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 Post subject: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 15:10 
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Doing the usual shopping trip through the supermarket yesterday and came across some ginger in the fresh food section labelled 'Ecoganic' and thought to myself ....hmmmm?

Id never heard of that term before so I fired up the google machine last night to work out its definition. Seems it has been around a while so most have probably heard of it before. To my understanding its the label used because of the ever tightening scrutiny over organic certification.

Im in two minds over this one. Partly Im not surprised that this definition has been created due to the overwhelming strenuous, time-consuming, paperwork-filled, expensive process to obtain organic certification and there would be many businesses out there that are probably sick to death of going through the red tape just so some government body can give them an expensive certificate even though they could have been doing the right thing for decades or more.

But then there is the other side of the coin, we probably need these certifications to scrutinise those feeding us chemicals. And theres nothing stopping these companies/farms giving themselves the 'ecoganic' label tricking people into believing they are providing eco friendly or organic produce.

What are your thought?

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 15:14 
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Meh.

I don't really care since AP produce cant be organic. Well the fish can be if you grow them in conditions that are less than ideal for the fish.

The organic certification isn't done by the government but by private certifying bodies. It can be gamed and is so I don't put much trust in the certified labels.

I like buying my food from people I know and trust, much better than any certification.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 15:26 
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ecoganic, sounds like the food version of the crap they make up for anti aging creams.
revitalift and youthagen and no-oldcreamacule, etc.

just made up marketing shit that doesnt mean a single thing as far as im concerned.


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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 16:29 
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Hi Charlie, I hadn't heard of it either, and l worked in the sustainable agriculture sector up until a couple of years ago. Looks like it derived from the very successful eco-bananas marketing campaign from several years back with the red wax on the ends to identify them. It is not an organic certification, rather it is an environmental certification based on ISO 14001 compliant Environment Management System. 'Enviromeat' here in Gippsland is a similar certification developed by farmers who wanted to demonstrate their environmental credentials (ISO 14001 EMS) as well as meeting meat quality standards.

I am not sure what the organic industry would think about the use of a word that is very similar to 'organic'. The trouble with some of the 'organic' certifications is that in the early days, they focused on 'natural' inputs rather than environmental management. Organic certification also leaves out those responsible producers who want to demonstrate that they are caring for the environment while not necessarily being strictly organic (ie. they may want to use veterinary products for their stock welfare that would be precluded by organic certification, or control persistent weeds using a combination of methods including chemicals).

I have some sympathy for Stuart and Yav's comments - just don't get me started on current 'freerange egg' labelling and the farce of 'barn raised or laid'!!! However, we do need a way that gives consumers some idea and, hopefully, assurance that the food they choose is grown to particular standards. It pays to check out the credentials of the labels and certifying bodies in case it is just 'greenwash' to suck in consumers.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 16:40 
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Good info Joc. My search did fall on the banana too, didn't realise they were the inspiration.

I agree with the free range eggs or 'non-cage' eggs. Along the lines of Yavs comments, marketing techniques. Its a shame as Im sure it catches out the greater public.

Who actually does the organic certifying Stu/Joc? Is it a particular company or many options? I always considered AP to be the most organic type of farming there is but then you start looking into the feeds and component products and it starts making sense that it too is a difficult one to include.

Aaah, its a strange world we live in.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 16:50 
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We've looked into ecoganic a bit here, but not tried to register as yet. I've been growing cherries organically for 20 years and sell them as such, but they are not certified organic, as it just isn't worth the hassle and expense for my small orchard. Same with our chooks, we feed them certified organic grain etc, and they don't get any chemical treatments, antibiotics in food etc, and are truly free-range at well under 500 birds/ha in the orchard.
However, I wont be dipping each cherry in red wax!

My fish do get some organically grown worms and maggots, but mostly its Ridleys or Skrettings, but there may be some organic pellets available in the not too distant future from a big manufacturer. Whilst my soil-less gravel GBs cant be certified organic, I think my WBs in the large system perhaps could be, as they are soil as in an organic dirt garden.

Joc, spotting greenwashing is one of my hobbies :) There's a lot of it about.

Charlie, there are a number of organic certifying bodies in Australia, including Biological Farmers of Australia (but don't get me started on "500"!), NASAA, ACO, and a few others I cant think of off hand.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 16:53 
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There are about three main certifying organisations. NASA, Australian Certified Organics (or something) and the Biodynamic mob. There are a few others but they are not as popular/prominent.

Aquaponics CANT be certified organic because the governement regulations that the certifying bodies administer state that plants must be grown in soil. Which is rather tough for any water plants or things that are naturally grown in gravel like cress or wasabi.

The fish can be certified organic if they meet a series of animal husbandry requirements and pharmaceutical limits. The feed you can use and the medications are actually quite lenient.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 17:43 
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Stuart Chignell wrote:
There are about three main certifying organisations. NASA...


I think you'll find NASA is more concerned with firing rockets into space than growing rocket ;) NASAA on the other hand...

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 3rd, '15, 18:07 
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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '15, 05:53 
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See, your situation is a perfect example of someone doing the right thing Gunna. It must be frustrating.

