A local organic farmer has recently been recognised as a trailblazer for the industry upon winning the inaugural NSW Organic Pioneers Award.
Canowindra producer Sam Statham was awarded the prestigious prize at the annual SUSTAIN Expo, formerly the Organic Expo and Green Show, at Moore Park on July 19.
Mr Statham’s family business ‘Rosnay’ is a certified organic farm producing wine grapes, olives and figs as well as value-added products including olive paste and fig preserve.
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) acting director of skills and communities John Newcombe said Mr Statham was “already widely-respected in organic circles right across Ausralia’’.
“(Sam) has made a significant contribution to the development of the rapidly growing sector.”
As founder of the Australia-New Zealand Organic Wine Show and previously chair of the Vignerons Committee of the Biological Farmers of Australia, Mr Statham has been active in the growth of the industry.
Mr Statham said he had seen an increase in wineries turning organic across the region since his family started ‘Rosnay’ in the mid-1990s. “I think there has been a boost in the number of people using organic principles, even if they aren’t certified organic,” Mr Statham said.
In order to focus solely on growing the produce Mr Statham said the family business out-sourced most of its processing from local businesses as it offered more flexibility.
Not only do the Statham’s apply organic principles to their produce, but also to their lifestyle.
Mr Statham’s family home is made from straw bales which only adds to the sustainable nature of the business.
‘Rosnay’ has also recently won the Greg Thompson Trophy for the best Cowra wine in the Cowra National Wine Show for its 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.
The other finalists nominated for the Organic Pioneers Award were National Environment Centre (NEC) head teacher Rob Fenton, Albury who runs the certified organic farm at the centre, and Gundaroo locals Joyce Wilkie and Michael Plane who have inspired others to grow organically by turning a small organic farm into a thriving business.