Or­ganic Food Con­sc­foiorus Con­fer­enc­ing

Tourism Tattler - - EVENTS -

As GMO (ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied or­gan­ism) food con­cerns con­tinue to be a top pri­or­ity for the gen­eral pub­lic, the de­mand for or­ganic food is grow­ing, but are pro­fes­sional con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers tak­ing ad­van­tage of this trend when plan­ning cater­ing needs for their del­e­gates?

Ac­cord­ing to a 2015 Or­ganic In­dus­try Sur­vey re­port by the Or­ganic Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, sales of or­ganic food and non-food prod­ucts in the United States broke through an­other record in 2014, to­talling $39.1 bil­lion, up 11.3 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year. Or­ganic sales now near a mile­stone 5 per­cent share of the to­tal food mar­ket. The or­ganic dairy sec­tor posted an al­most 11 per­cent jump in sales in 2014 to $5.46 bil­lion, the big­gest per­cent­age in­crease for that cat­e­gory in six years.

In South Africa there are just 45 or­ganic farms. One of these or­ganic farms is lo­cated just out­side Stel­len­bosch, on the Spier Wine Farm and it is from here that the Spier Con­fer­ence Cen­tre and restau­rants on the es­tate source their whole­some food.

This or­ganic farm op­er­ates as “Go Or­ganic at Spier” and is a joint ven­ture with seven emerg­ing farm­ers, who to­gether own 27.5% of the busi­ness. Spier used to lease 100 hectares of land from the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity, and this land is now used by the com­pany and funded by the gov­ern­ment's Land Re­form Credit Fa­cil­ity. The farm is now one of South Africa's largest com­mer­cial or­ganic farms, and is fully cer­ti­fied by Eco­cert.

Man­aged by An­gus McIn­tosh, Go Or­ganic at Spier also re­tails its ‘Pas­ture Reared Food' on his ‘Farmer An­gus' blog site.

Ac­cord­ing to ‘ Food with a Story', An­gus uses the high den­sity ‘ mob­graz­ing' tech­nique for farm­ing his grass fed cat­tle. De­vel­oped through ob­serv­ing the ac­tions of herds of large wild her­bi­vores, this method mim­ics na­ture and is par­tic­u­larly good at sink­ing car­bon. “If ten per­cent of cat­tle in the world were grazed in this way, we wouldn't have the car­bon is­sues we have to­day”, says An­gus.

Mob­graz­ing works by al­low­ing the cat­tle to graze the top third of the grass plant (the health­i­est bit) only be­fore mov­ing them along. The roots are then ‘shed', ef­fec­tively stor­ing car­bon in the soil. This al­lows for op­ti­mal grass growth, and car­bon-neg­a­tive beef.

At the Spier Farm, they also pro­duce real free-range chick­ens and or­ganic veg­gies. All the an­i­mals that are farmed for their meat are slaugh­tered on site. The slaugh­ter­house is about as good as a place like that gets – the staff are taught to re­spect the an­i­mals and re­vere and be hum­bled by the power that they have when tak­ing an an­i­mal's life. To be con­scious.

An­gus hopes to raise aware­ness and erase con­sumer ap­a­thy about food pro­duc­tion. “Agri­cul­ture causes the most de­struc­tion on the planet, but also presents the big­gest op­por­tu­nity to heal the planet, em­power peo­ple and re­duce poverty.”

So do your con­fer­ence del­e­gates, and the planet, a favour by go­ing or­ganic when plan­ning cater­ing or select­ing a con­fer­ence venue.

Read more about Con­scious Con­fer­enc­ing here or get Big Ideas for Small Meet­ings here, for Medium Meet­ings here, for Large Meet­ings here, and for Green Meet­ings here.

Con­tact the Spier Con­fer­ence Team on +27 (0)809 1100 or visit www.spier.co.za email con­fer­[email protected]

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