A new era for the organic sector
A new university course has been developed to help further Australia’s commitment to the rapidly growing organic sector. The Graduate Certificate in Organic Food and Nutrition, offered by Southern Cross University, is the first course of its kind in Australia solely dedicated to organic education. The eight-month part-time course will arm students with knowledge, skills and practice in organic farming, sustainable and ethical food systems as well as the produce journey and the connection of organic food with health.
Niki Ford, the CEO of Australian Organic, the organic industry’s peak body, says the new course is a welcome development.
“There’s only ever been a few organic units offered in other university courses,” she says. “So, it’s really exciting that people can now finally engage in a full organics course at a formal level, paving the way for new opportunities within the industry. Such a qualification is an enormous signal that people are starting to take the organic sector seriously.”
Investing in the future
The course, which is offered by the new Southern Cross National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM), has been 12 months in development. Units to be offered include Organic Food Systems; Farm Gate to Plate: Producing Food for Health; Dirt to Dinner: The Principles of Organics; and Food as Medicine. The university is now accepting applications.
“Organics is a fast-growing industry,” says Professor Jon Wardle, Director of the NCNM. “But there’s been little investment to date to support those working in the industry to deliver a critical and evidence-based understanding of organic principles and practicalities.
“The Graduate Certificate was developed to address this need. As people become more actively involved in their health management, they’re becoming increasingly interested in ensuring their food is sustainably and ethically grown for optimal health benefit.”
The qualifications gained from this course can be used in professions such as organic food production, health education and practice, and in policy at government levels.
A growing market
The new course comes at a time when Australian demand for certified organic products is skyrocketing. The Australian Organic Market Report 2019 revealed the domestic market is worth $1.93 billion dollars, with Australia exporting 30,155 tonnes of organic produce and products to 61 different countries.
According to reports from market research group IBISWorld, the organic sector is set to become Australia’s fastest-growing industry. It forecasts the industry will grow at roughly 15 percent per annum over the next five years. It will become a $3.7 billion industry by 2024-25, with rising health consciousness and environmental awareness turbo-charging demand.
To learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Organic Food and Nutrition, visit the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine.