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Organic farming is based on a sophisticated knowledge of
entomology, soil science, botany, energy flows and the complex
rotations of animals
So, you're thinking of being an organic farmer…
Becoming a successful organic farmer doesn't happen overnight. The
conversion to Certified 'A' Grade organic generally takes about three
years, so it requires commitment, training and knowledge. Full organic
certification also means you'll have access to all the organic
markets. You'll need to develop a farm plan.
Over the last couple of decades the organic movement has been
increasing in popularity. More and more information has come to light
(read: ‘traditional') farming as unsustainable,
energy-intensive, cruel and violent. Many consumers are now starting
to demand a more holistic and wholesome alternative – one that
cooperates with nature, rather than brutalizing and poisoning it.
Your journey towards being an organic farmer will require you to get
your hands dirty both figuratively and literally. Regarding formal
qualifications, the Diploma
of Organic Farming offered by TAFE NSW is designed to meet the
needs of owners and managers of organic farming enterprises. This
qualification reflects the role of personnel working within an organic
farming enterprise who manage standards and develop and maintain
organic supply chains. It's suitable for people currently working or
who wish to find employment on an organic farming enterprise.
As well as learning how to grow and harvest organic produce, it's
also about successfully marketing that produce to provide income for a
family. In other words it's learning about both farming practices and
marketing strategies. And starting literally from the ground up
requires a certain amount of patience, as it usually takes a couple of
cycles before the new system kicks in and yields start to increase.
of Organic Farming can be studied at Riverina Institute's National
Environment Centre and at Wollongbar Campus and Coffs Harbour
Education Campus, both part of North Coast TAFE. There are no entry requirements.
Another pathway is via the Organic Federation of Australia (OFA).
This is a not-for-profit member-based peak body with the objective of
building organic and biodynamic businesses across the country. OFA
runs an internship
program that links eligible students with existing organic farms,
and works closely with both Riverina Institute and North Coast TAFE in
delivering these hands-on courses. To be eligible you must have
completed or be enrolled in either a Diploma in Biodynamic or Organic Farming.
There's still a fairly widespread tendency in our society to view
organic farming with a sceptical, almost nostalgic eye. As if it's a
quaint relic from the past with no real future as an alternative to
the industrial farming behemoth. But organic farming is based on a
sophisticated knowledge of entomology, soil science, botany, energy
flows and the complex rotations of animals. The kind of knowledge that
has only recently become available. There's little doubt, then, that
the wisdom and sustainability of organic farming firmly positions it
as the farm, not of the past, but of the future.