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    No. 7 · Safe Food Campaign Newsletter ·July/August 2000

    Organics/Pesticides

    Organics 2020 Conference

    by Pam Atkinson

    Pam Atkinson, a committee member of SFC attended the National Conference of Soil and Health Ass./Organics 2020 held in Auckland on May 19­20th.
    The Theme of the conference was: "Changing NZ to become an organic nation by the year 2020" and it opened with an address by the Honorable Jim Sutton, Minister of Agriculture, who spoke of the potential of NZ organics to increase NZ's export earnings and the establishment of an organic/government group to address various issues relevant to the organic sector.

    Some of the keynote speakers were:

    Dr. Morgan Williams: Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, who included comment on the lack of understanding of basic scientific and ecological values, especially by those in decision making roles, including MP's.

    Dr. Ann Clark: Assoc. Prof. Of Plant Ag, from Geulph Uni, Ontario, Canada, who has undertaken wide-ranging research into GE issues and would like to see further research into some of the wider approaches to agriculture.

    Jeanette Fitzimons: MP, Co-Leader Green Party, spoke about the need for a paradigm shift in the way that people think, if effective conversion to organics was to be achieved. There are problems for farmers in making the change, and they will need support during the transition.

    30 theme related workshops were offered, including such topics as: Conversion to Organics, Certification, Farming Various Crops, Diverse Units, Urban Growing, Composting, Marketing, Effecting Change, Pesticides in Food (see below), Consumers, Education and Seed Saving.

    In NZ clearly we have work to do ($17 million a year spent on sprays and $120 million over 5 years on GE). Chris May of Soil and Health said that "money entices most people to changepeople need to have a true organic philosophy. Farmers need experts on tap and not on top."

    Organic seeds need to be grown in NZ for organic commercial growers. At the individual level Jim Kebbell and David Treadwell at Te Horo are currently involved with this. Kay, of Koanga Gardens has been saving old varieties of seed for over 20 years. She is asking people to look out for further sources.

    Suggested actions to get results are:

    • Fight GE
    • Adopt a Politician and give, encourage, criticism and information as needed.
    • Adopt a Journalist or Reporter and supply information and references.
    • Adopt a School, Teacher, Club or Church Group and talk to them or find a speaker.
    • Talk to people, contact radio/TV, suggesting programmes, interviews, etc.
    • Form networks, sharing information.
    • Write submissions or letters to councils.
    • And, maybe most important of all, educate our young.

    Organic seed sources:

    Koanga Gardens,
    R.D.2, Maungaturoto.
    Ph: (09) 431 2145
    Fax: (09) 431 2901

    Southern Seed Exchange,
    C/- Christchurch Polytechnic,
    P.O. Box 22095, Christchurch.
    Email: blyths@chch.planet.org.nz

    Ray Shakleton,
    Waiheke Is. has a National Seed Saving Website.SF

    July 2000

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