ORGANIC GARDENING IN AUSTRALIA
Volunteer on an Organic Farm
Organic gardening and farming has been going on in Australia since the first settlers arrived from Britain back in the late 1700s.
Of course there were no commercial fertilisers and pesticides to be used back then and all farming practices had to be ecologically sustainable.
Land had to be enriched with what was available at the time. Mainly animal fertilisers and discarded vegetable matter. The Australian soil was initially fertile and virgin having virtually no cropping happening over a long period of time.
The Indigenous population did sew crops, but these were mainly grasses and grains used for their seeds and fibre properties. These grains were sewn over large areas, thousands of acres at a time, and were usually a native grass, which benefited the soil and the animal population at the same time.
With the advent of growing nutrient hungry European fruits and vegetables, came the need to beef up the soil with additional nutrients from outside sources. As mentioned earlier, initially this consisted of the animal manure from domesticated animals and/or the excess and waste of vegetable matter.
With the introduction of oil based plastics, fertilisers and pesticides, the majority of our farming community became lazy and blindly trusted the corporations that promoted these products, with the obvious dire consequences.
Thus, after 150 years of continued abuse and neglect of our soils, the Organic Gardening movement has once again taken hold of the imagination of our farming community.
You can now find Organic hobby and commercial farms in any corner of the country, including beef and sheep stations that feed their animals purely non-chemicalised foodstuffs.
WWOOF Australia only caters to Organic Farms and ensures their Host Farms are either certified Organic Growers or are at least practicing Organic Farming practices.
With such a large diversity of soil types in Australia, from clay right through to sandy soils, the requirements and demands of growing Organically vary considerably across the land. Read the Host Farm profiles on the WWOOF Australia website or Mobile App, and checkout what each Host Farm practices.
WWOOF Australia also insist that no WWOOFers are allowed to used chemicals whilst Volunteering on a Host Farm. That means “no round-up” and other toxic pesticides or fertilisers. Yes, Round-up is still legal to use in Australia, so be on the lookout if someone hands you a spray pack and says … “go kill some weeds …”