Farm Fresh Organics
Sunday 1 May 2005 9.00am to 12.30pm $40
Visits to 2 Organic Farms showcasing natural nutrition and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
Glasshouse country is good farming country with prosperous, no-nonsense towns like Beerburrum, Glasshouse Mountains, Beerwah, Peachester, Landsborough and Mooloolah.
Wedged between the coast and the range, the area has long been ignored by visitors in their hurry to reach other destinations. However, things have been happening in these towns and the surrounding farmland. The natural beauty of the area has been discovered. The population has been growing rapidly and the type of farming is changing.
Three years ago Sandy Creek Organic Farm was established on a 35-hectare farm, previously used for growing tobacco. Since then it has become a market farm, growing approximately 40 different vegetables and selling direct to consumers by subscription. Currently there is approximately 2-3 hectares of intensive organically grown vegetables.
At around the same time, not far away, a 6-hectare strawberry farm was purchased wityh a similar aim in mind: the strawberry growing continued and most of the area has been converted to a certified organic and biodynamic farm. They now grow at least 28,000 organic strawberry plants. They will demonstrate and explain strawberry growing processes, particular differences in approach between conventional and organic farming of the berries. At the time of the tour the plants will be well established and there is a slim possibility of ripe fruit, depending on the weather.
Both farms are certified organic, through Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA). To maintain organic farming standards, the BFA conducts regular and impromptu audits to check for customers that growers are following organic practices. As well as barring synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, the organic standards promote biodiversity on and off farm.
The closeness of both farms to large population centres enables direct selling of produce to consumers and value-added outlets such as restaurants.
Sandy Creek Organic Farm is enjoying considerable success in introducing the exciting concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to the area. The strawberry farm has also embarked on CSA practices.
The tour guide will be Robert Pekin of Food Connect, a well known facilitator of CSA development in south east Queensland. Robert will help outline CSA processes along with Les Nicholls.
Community Supported Agriculture encourages local, environmentally sustainable food production, supporting both farmers and consumers alike. CSA originated in the 1960s in Switzerland and Japan, where consumers wanting safe food and farmers seeking stable crop markets joined together in economic partnerships. It's grown rapidly in North America and Europe.
A mutual partnership between farmer/producer and a community of consumers provides direct economic and social links between quality food production and consumption. Essentially, CSA aims for supporters to cover all, or part of a farm's yearly operating budget by committing to purchasing a share of the season's harvest - up front - with no agent or distributor in between.
The tour participants will focus on issues and techniques of multi-crop organic farming as well as CSA practices, including challenges of scheduling and growing many crops in the same field.
For EcoTour bookings or for further information about the Maleny Wood Expo 2005, contact the Wood Expo office on (07) 5429 6566, email email@example.com or visit our web-site www.malenywoodexpo.com
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