This section is specifically for those certified or wanting to be certified. The necessary forms are available for downloading.
OrganicFarmNZ is proud of its certification system. Our members are enthusiastically embracing organic production. We hope that certification through OrganicFarmNZ will be a major driver of the growth of the organic sector in years to come.
Below are the key elements of certifying with OrganicFarmNZ:
The Pod System
OrganicFarmNZ is probably best known for its “pod” system. The Pod system works on a ‘peer review’ process. This is where a group of between 3-5 growers (a pod) will peer review one another. In short – they check you out and you check them out. The Pod Peer Review involves a review of the Producer’s Property Management Plan, a check of their inputs and outputs and a property inspection (involving all members of the Pod). This occurs to every member of the Pod, annually.
Alternatively – Producers have the ability to be audited individually by an independent Audit.
Once the Peer Review Process has been completed, an Independent Auditor will review the paperwork of each Producer. This includes their Property Management Plan and the Pod Peer Review Checklist. The Auditor’s main job is to ensure that the Pod interpreted and assessed the Producer in accordance to the OrganicFarmNZ Production Standards (currently Bio Gro’s Standards) and Compliances. In addition to this, the Auditor will physically audit/inspect one property in every four Pod members each year.
The Advantages of the Pod System
It is easy to perceive the Pod Peer Review system as a system open to exploitation. This perception however is misplaced for several reasons:
- The Pod system is proving to be very robust. In many cases Pods are proving to be over zealous in their adherence to the Standards.
- Pods actually do not want to develop a reputation of being ‘easy’ on each other.
- The Pod system has a number of checks throughout the process. Producers will initially be guided through the certification process by an experienced grower or the Regional Certification Manager. They will then be subjected to several pairs of eyes inspecting their property annually. An independent Auditor will then review the Producer and inspect their property at least once every 3 or 4 years.
- Overseeing this whole process is the Regional Certification Manager.
- Pod members have a sense of ownership of the certification process. Pod members are driving past your property, they are growing in your neighbourhood. This means Producers are under more surveillance than if your certification is being provided from a national office in Wellington for instance.
- The Pod system is a supportive means of learning organic production. Where Producers have difficulties, they have a network of other growers to call on for ideas.