core of Eco-Credit is the simple idea that data should be collected at the farm level, and that this data remains the property, and under the control, of the farmers. For the long term benefit, and to reward their land stewardship practices for carbon drawdown and preserving natural capital.  To actively demonstrate the capacity of every farmer and land steward to be part of a key part of our drawdown mission – one farm at a time.  With the ability to directly offset organic processors, businesses and financiers footprint – with full traceability and transparency.  

About ORICoop
ORICoop is a National Cooperative of organic and biodynamic farmers.  Of businesses and people that care about food, farms, people and the planet.  Together we can be the leaders of powerful systemic change, to bring value back to producers and landholders at the face of this risk, and demonstrate with our actions to uphold the provision of safe food and habitat for all planetary communities.  And for business to invest in this change, with the urgency of our future as the wind in their sails.  We believe through connecting land, people, business and ethical values we can be strong allies and enact solutions that together can be the change we all hope for.  And our children need to believe it will be enough.

ORICoop engages with Organic and Biodynamic Farmers collectively to demonstrate the direct relationship between healthy food, healthy farms and a healthy planet.  Did you realise that organic agriculture can and should be a leader in the mitigation of carbon drawdown?  See this latest article from FIBL on Organic Farming & Climate Change. A summarised list of these key features included here:-

  • Organic agriculture has considerable potential for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Organic agriculture in general requires less fossil fuel per hectare and kilo of produce due to the avoidance of synthetic fertilizers.
  • Organic agriculture can improve soil fertility and nitrogen supply by using leguminous crops, crop residues and cover crops.
  • The enhanced soil fertility leads to a stabilization of soil organic matter and in many cases to a sequestration of carbon dioxide into the soils.
  • This in turn increases the soil’s water retention capacity, thus contributing to better adaptation of organic agriculture under unpredictable climatic conditions with higher temperatures and uncertain precipitation levels. 
  • Organic production methods emphasizing soil carbon retention are most likely to withstand climatic challenges particularly in those countries most vulnerable to increased climate change. 
  • Soil erosion, an important source of CO2 losses, is reduced by organic agriculture and as a consequence prevents the loss of energy that would occur due to the embedded energy used in industrial agricultural systems.
  • Organic agriculture has the capacity to provide one (1) calorie of food energy for every calorie of energy utilized to produce that food. Typically industrial agriculture requires twenty (20) calories of energy primarily sourced from fossil fuel to produce a calorie of food, hence a higher carbon footprint
  • Organic agriculture can contribute substantially to agroforestry and mixed production systems.
  • Organic systems are highly adaptive to climate change due to the application of traditional skills and farmers’ knowledge, soil fertility-building techniques and a high degree of diversity.

The Way Forward

Our practical actions of supporting organic and biodynamic producers in our everyday lives is a key part of the solution to mitigating our climate emergency and carbon drawdown as a country.  At ORICoop we believe the more farmers that produce food more sustainably, the more land that is managed in a carbon negative manner and the healthier the food is, with a lesser carbon footprint.  It means taking responsibility and action for your business footprint as part of being a responsible citizen.  Every business and family can reduce their footprint and have an impact – and then offset what you can not reduce.  It means that we urgently need to own the overshoot of our lives.  Of business.  Of agriculture.  And drastically make changes today that can peel back the damage our excess of the last 50+ years has created.  

To find out more or to be involved in ORICoop you can join HERE.

#bethechange

#organicfarming

#planetarybalance

What are your End of Financial Year Goals?

What are your End of Financial Year Goals?

Empower the world you want to be part of ……

We know it’s been a rough year for many.  We are rallying support in the last days of the financial year towards organisations that continue to ‘do good’ through these tough times.  Here is our hot list for any tax deductible donations that align with your values …..

* Make a donation to ORICoop Bushfire Fund (tax deductible via AMF)

* Offset your carbon footprint directly with organic producers

* Support our friends at CERES  who continue to do incredible things across Melbourne
 
* Fifteen trees – buy your own tree to be planted and watch them grow

* Buy a carbon credit that goes directly to indigenous communities

* Trees for Life – connecting seeds with farmers one by one

* Buy a piece of rainforest – from just $2.50

* Bush Heritage – supporting bushland conservation

* Tasmanian Land Conservancy – preserving farmland in Tasmania

* Offset Earth – for only $2.50/week

* Firesticks – supporting Indigenous communities

* Organic Matters Foundation – Organic education and buy a tonne of carbon
*
Earthworker Cooperative – supporting businesses transitioning across the Latrobe Valley

  And your yearly financial health check up list!

