There were several factors that collided to help OrganicFarmNZ become established. For years, growers had been complaining at the cost of organic certification. Small growers simply couldn’t afford to be certified. This mirrors a world wide trend.

For many years, the Soil & Health Association debated the issue and possible solution. The biggest problem was funding. Thankfully a new Government required the support of The Greens. As part of their agreement on confidence and supply in 1999, funds were secured to establish what has now become OrganicFarmNZ.

A guiding concept that underpins the OrganicFarmNZ certification process is the idea that organic certification can serve as both as a tool for ensuring the organic integrity of products being sold in the NZ market place and that the certification process can provide a mechanism through which individuals can be drawn together to cooperate to enhance the overall well being of their communities.

The key principles underlining OrganicFarmNZ are:

  • Low cost – make organic certification affordable.
  • Trust – a belief that farmers can be trusted to peer review one another.
  • Develop organics for the local market (OFNZ produce cannot be exported).
  • Support small-scale production – through making certification affordable and creating support networks.
  • Support bio-regionalism, reduce ‘food miles’ and reconnect growers & consumers.

The anticipated benefits of the establishment of OrganicFarmNZ are:

  • To assist small growers to move towards certified organic production.
  • To support the development of local and regional groups of people interested in organic production.
  • To provide these groups with the necessary training and technical support to undertake auditing for group certification purposes.
  • Thereby, to respond to the problem small growers have faced in becoming certified as organic due to the costs of individual certification.