July 24, 2012
Sam Statham, an organic farmer from Canowindra in the State’s central west, has taken out the inaugural 2012 NSW Organic Pioneers Award. Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Acting Director Skills and Communities, John Newcombe, presented the award at the opening of Sydney’s SUSTAIN Show at Moore Park. “Sam first started growing grapes and olives organically in 1997 and is now widely respected in organic industry circles right across Australia,” Mr Newcombe said. “Sam is a trailblazer in the organics industry and has made a significant contribution to the development of the rapidly growing sector. “Sam’s family business ‘Rosnay’ is a certified organic farm producing winegrapes, olives and figs as-well-as value-added products such as olive paste, fig preserve and award-winning wines. “Sam founded the Australia-New Zealand Organic Wine Show and previously chaired the Vignerons Committee of the Biological Farmers of Australia. “Sam will receive a $6,000 travel bursary to investigate other organic enterprises or research facilities and continue his great work in the industry.” Mr Newcombe said the judges had a tough task in awarding the winner and described all entrants as exceptional. “Congratulations to all entrants and in particular our other finalists which included Rob Fenton, a TAFE teacher from Albury, and Joyce Wilkie and Michael Plane, market gardeners from Gundaroo near Canberra,” Mr Newcombe said. “The strength of the entries is a clear indication of how the sector has grown and transformed into a sophisticated $504 million industry nationally. “Over one million hectares of land in NSW is now certified as organic and the industry employs an estimated 25,000 people nationally. “NSW has the largest number of certified organic producers and is home to 43 per cent of Australia’s organic vegetable farmers and 37 per cent of Australia’s fruit producers.” The NSW Organic Pioneers Award is coordinated by the DPI. Gold sponsors for the event are the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) and the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA). Other supporters of the event include the Organic Federation of Australia, the Organic Food Chain; the NSW regional food group, the Sapphire Coast Producers Association; as well as Telstra Country, Macro Wholefoods and WFI Insurance. Judges for the Award are Professor Stuart Hill (Uni of Western Sydney); Andre Leu (Chair of the Organic Federation of Australian, OFA); and David Mason (DPI Urban Agriculture Leader).