 * Transfer your super to one that aligns with your investment criteria

* Review your banking (and mortgage choices) to an ethical one

* Switch your browser to Ecosia and plant some trees

* Close down that ‘extra’ credit card

* Invest your funds to enable ethical and sustainable returns that don’t cost the earth

Could your business achieve Net-Zero by EOFY 2021?

We are urgently calling on all ethical, organic, conscious businesses to aim for Net-Zero by the End of this Financial Year.    Let’s show some love for our planet!  Here is how you can start your journey….

* Calculate your carbon and environmental footprint
* Choose credits that align with your business values
* Reduce your footprint through best practice sustainability

Our newly released Eco-Credits can help you achieve this – while directly benefiting organic producers that are increasing the carbon across their farm businesses.  Key outcomes include:-

* Verified independent soil tests confirm carbon drawdown

* Quantification of biodiversity quality and density in every farm system

* Annual ecological reports (including natural capital)

* Eco-Credits™ are only offered once and then retired

* All purchasers receive an Offset Certificate to verify your offset

Apply for your Eco-Credit here

Or you can download an Eco-Credit Application Form here

Or contact us for more information

Volunteer and be part of the restoration from bushfires

Volunteer and be part of the restoration from bushfires

We are calling out to communities, businesses and farmers to continue to support bushfire affected organic farmers. ORICoop continues to walk with these farmers – and we need your help! You can register to volunteer for the upcoming ‘Organic Farm Blitz’, with a farm close to you. You can also contact us to coordinate an event, make seedpods, plant &/or grow seedlings or build native animal boxes. And we will ensure they get to your nearest bushfire affected farmers! EAST GIPPSLAND VOLUNTEERS You can join Chris & Christine from Blue Sky Organics, to assist them to plant trees, weed, and lend a hand in East Gippsland, not far from Bruthen over the coming months. And to assist with the planting of their 2021 crop in the Autumn (April & May). You can complete an Expression of interest HERE to register your interest directly with Blue Sky Organics in East Gippsland, and make sure you include when you are available over the coming months.  Chris & Christine will be in touch with those that register directly. During time in East Gippsland last February a few keen volunteers rallied to assist Soorya from Ontos Organics sort and process his garlic crop after he and his family were burnt out in January last year. Soorya runs a mixed organic farm, incorporating garlic, heritage seed and goats on their family farm. You can assist Ontos Organics farm, and learn about heritage seed and garlic harvesting by REGISTERING HERE. Work required includes weeding, sorting, processing and their ongoing recovery work.  It may be that you can help both Blue Sky and Ontos Organics over a weekend or visit to the wonderful Gipplsand Lakes region. BEGA VALLEY – NSW VOLUNTEERS Kaye & Gregg Saarinen of Saarinen Organics, from the Bega Valley were tragically burnt out over Black Summer. They grow organic herbs, and make lovely organic face and hand creams and salves from these products. They also utilise full solar in their processing, a unique and truly carbon neutral business model! They have much to rebuild – and are calling out for teams of 5-10 people to assist them to restore their fencing and rebuild their garden area over the coming months. If you are interested, you can complete an Expression of Interest HERE with Saarinen Organics farm located in the Bega Valley, and include when you are available. MID NORTH COAST – NSW VOLUNTEERS Plateau Organics (near Wingham) are situated on the Mid North Coast in NSW, a stunning certified organic farm high on the plateau.  One of the leading certified organic avocado and citrus producers in the region. We are keen to rally a small team of helpers to assist them in their rebuild, as they were devastated by fires on two seperate fire events last year. The work includes clearing around the trees, mulching and fertilising. This farm is remote, beautiful – and worth the time to experience such a plateau! Self contained accommodation is required for any interested volunteers and 4wd for access only. (or you can contact owners for further opportunities) You can complete an Expression of Interest HERE directly with Plateau Organics (located in NSW) Ideally they are looking for 1 or 2 keen singles or couples for 3-4 days between February & April, for mulching of trees, pruning and bushfire recovery of the fruit orchard. BRAIDWOOD (Sthn NSW) VOLUNTEERS Christina and John from PRANA produce need help to clean up wood after the fires, weeding and clearing areas that were bushfire affected. Ideally people that have their own tools (gloves, secateurs, even a wheelbarrow) and are keen to offer their hands and hard work for a day or two! A Saturday or Sunday in March would be fantastic. Happy with a few keen people or even a group of 20 could be of use. Lunch included. You can complete an Expression of Interest HERE for Prana Produce (near Braidwood) If there is not a farm in your area included – but you are keen to be involved, you can register your interest via our Volunteer Register HERE. There will be more Organic Farm Blitz opportunities over the coming months and will notify all those registered first. We are also considering having some city based events – where you can plant seeds, make seed bombs or native animal boxes.  