Much has happened over the last few years, but what has been consistent and exciting is the overall positive move to more ethical and sustainable farming practices, and the overwhelming need of many people to live more ethical and sustainable lives.
As an organic farmer who grows and produces organic olives, chilli and herbs for market and retail, and food/vegetables for my own use, the past 2 years have proven beyond doubt that the consumer is becoming educated and is choosing healthy ethically grown food over nutritionally dead and chemically grown food.
My reasons for this conclusion are as follows:
- Cape Town area has over thirty farmers markets versus only 4 two years ago. That’s a lot of growth in only two years!
- These markets give prominence to and choose growers of organic foods first.
- If you google the other centers/cities you will see the same growth curve.
- Virtually every magazine has articles on the subject and advertise these farmers markets and health Delis and outlets.
- I personally get many enquiries for my products because they are organic.
- I have just returned from taking part in the Natural & Organic Expo in Johannesburg, and it is mind blowing how this sector has grown and developed.
- I am secretary and a Director of SAOSO (South African Organic Sector Organisation) which together with the DTI and Department of Agriculture are working towards getting the Organic sector registered and regulated by the end of this year. That means we will have our own SA Organic Standards versus using EU and American standards, and that we are finally being given recognition and support from Government. Why? Because of supply and demand.
Bring together supply and demand
And it is that supply and demand that is the point of this communication. The demand for healthy, sustainably and ethically grown food is fast outstripping the supply.
We are in the worst environmental crisis of all time, and the worst health crisis of all time. What else do we want to see happen before we start doing things differently and take responsibility for our own actions?
I have been fortunate in having a group of highly skilled and motivated people join me in forming an association/initiative called LIVE UNPLUGGED. We are meeting on my farm Buffelshoek outside Van Wyksdorp on Sunday 19th September and I invite you to attend.
Organic training and opportunities
We want this initiative to benefit farmer and consumer alike by providing the following:
- Training for farmers and growers on using organic methods to grow their fruit and vegetables.
- Organic and natural inputs and pest management products. We have access to several products that are being used very successfully in SA. There will be a presentation on some of these at the meeting.
- Opportunities to grow organic seeds, and provide this scarce, essential and highly sought after resource to other growers and farmers. We have an expert from a Seed company as a member who will make a presentation at the meeting.
- Introduction to the PGS certification system (Participatory Guarantee System) which is a peer reviewed, very affordable and user friendly system versus the very expensive and onerous certification systems we presently have in place. We have the SA expert in PGS from Johannesburg presenting the system to us at the meeting.
- IT, accounting and reporting systems for farmers to assist in the mountain of admin which besets us. We have an IT specialist as a member who will make a presentation at the meeting.
- An opportunity to be part of LIVE UNPLUGGED which will manage and facilitate the growing of healthy, nutritious and sustainably grown fruit and vegetables. We want you to be one of our growers or to join our team of service providers in providing whatever it is that your skill is.
- The produce grown by our group of growers/farmers will be made available to the public via box schemes, deliveries, and sold from local outlets managed by LIVE UNPLUGGED staff members, but owned by the farmers themselves via a gradual ownership scheme. We will do a full presentation at the meeting.
Join this initiative
Please would you send this story on to everyone you know who could have an interest in coming to the meeting. We must have RSVP s please so that we can be prepared for the numbers and provide chairs etc. Once we know who is coming, we will reply to all with directions and an Agenda.
I hope to hear from you soon! This is a unique opportunity whose time has come – do join us in an exciting day of creating your future with like-minded people.
Liz Eglington, Blue Sky Organics