Beekeeper picked to represent organic farmers in wider industry

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Beekeeper picked to represent organic farmers in wider industry

Related tags Organic farming

A country boy, Peter Hastie has constantly been drawn to the importance of sustainable food production and health throughout his 15 year career on the land.

Formerly managing livestock grazing operations in New South Wales and the Northern Territory, he established and ran a small localised food hub out of New England and ran his own property valuation business. 

An organic beekeeper, slow food movement supporter and artisan produce enthusiast, Hastie has this month joined the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (Nasaa) as its industry liaison officer, charged with developing the organic, biodynamic and sustainable agricultural industries across Australia.

Growing the organic industry

It was a natural step for me​,” Hastie said. “I was looking to get back into agriculture, in particular sustainable agriculture, and was immediately hooked by Nasaa’s big picture focus on growing the organic industry and building opportunities for local producers​.

I’m passionate about the development of sustainable agricultural production and natural resource management​. I look forward to learning a lot and to developing opportunities that strengthen and grow Australia’s organic and biodynamic industry​.”

Hastie is a member of Biodynamic Agriculture Australia and is a former vice-president and founding member of the not-for-profit Mano River Sustainability and Development Association.

His new role will be to work with all sectors of Australia’s organic industry, to educate the industry and consumers on organic, biodynamic and sustainable agricultural practices, and to assist operators to gain organic certification. He replaces Alex Mitchell who resigned in 2013 for health reasons.  

Hastie’s appointment comes after 12 months of internal restructuring to refocus Nasaa on growing domestic and export opportunities for Australian organic produce, particularly in Asia.

Pushing forward

In August, the association made history when one of its inspectors was given approval to inspect within Chinese regulations, the first person outside the country to receive this level of accreditation.

Nasaa also provides free inspection training to help promote social justice outcomes and support the fledgling organic sector in Australian indigenous communities and developing nations. 

Ben Copemen, the association’s general manager, said he believed Nasaa had a duty to push the organic industry forward and do so with its own funds. 

We are not reliant on any external organisation to support our ventures​,” he said. “Peter’s appointment comes at a time of record demand for our certification services​. 

Nasaa certified operators can now have all their certifications, including Nasaa, NOP, JAS, Chinese and Korean, completed in one annual inspection by one inspector at the one time, representing significant savings in time, logistics and expenses​.”

Related topics Policy Oceania Industry growth

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