Contact us if you are interested to be a host or fundraising champion! Over the past year the Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal has continued to support these farmers along their recovery journey. With donated inputs, professional organic farm advisory, soil tests, donations of trees, coordinating online zoom calls between affected farmers, and enabling the farmers to share their stories, we are incredibly grateful for the time we have spent with each of the farmers. And to all the businesses that have offered financial, personal and physical support. We want to give a huge shout out to the following supporters of the Organic Farmers Bushfires Appeal, that have donated towards the ongoing recovery of many of these farmers.
  • Dr Bronner – including their most recent appeal over January/February 2021
  • CERES – dedicating $5/box last Summer and providing facilities to process the garlic
  • BCCM – Bushfire Appeal grant funds to further extend the appeal
  • AgriSolutions – for Gerhards ongoing farm support and advisory
  • Organic Advisory Services – for Greg’s ongoing farm support and advisory
  • Nutri-Soil – for generous organic input donations
  • Vitec – for generous organic input donations
  • Omnia – for generous organic input donations
  • Australian Kelp – for generous organic input donations
  • Converte Plant Food – for generous organic input donations
  • Bio-Tech Organics – for on-farm support and advisory
  • EAL – for generous at-cost soil tests for all farmers included in Appeal
  • 15 Trees – for their donations of trees and ongoing support into the next year
  • Southern Cross Certified, for reduced certification for bushfire affected farmers
  • Elmore Compost – for donation of organic compost
  • Peats Soil –for donation of organic compost
  • Benalla Mushroom Compost – for donation of organic compost
  • Organic Market & CAFE in South Australia for their fundraising efforts
  • Dunn & Walton in Western Australia dedicating coffee sales to bushfire appeal
  • Gung-Hoe Growers for their champion fundraising efforts
  • Next Rural – for their support in transition and succession discussions
  • Sheia from Life Force Farm – for her business reset coaching
  • Organic Angels – for their ongoing donations
  • Eva Perroni – for her ongoing storytelling capacity for these farmers
  • Jade Miles – for hosting our zoom connect meets for our farmers
  • And …. our Bushfire Committee (Antony, Hugh, Christine & Carolyn) that have steered this ship through the seas!
ORICoop is pleased to continue working with many businesses across different steps of the bushfire appeal.  We are calling for sponsors interested to support these Organic Farm Blitz projects as per above.  Any donations can be tax deductible, thanks to the generous support from Australian Mutuals Foundation (select bushfire appeal) Your business can get involved by:-
  • Sending a team to a farm for a team building weekend (teams of 3 – 20 welcome)
  • Donating/sponsoring the food required for each weekend (organic of course)
  • Sponsor an Organic Farm Blitz in your area (Sponsorship can be tax deductible)
Contact us to pledge your support.  Or drop us an email admin@organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au You personally can show your own support by: Any other suggestions contact us at admin@organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au – and show your support for these courageous farmers! We honour and celebrate these farmers, for their courage, resilience and digging deep over the past year.  We encourage you to remember and reach out to them.  Buy some of their product or volunteer a weekend with your workplace to lend a hand. ORICoop Bushfire Committee
Bushfire recovery that restores ecological hope

Bushfire recovery that restores ecological hope

Earlier this year as part of the Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal, we put out a call for people to support our friends in East Gippsland and purchase trees for landholders in areas that had been devastated by the February fires. Many people heard the call, and together with 15Trees we were able to offer Chris and Christine Watts, of Blue Sky Organics, 100 trees (and guards) for a revegetation project that will help restore native bushland. Organic farmers were heavily impacted by the bushfires across many areas of south east Australia and the Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal continues to support each farmer in ways that they need.

