ORGANIC AGRICULTURE

by Cath Ford (successful organic macadamia & coffee farmer)

Introduction

ROSEBANK is an amazing part of the world geographically and socially it has incredible variations in landscape and lifestyles. Much of our region has been preserved in National Parks and Nature Reserves — surrounded by the beauty of the Border Ranges, Minyon Falls, Repentance Creek, Protestor Falls just to name a few.

It is literally where farms meet forest.

Whilst the human populations may vary from season to season the vision and efforts of a few people over the years to save our wilderness and grow our lands in a sustainable way stands out as one of Rosebank’s strongest characteristics, with several valleys maintaining their Certified Organic Status. As you look over the incredibly green lush valleys feelings of peace and contentment pervade the mind and you are instantly aware that the people of Rosebank care deeply for their land.

Much of the population of Rosebank are refugees from the frantic urban landscapes searching for alternatives to the devastations of their environment. In Rosebank it is as common to see wildlife carers, regen workers and landcare groups tending to their duties as it is to see a postman in the suburbs of any city. Also, equally as common, to be strolling down dusty lanes and be greeted with koalas and wallabies taking it easy in the heat of the day.

As you look over the valleys of ‘green’ you are overcome with the notion that Rosebank is a ‘self perpetuating food garden’ and in the words of Captain Cook who anchored off Cape Byron in 1770 ‘we find all such things as nature has bestowed on it in a flourishing state’ a good description of Rosebank today.

Whilst easily accessible by road, Rosebank has the advantage of being slightly ‘off the beaten track’ surrounded by beautiful mountain vistas and clear starlit nights and with the Cities of Lismore and Byron Bay being less than half an hour away the residents of Rosebank can live the best of both world’s.

Organic citrus

Organic stone fruit

Organics History

A resurgence of Organic farming in Rosebank came about approximately 15 years ago. Residents of our tiny hamlet became increasingly disturbed by the application of chemical sprays and unsuitable farming methods on their surrounding lands. Further knowledge of the dangers of these chemicals prompted large macadamia, coffee and avocado farmers to seek out alternative methods both for the sake of their fellow neighbours and their land.

As a result of using alternative methods such as integrated pest management, composting, compost tea brews, natural nitrogen fixation crops and basically treating the farming environment as a ‘living being’ — Rosebank now leads the way in many farm management practices of production horticulture. The results of this not only benefit our environment but the animals and people and the farmers ‘bottom line’.

Organics Today

After the cessation of many of these chemicals over a period of time you can clearly see the environmental advantages such as the return of the koala, wallaby and bird populations not to mention the soil health. Organic farming was the original method of farming used by the early settlers and many believe that ‘chemically sprayed farms’ are anything but ‘conventional’.

Today the organic price for macadamia production maintains the highest price the market can offer as it does in other crops such as avocados and dairy. The paradox of conventional farming is clear when you travel to our beautiful, rich, green valleys full of production and abundance.

Surely Rosebank shines the light of organics and sustainability when you see our incredibly rich valleys, clean waters and healthy crops.

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