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Title: Tale of Two Realities: Aligning Growth with Support in the Australian Organic Movement
Contributor(s): Kristiansen, Paul  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2011
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Abstract: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us". Charles Dickens, 'A Tale of Two Cities' (1859). The first reality is a very positive one. Commercial growth and public interest in the organic movement are increasing day-by-day nationally in Australia and internationally. One only has to go to the supermarkets to see what is happening. There, we can see more organic lines across a wide variety of food products, more in-house organic branding, absorbing smaller organic companies into their product range (Mitchell et al. 2010) and some light-hearted television ads with 'mainstream' people buying organic goods alongside the clichéd image of a flute-playing, organic consuming hippy. Beyond the big end of the food market, the strong growth of organic and other ethically produced food, we can see the continuing increase in the number of farmers markets and market visitors throughout urban and rural centres (Adams 2006). A recent article in the business section of 'The Australian' newspaper reported on research by IbisWorld that "organic farming is expected to be one of the fastest growing industries this year, thanks to higher disposable incomes and increasing demand for organic food". The organic sector ranks high in growth predictions, at about 14% per annum (Ooi 2011). Underpinning these observations are national and international trends that confirm the continuing strong growth in the organic world. In 2009, organic food and drink sales expanded by roughly 5% to USD 54.9 billion, with some slowing due to the global financial crisis. As consumer spending power increases and more countries emerge from the effects of the economic recession, the healthy growth rates reported above are envisaged to restart (Willer and Kilcher 2011). In Australia, the retail value was expected to reach AUD 1 billion by the end of 2010, up from about AUD 0.6 billion in 2007-2008 (Mitchell et al. 2010). The second reality, however, is not so positive since 1997. In Australia, the only ongoing Federal funding for organic agriculture research has been the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation's (RIRDC) Organic Produce Program. Over a period of 13 years, the program allocated an average of just under AUD 250,000 per year to organic research and extension (Figure 1) in the areas of production, marketing and industry development. However, after meetings in 2010 with other funding agencies in Canberra, it appears that that the Organic Produce Program has been discontinued (Wynen et al 2011).
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Organic Systems, 6(1), p. 1-2
Publisher: Journal of Organic Systems
Place of Publication: New Zealand
ISSN: 1177-4258
Field of Research (FOR): 079999 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 829999 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: C4 Letter of Note
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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