Blue Sky Organics is a family farming venture located in the East Gippsland located on the Murrindal River, VIC. Their family team consists of Madeline, Talsy, Jaklan, parents Chris and Christine Watts and grandparent Ian Watts. Last month, 100 native trees and shrubs were planted out along their creek beds, a true family affair!

A note from Christine ‘We had some significant pockets of gorgeous gullies and creeks etc before the fires. Alas not so gorgeous now! And so we have concentrated our revegetation efforts in these areas. The creek banks are a priority as the trees will stabilise the banks (roots hold the soil together), provide habitat to native wildlife and help keep the creek water clean (so important for down stream ecology).

The bush up the back has not come back at all yet. We are still hopeful. We will not re-plant there as it is rocky and mountainous. Nature is going to have to do her own thing there.

We are actually wildlife rescuers and we do have a particular love of wombats. The wildlife here suffered immensely with the bushfires.  Simply heart-breaking. I guess I would like people to understand that wildlife need us to care and regenerate their land. And with the help of Fifteen Trees and ORICoop we can make a start.’

Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way.  Christine Watts | Owner | Blue Sky Organics

ORICoop is pleased to be working with Fifteen Trees to continue to raise the funds needed to purchase 1500 trees (+ tree guards) for this district and other affected by bushfires over the last Black Summer. If you are interested to support you are invited to contribute to this ongoing support. Colleen from Fifteen Trees will keep a tally of all trees purchased and offer more trees to this area in 2021.

This past summer was one of the most challenging Australian seasons ever and giving support to East Gippsland will be an on-going commitment.

You can offer your support by:

And remember that many of these farmers are a long way from being ‘out of the woods’.  Many are still dealing with the heartbreak of last Summer.  Many are still managing their recovery and getting their business back on track.  ORICoop is excited to continue to walk with them, and to support each of them in their journey towards recovery.

Carolyn Suggate (ORICoop) & Colleen Filippa (Fifteen Trees)

 

ORICoop Online Workshop Series launches

ORICoop Online Workshop Series launches

“Never has it been more necessary to find solidarity with those whose values align and more important to garner skills from those who have beaten the path before us.  ORICoop with the support of BCCM have created an online workshop series to help us all build skills and community.  With a 90% subsidy being offered by BCCM, a broad range of topics, guest speakers and interactive Q and A time on each gathering, its a low cost, high value offer that can all be booked and undertaken online by clicking here – book into one or all five”
The Co-operative Farming program offers a 90% bursary for this course. You can find out more and apply at https://coopfarming.coop/learn/educational-bursaries/. Subject to approval, you will receive a discount code that you should apply at the checkout, this will ensure your payment is reduced to 10%.

1. Community driven business structures  – Thursday 3rd Dec 6.30pm-7.45pm 2020 and Thursday 10th December 6.30pm – 7.45 2020

Eager to connect with your fellow growers and find ways to get your food to a local, engaged and appreciative audience. Hear from those who’ve trodden this path already, hear first hand about their wins, challenges, growing pains and opportunities. Most importantly ask the questions which allow you to consider what will work for you and meet other growers and producers on a similar trajectory.

Book HERE

2. Getting to Know Your Region and Community – 4th February 6pm – 7.45pm and 11th Feb, 6pm – 7.45pm

While every community beats to a different drum, many follow similar patterns and the insights of others who’ve observed and engaged in community building is a valuable process to support you in your existing efforts or as a foundation of knowledge before you begin.  Meet food system pioneers, leapfrog with their learnings and kickstart or reboot your own efforts to work collaboratively as a whole community.