I don't think organic certification is a big thing just yet, but it will be when we become better educated. There are many parts of Australia (using Oz in an example) that don't even have fresh produce available, let alone organically certified. As I spent most of my upbringing in desert rural western australia I can say for a fact that 'organic' is not a word commonly used and I doubt it will for a very long time. Id say its similar for any places that are not in farming areas. AP could make this a reality if it wasn't for the red tape.

What gets right up my nose about 'OC' is shouldn't it be encouraged? Why should you pay to have this certification? Shouldn't it be the other way around. A farmer should be rewarded for using organic farming methods, not having another bill to pay. Seems counter productive.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '15, 06:18 
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Stuart Chignell wrote:
Aquaponics CANT be certified organic because the governement regulations that the certifying bodies administer state that plants must be grown in soil. Which is rather tough for any water plants or things that are naturally grown in gravel like cress or wasabi.


Some paddocks I've seen farmed are more gravel/rock rather than soil yet they could be certified organic if the farmer wished too.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 4th, '15, 11:47 
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Yes but that would be natural rock farming.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 5th, '15, 14:57 
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arbe wrote:
Stuart Chignell wrote:
Aquaponics CANT be certified organic because the governement regulations that the certifying bodies administer state that plants must be grown in soil. Which is rather tough for any water plants or things that are naturally grown in gravel like cress or wasabi.


Some paddocks I've seen farmed are more gravel/rock rather than soil yet they could be certified organic if the farmer wished too.

arbe wrote:
Stuart Chignell wrote:
Aquaponics CANT be certified organic because the governement regulations that the certifying bodies administer state that plants must be grown in soil. Which is rather tough for any water plants or things that are naturally grown in gravel like cress or wasabi.


Some paddocks I've seen farmed are more gravel/rock rather than soil yet they could be certified organic if the farmer wished too.


I have the same regulatory issues here in Canada. Apparently not so in the USA, but I'll let others chime in on that. :?
However, you got me thinking, and first of all, the wicking bed should absolutely be certifiable, (as may I be :-P ) but so may an AP system be if approached correctly. Now I'm not saying that the cert org would agree, but if you really cared, you could argue as follows:
Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids, and countless organisms that together support plant life. (as per Wiki, but other definitions are functionally equal)
My GBs full of Volcanic rock (minerals) fish manure (organic matter) air, water, and bacteria. seem to meet that definition really well. I just supply a constant feed of organic material (fish manure) instead of topdressing with steer manure twice/year, and the inorganic minerals in my soil are a little coarser than most.

Where I am (seems like the non-spiritual yoga capital of the world, trendy eco loving nimby granola mummies in $100000 range rovers), there is huge money riding on organic certs. Without it, you are relegated to supermarket mediocrity in the consumers' minds. I have heard a person stand at a farmer's booth at a farmer's market, look at his extra large produce ( prodigious application of manure, and many years of practice) and ask "Are you organic?" When he politely stated that he was not certified organic, she groused something to the effect of 'Oh, that's too bad', and wandered away. :evil:
I'd have answered yes, because both I and the produce are carbon based, and left certification completely out of the discussion. :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 5th, '15, 15:40 
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Gingerbread Man wrote:
However, you got me thinking, and first of all, the wicking bed should absolutely be certifiable,

Yes it is because it is grown in soil. There is even a possibility that Damian's coco coir beds could be because they are "compost" :) .

Quote:
but so may an AP system be if approached correctly.

In the US not really in Oz unless....

Quote:
Now I'm not saying that the cert org would agree, but if you really cared, you could argue as follows:
Soil is the mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids, and countless organisms that together support plant life. (as per Wiki, but other definitions are functionally equal)
My GBs full of Volcanic rock (minerals) fish manure (organic matter) air, water, and bacteria. seem to meet that definition really well. I just supply a constant feed of organic material (fish manure) instead of topdressing with steer manure twice/year, and the inorganic minerals in my soil are a little coarser than most.

Yes you could do this in fact a number of inspectors said they would do this. The problem is that you a relying on the inspector of the day making a decision outside of the rules but in the spirit of the ideology, sort of. The guys a Blue farms got caught by this. While they managed to get certification for their cutting edge aquaponics vermiponics small pots of compost in the net cups of their NFT gullies when they built their full on 1/2 HA glass house in all its modern industrialness the conversation I've been told went something like this

Inspector (I) "NO you can't get your veg certified"
Blue Farmer "but the plants are growing in soil and compost"
I "they are growing in hydroponic gullies in NFT pots and hydroponics is not certifibale"
Blue Farmer "But you did at our last facility"
I "yes but that wasn't in a high tech glass house full of computer controlled equipment"
Blue Farmer "Well no it was in a high tech second hand poly house all controlled by computers"
I "Plus you weren't selling the product to woolworths" :naughty:

Gingerbread Man wrote:
I have heard a person stand at a farmer's booth at a farmer's market, look at his extra large produce ( prodigious application of manure, and many years of practice) and ask "Are you organic?" When he politely stated that he was not certified organic, she groused something to the effect of 'Oh, that's too bad', and wandered away. :evil:
I'd have answered yes, because both I and the produce are carbon based, and left certification completely out of the discussion. :twisted:


Me too. My family has been farming organically since before the certifying bodies existed. I'm quite happy to say that our produce is organically grown because it is.

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 Post subject: Re: Ecoganic?
PostPosted: Jul 5th, '15, 18:55 
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Great conversation, keep up the good work people!


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