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Organic – What is it to be Organic?

Organic systems recognise that our health is directly connected to the food we eat and, ultimately, the health of the soil.

Organic farmers aim to produce good food from a balanced living soil. To be certified organic necessitates strict regulations, known as standards, define what they can and can't do. They place strong emphasis on protecting the environment.

Organic farmers use crop rotations to make the soil more fertile. For example, a farmer might graze sheep on a field one year, making the soil more fertile, then plant wheat the next and so on.

They can't grow genetically modified crops and can only use - as a last resort – a monitored select few of the several hundreds of pesticides available to today’s intensive conventional farmers.
Parasite problems in farm animals are controlled through regularly moving the animals to fresh pasture and other preventative methods, rather than routinely dosing the animals with drugs.

Here are some of organic farming's main features:

  • Organic farming severely restricts the use of artificial chemical fertilisers and pesticides
  • Instead, organic farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops
  • Animals are reared without the routine use of drugs, antibiotics and wormers common in intensive livestock farming

Certification Standards for New Zealand

BIO-GRO New Zealand
BIO-GRO New Zealand originated as the New Zealand Biological Producers and Consumers Council Inc. This council was formed by the Soil & Health Associaiton of New Zealand Inc., the Doubleday Research Association of New Zealand Inc., and the Bio-Dynamic Farming & Gardening Association in New Zealand Inc. The organization began with the focus on organic agriculture, and has continued to develop standards for aquaculture, livestock processing and distribution. BIO-GRO does not have commercial affiliations and is an independent, non-profit incorporated society. The focus of the society is to set organic production standards, certify member licensees, and to promote and support research and education related to organics.

AsureQuality NZ Certification Authority
The AsureQuality Organic Programme assures your customers that the product they are buying is absolutely organic.  Every certified producer or processor once certified as organic, will receive a copy of their unique AsureQuality Organic logo. The unique customer number enables product traceability throughout the supply chain.
The AsureQuality Organic Standard is based on internationally recognised guidelines and is accredited by the world's leading organic organisation IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements). 

Demeter NZ Certification Authority
Demeter New Zealand is part of a worldwide certification system, used to verify food or products have been produced according to the Demeter (biodynamic) standards. The Bio Dynamic Farming & Gardening Association of New Zealand is the New Zealand authority for Demeter certification. Visit the website >>. The Demeter standards have recently been revised and can be downloaded here.

OrganicFarmNZ Certification Authority
Produce found with OrganicFarmNZ labels on represent a network of New Zealand's small-scale producers. OrganicFarmNZ is a certification scheme with connections to the Soil and Health Association. Smaller growers supplying the New Zealand market only are who this lower cost certification was designed to work for. The scheme operates by peer review and is designed to give confidence to consumers that the food on which the label is displayed is of the same standard as that produced under the BioGro, Demeter and AgriQuality labels. Visit The Website >>