The potential collapse of organic gardening in Australia

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

The recent upgrade by the Department of Agriculture, applying a mandatory, systemic, toxic fungicide treatment to all brassicas, has huge implications for the organic gardening sector in Australia.

Over five million Australian households grow vegetables in their backyards and they grow their own food at home because it’s healthier than the produce they buy in supermarkets, which is grown in monocultures using undisclosed amounts of toxic chemicals. If this knee-jerk reaction to a small disease problem is poorly handled, there will be serious political repercussions.

Our garden inheritance is threatened

Diggers Seeds pioneered the resurgence of heirloom, non-hybrid garden (non-commercial) varieties 27 years ago, which is now being severely threatened. Although it appears that 98% of total vegetable seed is grown outside Australia, 28% of our Diggers seeds lines are grown in Australia and 35% of all our food lines are organically-certified, i.e. 148 of our 423 listed heirlooms.

Seed sprout market threatened too

Not only are healthier food supplies threatened, many of the brassicas, i.e. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflowers and mustard seeds, are important items for the sprouted food segment, which must be organically-certified as no parent would willingly buy sprouts for their family knowing that they are contaminated with chemicals.

Is the solution to collapsing biodiversity applying toxic chemicals?

More toxic chemicals applied to their family’s food supplies is the last thing a parent wants to serve at their tables.

This is why about 50% of Australian families grow some food at home, just so they know what is in their food. We hope this toxic, administrative, knee-jerk reaction to the problems caused by monocultures doesn’t drive an emerging, organic, Australian, publicly-owned seed success story out of business and into the hands of multinationals.

Clive Blazey (31 May 2018)

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