At the Bio-Organic farm in Murwillumbah, farmers, husband and wife and the business owners; Oogie and Basil, have adopted many sustainable farming practises that directly supports the ecosystem around them. And, they wouldn't have it any other way.
Organic farming takes a lot more time, planning, more money and a lot more manual labour when compared to conventional farming methods. So why wouldn’t Oogie and Basil invest in more practises that are easier, less physically demanding and are more cost effective? Because these practices are not conducive to the sustainability of the land or environment around them. Conventional farming methods are just not good for human health and they can negatively impact the wildlife, which is an integral part of a healthy and thriving ecosystem.
Adopting certified organic farming practises has been a proactive choice on their behalf and the only choice in Basil and Oogie’s eyes. Their business and the thriving community they have created on the farm for both the humans and the natural flora and fauna, has the future in mind, not necessarily just their pockets. It is not just about their yield today but the land in many years to come.
Basil explained that at the Bio-Organic farm, they actively choose to not use any sprays or unnatural chemical based products to deter pests or environmental threats. They believe that these chemicals not only have an effect on the one pest it is aiming to control but may interfere with other wildlife that is needed to help support the crop throughout its lifespan. Basil stated that many insects help to create the good and rich biodiversity in the soil.
If you think about it, every bug and weed serves a purpose. One bug may help pollinate a plant whereas one weed may help deter a pest that may harm the crop. They all serve a purpose and have a plan as intended by mother nature. Basil believes that it is important to create safe and welcoming sanctuaries or homes for insects as it helps support the thriving plant kingdom around them. Don't they say we are all connected?
She also believes in balance, not a one sided story where you exploit the plant and intentionally reap the benefits, in-turn destroying natural habitats and potentially impacting the entire ecosystem all for quick turnaround and more money.
Basil said they have lots of native animals on their land that they share it with. They would never want to intentionally put these animals and insects at risk. They enjoy sharing the space and working with mother nature, rather than against it.
Certified organic farming is all about sustainability for our environment.
Benny asks what kind of damage has presented, as a result of conventional farming methods, where they spray toxic chemicals.
Basil explained that chemicals build up and create an imbalance in nature. She said that you never know the repercussions of your actions when using chemicals, so best to be as natural as possible. Basil also stated that there are some pests that you need. She said you may use a certain chemical to deter one kind of creature, but in the long run that may have a greater implication on other pests and wildlife, filtrating through the ecosystem and having a greater impact than intended.
Can non organic farming destroy the farming of future generations?
The simple answer is yes.
Oogie and Basil are second generation farmers on the land. Thanks to Avi, Oogie’s dad, they are able to keep farming and potentially pass down their legacy to the 3rd generation because the soil is still rich with nutrients. This is all thanks to the certified organic farming practises and methods used on the land.
Basil stated that many other farmers will grow the same crop in mass production, year after year, over and over again fully depleting the soil. She believes this will lead to ever lasting effects on the land which will threaten the livelihood and productivity of their business and lifestyle.
Basil and Oogie follow the guidelines of certified Organic Farming, whereby they grow one crop, plan the infrastructure around that crop to help support its growth, rotate regularly and then grow something else in that location. This means more preparation, more planning and what comes with that is more monetary investment.
If Oogie and Basil were to only grow capsicums year after year in the same location, over time the capsicums would get smaller and smaller, begin to look sad and be depleted of nutrients. The soil would be deprived and not resilient and future growing would come to a halt.
Basil stated that they actively do crop rotation, where conventional farmers can use hormone replacements or other dangerous chemicals to prolong the life of the crop and speed up its growing time.
Benny described the ripple affect of chemical farming.
He stated that chemical farming hurts the insects, which leads to negative impacts on the wildlife, then affecting the living environment and its flora, whilst flowing on to impact the quality and health of our waterways and so on.
Oogie stated that “if you think about the future you’d know very quickly that you want to steer as far away as possible from any of these chemicals”.
He personally would never allow his partner basil to work on a farm where they condone the use of chemicals and sprays. He explained that it is just too dangerous.
Benny explained that oversees research is coming to the surface around the poor health of farmers and their families. Many farmers and their families are reporting adverse health issues, disorders and diseases that have been suggested to be a result of chemical farming exposure.
Benny is shocked that these toxic chemicals are still allowed and really feels that certified organic farming practises must be the choice of the future because it's natural and sustainable.
He is also shocked that the link between nutrients and taste is overlooked.
One of the big things Oogie mentioned is the taste, flavour and nutrients of his crops.
Oogie stated that as an organic farmer he has the luxury of waiting until the individual plant is ripe and ready to be picked, meaning it has absorbed all the nutrients it can and is full of flavour. Some conventional farmers will pick before crops early to meet demand and to have a longer shelf life.
Oogie really wants the customer to have a rich experience with their produce and get all the health benefits from the plant as mother nature has intended for it.
Supporting local farmers is so important. When you buy produce it is really important to look for seasonal produce that is grown how nature intended during the climate and time intended. If you are buying a crop that is out of season, you definitely should question its growing conditions and how it was treated to be able to grow so unnaturally.
At Garden of Vegan, we love supporting local farmers and creating our menu from seasonal produce. We fully support farmers like Oogie and Basil as their intentions are pure, they don't cut any corners and we can trust that the methods behind their farming and helping support this beautiful place we get to call home.
We ask you to do your research and look into who, how and where your produce is grown and know that certified organic farmers are the safest and most controlled option for your health and the future health of the planet.
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