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Lot 120 Main Road
(PO Box 83)
Tarlee, South Australia

Monday - Friday: 8:30am to 5:00pm


"What is organic certification?"

According to the National Standards for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce, the document on which the whole organic certification system is based:-

"Organic means produced in soils of enhanced biological activity, determined by the humus level, crumb structure and feeder root development, such that plants are fed through the soil ecosystem and not primarily through soluble fertilisers added to the soil".

No pesticides or herbicides may be used in the processing or cultivation of certified organic produce.

Before a grower, processor or retailer can obtain organic certification, a stringent series of checks and audits must be completed. Audits are then conducted on a regular basis thereafter, usually every 12 months.

All organic certifiers must be approved by Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service AQIS, who regularly audits their performance. Approved certifiers inspect producers and products and issue certificates for complying products. A list of organic and bio-dynamic industry organisations accredited by AQIS can be found here.

Four Leaf Milling Pty Ltd is certified for grain blending, grain cleaning and grading and packaging certified product with the Biological Farmers of Australia Co-op LTD(BFA).

We are also certified with Demeter (Bio-Dynamic Research Institute) to process grains and flour from bio-dynamic Demeter certified grains and kernels.

"What is the difference between Organic and Bio-dynamic product/products"

The above terminologies relate to how the plant has been grown, basically it is the culture of the soil. The growing plant is a reflection of soil conditions and environmental factors, equally so, the soil fertility is a reflection of the management of that soil.

Organic Production

This system is based on natural methods of soil culture that excludes the use of chemical fertilisers, e.g. superphosphate, urea, sulphate of ammonia, etc. Also excluded is the use of any synthesised chemicals, e.g. pesticides, weedicides, fungicides, fumigants, etc.

Basic soil management is for the development of a higher organic matter content within the soil, which can be achieved by various procedures such as 'green manuring'. This is turning plant growth back into the soil for break down. Animal manures also play a major role in an organic system, particularly in more intensive soil culture. The use of animal manures are important but they must be put through a heat composting process. The standards, which control the certifying bodies in Australia, state that all animal manures must be composted. This of course relates to intensive production and not to grazing animals in a paddock situation. Considerable emphasis is put on the legume cycle by growing leguminous plants.

Some commercial fertilisers are permitted by the Certifying Bodies, such as composted animal manures and crushed natural rock, the latter being a source of minerals. Some products derived from the sea such as kelp or fish residues may also be used. Nowadays, there is a large range of these products.

There are, of course, management systems such as rotational grazing of animals and cultivation techniques in particular rotations to further enhance this system.

Bio dynamic Production

Bio-dynamic agriculture began in 1924 in Selesia, when a group of farmers were noticing a decline in agriculture and asked the Austrian philosopher, Dr Rudolf Steiner, to give his views on agriculture. These lectures were his suggestions on how to enliven earth and particularly the plant for healthy production.

The lectures illustrated his depth in understanding nature and consequently various people have put these original suggestions into practice, which has now developed a highly practical soil cultural system.

The basic principle is that a farm is looked upon as a living entity with only a minimum of inputs being bought in from outside. A real point when we speak of sustainability. When a special need arises in the mineral balance within the soil, such products as crushed rock will be brought onto the property and used in minimal amounts. Other commercial fertilizers as permitted in organic production are generally not used. As with the organic system chemical fertilisers and synthesized chemicals are not permitted.

The bio-dynamic principle suggested by Dr Steiner is that soil enlivening is carried out by the use of various "preparations". These are used in incredibly small amounts some down to a gram to the acre. The eight preparations are derived from animal manure, quartz crystal or herbs. They are specially prepared and go through an exacting composting process.

One preparation called "500" is used for soil and root development while another called "501" can, in special circumstances, be used to bring more light into the plant. The other preparations are used in the compost heap to assist in the breakdown and develop the quality of the compost. Animal manures must be composted. Compost making has a high priority in bio-dynamic production.

Management is so important. The legume cycle for the natural production of soil nitrogen is paramount. Rotational grazing of livestock and cultivation techniques are also very important.

Bio dynamics is a highly organised system, the aims of enlivening earth is so important as soils are becoming so chemical contaminated and impoverished. This fact is of course reflected in the quality of product/food produced, which is to maximise the benefits to human health.

Both systems are practiced worldwide and are a necessity to halt the environmental pollution and soil degradation that is occurring globally.

"How can I ensure that the product I am buying is certified organic?"

1. Buy from a certified organic retailer. Every certified party is allocated a Certification Number and issued with a Certification Certificate by the Certifying body, which will usually give an expiry date or state the period of certification.

2. If a retailer is not certified in their own right, any certified organic products that are "down packaged" (such as repacked in their own packages or sold from bulk "bins"), loses its organic certification. Consequently, Four Leaf cannot be held responsible for any products sold in this manner. The only way for consumers to be sure that they are buying a certified organic product is to ensure that the product is packaged and sealed by the certified party. The name and logo of the Certifying Body and the certification No must also appear on the packaging.

3. Of course, a product that does not carry certification can still be organic - it just means that the grower or processor has not been subject to the audits and conditions imposed by the Certifying Bodies.

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