organic farming no longer niche

Consumer Demand Confirms Organic Farming is No Longer a Niche

From article published in NSW Farmers website blog, Oct 2019.

 

THIRD-GENERATION farmer Stuart Larsson was greeted with puzzled looks and the occasional “hippie” reference when he ventured into organic farming more than 20 years ago.

Today, he and wife Katina are the proud creators of Mara Seeds, a diverse 3,240-hectare family enterprise that produces certified organic soybeans, livestock feed, fertilisers, pasture seed and beef at Mallanganee, near Casino on the NSW North Coast.

Stuart is now regarded as a pioneer in the NSW organic industry and the modest Larsson farm that started in 1914 now supports the careers of daughters Holly and Louise, and its products are the backbone for businesses operated by son Ross and nephew Paul.

“We replaced the dairy herd with beef cattle in the early 1970s, but the cattle market crash in 1974 forced us to look at other options, and soybeans was the first choice,” Stuart says.

Soybeans were a new crop for the region and proved to be a worthy first choice, he explains. But rising input costs and flat yields eventually led to an investigation into new farming methods.

Inspired by a working holiday on Amish farms in the United States and follow-up discussions with scientists, Stuart’s organic path started with using compost to improve soil biology and structure.

“I learned over time that if you look after the soil it will look after you,” he says. “This is a key principle for organic farming, as it is for good conventional farming systems.

organic farming

READ MORE OF THIS ARTICLE HERE…

READ ABOUT WHY WE FARM ORGANICALLY AT WYMAH HERE…

 

 

Why Organic Farming?

Why Do I Grow the Organic Way?

The Short Answer?

I can’t see any valid reason in doing it any other way.

The Long Answer? 

This is my reasoning – others will say it another way, but this is how I see it.

Like a human being defined by skin, the planet is a finite entity. Both do extend beyond their range, but we won’t go there.  I could see this ‘living entity’ comparison quite early on in life.

It was connected to learning how much I had in common with the way all living beings are made. I was lucky enough to have a mild-mannered biochemist as a father. After WWI, food and the making of it was highly valued.  As a boy, he was taught to garden the old way at a Yorkshire primary school using muck and the new word employed by Sir Albert Howard, ‘compost’.  From my dad, I inherited a small monograph called ‘The Mycorrhizal Association,’ which in his youth was a new thing.  Today, all budding soil lovers take to it and nod.

At 16, Dad took me to the Sydney Botanical Gardens and took me through the birth of life on rock to lichen ferns grasses and trees. Walking around the gardens, he showed me the botanical notion of Gwandanaland before it was named as such. He showed me the commonality of shared plants in the countries that we had lived in.  He taught me that life chemistry is shared between plants and creatures and between animals amongst themselves.  The relationship between plant cycles and our lives was there to be understood and appreciated. To mess this complex and evolving  ancient way of sustaining the mantle of the earth seemed foolhardy to me, even then.

I finished off my self-education in our molecular relationship with Planet Earth when I learnt about buffering, which is too technical to look at here but highly important.

At 30, I encountered the agriculture of modern chemical use of industrial wastes and the development of applying blanket poisoning of the soils in the name of food production. You kill one beetle you kill them all – so what!?  This type of agriculture is heavy-handed from an intracellular viewpoint.  Introduced chemicals will upset the equilibrium of continuing buffering in a chemical sense – be it plant or animal.

This seemed nonsensical to me.

So in my small one-bit way, I started growing sub-tropical fruits and  vegetables, native trees and a nursery for regenerating a dry rainforest and raising dairy cows.  This plant/animal mix; the way that Mother Earth works, made sense to me.  I did not have the entrepreneurial skills to take it to a galloping profit but I could see forest returning, wildlife coming to it, absolutely yummy foods and healthy plants and animals.

Today, it has been very gratifying to see how much more is now known about Mother Earth’s mantle and the clever cycles that sustain life here.  Of course, much of it was understood for a long, long time and ignored. But now we ‘know’ from both the old and new: it is best not ignored.

I hope you found that (pretty long-winded) reason for organic farming to be meaningful to you.  There are other reasons too, related to the taste and complexity of nutrition and keeping quality high, but that’s for another blog.

Mary Done

Owner, Wymah Organics

Why caring for land matters

We provide a standard that can be marked and measured. You know you are getting an honest organic product assessed and verified.

When you eat or use organic products you know you are caring too – caring for your family, your friends, yourself and our small finite planet.

Our 500 ewes and their lambs are cared for: We are humane in approach the care of our animals – no rounding up with dogs.  Our Maremma dogs guard our sheep from predators.

Our sheep graze by rotation to simulate herd movements in the wild. This minimises gut worm infections and provides more native pasture which minimal fertiliser needs.

Our 3000 Olives are cared for: Our olive trees are pruned to a sane human picking height and fertilised by animal wastes.
The orchards are mowed in a way that allows the good and the bad bugs to continue their battles in our favour.
We optimise the carbon storage by mulching prunings and grasses.
We handpick and hand process. We employ rather than find a new machine to do the tasks.

So, you know we care. We do our best with the weather as it comes. This means you can enjoy Wymah Organic Olive and Lamb products as their tastiest BEST!

Succulent Organic Lamb

Why do people love our succulent lamb? Because it just tastes so delicious. Organic farming practices bring out the best. It’s all to do with our care for our animals. And you enjoy the benefits!

Have you ever noticed that very yummy things are also often good for you? I have also noted they need less embellishment and allow a simpler cooking experience.

Organic farming practices bring out the best of complex flavours in anything grown, be it plant or animal. The organisms in the soil provide more complex flavours to the food.  Pasture fed also means there of heaps of good fats (rather than others) in the meat.  This is marked when you compare grass fed and feed lot lamb, but can also be noted in grain ‘finished’ stock.

It’s all to do with care for our animals. And we all enjoy the benefits!  It’s a pleasure to see the stock in good health as it is a pleasure to observe the meat they provide us with, and to taste it of course.

Mary Done

Wymah Organics Owner and Certified Organic Farmer

Delicious Olives

Why does the flavour literally burst out of our olives? Because we grow them with the best time honoured methods of sustainable farming. The goodness is infused! You’ll love them.