Patrick of Bifurcated Carrots often writes of the lack of meaning for the word organic in Europe these days, as regulations are loose and agribusiness continues to rely on monoculture. Here in Australia things are, thankfully, quite a bit different and I think we can be reasonably confident that biodiversity is an integral part of organic certification. Here is an excerpt of the latest edition of the Biological Farmers of Australia free online newsletter:
Biodiversity and biological farming; a natural partnership
.............Major independent studies have confirmed organic farming actively contributes to better levels of biodiversity at every level of the food chain than non-organic systems. Organic agriculture is proving that we not only must, but can, have our environmental cake and eat it too.
A major pillar of organic production, and the vanguard of biodiversity protection, is maintaining a rich diversity of plant and animal life as the basis for the health of crops, farmed animals, the environment and the community, which are all inextricably linked.
Under the Organic Standard, management decisions must take into account impact on native flora and fauna and hydrological considerations, embracing protection of shelter belts, corridors, wetlands and remnant vegetation protection.
All forms of environmental pollution – chemical, genetic and physical – must be minimised and non-renewable resources must be conserved.
Rob Bauer, a fourth - generation farmer on his Queensland property in the Lockyer Valley, inherited land that the original European settlers had been obliged to clear – and keep clear of regrowth – by government dictates.
Rob converted the property to organic farmland thirty years ago and since then he has seen a marked change in the diversity and populations of native animals and vegetation on his land.
Repair of much of the existing environmental damage was assisted by an ongoing co-operative venture between Rob and Landcare which began in 1985. On a demonstration block in a previously degraded area more than two hundred rare, endangered and “interesting” native trees were planted. Rob carried the concept through the whole farm, which now has, interspersed with the cultivated fields, flourishing native bushland which is home to innumerable native animals, birds and insects, as well as providing shade, shelter and fodder for farmed animals.....
I also thought this comparison was interesting:
Australian organic avoids elitist attitude
A slow in the growth of organic sales in the UK has prompted prominent organic certifier and charity organisation, the Soil Association, to voice concerns consumers now see organic as a high-brow and expensive alternative.
.........However, an organic choice for many Australian organic consumers is not only about money - it’s about understanding and appreciating inherent value. Organic food represents environmentally-friendly food production, without synthetic chemicals or genetically modified ingredients, a focus on animal welfare, etc and those are values more people are taking an interest in and willing to support, regardless of their socio-economic status..........
Read more of these articles by subscribing to the monthly Organic Advantage E-zine.