The co-convenor from the Organic Coalition of Tasmania, Jim Rossiter’s message was that “organics are here to stay” as he opened the Organic Consumer Choice Awards ceremony, capping off National Organic Week.
Local organic retailers City Organics, Source Community Wholefoods, and Eumarrah were honored for their contributions to the industry, which Alex Mitchell from the DPIPWE said was now worth in excess of $1 billion a year to the economy. “Retailers really are our important stop in maintaining value,” she told the assembly, “and the most important part of our supply chain.”
Mr Rossiter pointed out that the organic industry is no longer just about food. The market is expanding to include everything from laundry detergent which is safe for the environment, to jewellery which has been produced from ethical labour and sustainable mining practices.
The awards themselves were presented by Eric Love, of the Centre for Organic & Resource Enterprises. “The retailer is the interface with the consumer,” he said, “and this is the first year we’ve involved consumers in the process.” He was referring to a vote on the social media site Facebook, used in determining the winner of the Best Organic Retail Outlet, which this year went to City Organics.
When accepting the award, Jaquie from City Organics encouraged everyone in the organics industry to “assist each other and work together.” A sentiment shared by Mr Love: “Tasmania presents a model of industry unity,” he said, and added that CORE is looking to maximise opportunities for everybody in the industry.
Cassandra Wunsch is a third-year journalism student at Open Universities Australia. She lives in Hobart with her husband Florian and daughter Taliesin, and would like to continue to write full-time when she graduates. Her personal blog is www.10percentinspired.com
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