Book Here


3.Taking Your Collective Business Online – 25th March and 1st April, 6pm – 7.45pm

While we know the increasing influence of online marketplaces, Covid showed us just how powerful it can be for farmers wanting to diversify their paths to market, work collaboratively and be the price maker for their hard grown produce. Learn practical skills, loopholes and opportunities from those who’ve done it and specialise in supporting you to do it too.

Book Here

4. Resilience in Your Business – 22nd April 2021, 6pm – 7.45pm

Business stability is about being diverse yet focussed, nimble yet strategic, committed yet open to change, having an excellent relationship with your market and always looking to the horizon of innovation and adaptation. Learn from farmers who’ve developed business plans in consideration of these complexities and seek advice and guidance relevant to your specific farming and business needs.

Book Here

5.Transitional Ownership Pathways to next generation, 13th May 2021, 6pm – 7.45pm

Succession planning is one of the single greatest threats to farming enterprises yet when undertaken successfully, one of the most powerful and rewarding aspects. The complexity of building a successful succession plan is a well trodden path and our expert panel will share a diverse range of case studies of well executed plans, and some of the common pitfalls.

Book Here

Any enquiries can be sent to admin@organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au

What is your carbon footprint?

What is your carbon footprint?

The Organic and Regenerative Investment Co-operative (ORICoop) is focussed on bringing together farmers, friends and businesses for the better. ORICoop exists to increase the productivity and profitability of organically and regeneratively managed land in Australia, while supporting farmers to be better land stewards of our ecological farming systems. We support organic and biodynamic farms to transition their agricultural businesses for the better. This builds a more resilient Australian food and farming economy that can change the way our farmers do business … for the long term.

WHAT IS THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF YOUR BUSINESS?

We are excited to announce the creation of a direct Business-to-Farm carbon and ecological offset.

The Eco-Credit™

Bringing together farmers interested to drawdown carbon – and in the process offset the carbon footprint of business.  Eco-Credits™ are a credible and definable instrument to measure ecological health, whilst enabling business to OFFSET their carbon footprint.  A true WIN-WIN between conscious businesses and ecological farm stewards, that supports our planet for the long term better.

ORICoop has created Eco-Credits™ so conscious businesses and individuals can offset their carbon footprint, with direct, measurable and tangible outcomes. Eco-Credits™ are deployed to selected organic farmers who commit Eco-Credits™ to their farmland.  These credits are independently and annually verified using the latest technology and measurement parameters.  Each business receives a report provided by the collective of farm contributors each year – detailing what the Eco-Credit™ collective outcome has achieved in terms of carbon offset and ecological health.

 Purchase Eco-Credit’s here

Eco-Credits™ – ‘An ecological and farmer driven market instrument that offers a pathway to a stronger and more robust organic farming industry.  That is empowered to withstand market pressures on farm production systems, together with sustainable and measured outcomes.  Demonstrated via shorter supply chains, better food security, reliable market data, and a transparent market that enables farmers to achieve the best value for their work.’

The Vision:-

  • Vitalise capital to connect business, food and farming for better long term outcomes
  • Enable farmers to benefit from the value of natural capital in their farming systems
  • Connect business and individual carbon offsets directly to farmers
  • Align with accredited stewardship measures and outcomes

 

HOW CAN FARMERS REGISTER FOR the ECO-CREDIT™ PROGRAM?

Farmers around Australia have a massive opportunity to draw down carbon into their farms both above and below ground through best practice ecological stewardship. Farmers can be rewarded for improving the land that they manage, and the carbon that is sequestered terrestrially via biodiversity enrichment and through an increase in soil organic carbon.  Eco-Credits™ are deployed directly to organic and regenerative farmers – that are committed to increase the amount of carbon stored in their soil and to honour the value of water, soil, ecological health and biodiversity in their organic and agroecological farming systems.

Key measurable outcomes of Eco-Credits™ include:

  • Increase in sequestered carbon in soil, trees and biomass
  • Increase in biodiversity quality, area and ecosystem health
  • Healthier soils and water
  • Increase in birdlife and endangered wildlife
  • Permanency and verifiable
  • Market Transformational
  • Environmental and social co-benefits

Organic farms can REGISTER HERE for the next Eco-Credit project