Organic farming for commercial sale in Jersey began in 1985 when organic produce was but a twinkle in the eye of the supermarkets.
Organic farming for commercial sale in Jersey began in 1985 when organic produce was but a twinkle in the eye of the supermarkets. Since then the number of Island farmers converting to organic crops has increased considerably and it is estimated that this year 220 vergées of Island arable land some 648 vergées of dairy land will be converted to organic.
Some organic produce is exported, but many farmers sell their organic produce locally to supermarkets, grocers and at roadside stalls, and via the popular ‘box’ schemes.
Organic farmers are helped by support from the States of Jersey which provides financial help and advice support to growers who wish to convert to organic. In 1997 the Department set aside 15 vergées of land at The Elms, St Mary to convert to organic production and exported its first crop of organic cauliflowers in January 1999.
The Jersey Organic Association also offers help and advice to organic farmers. The Association, formed in 1987 as a body promoting the values of the Soil Association for domestic gardeners, has a sub group of commercial growers and farmers which has the following objectives.
• To promote agriculture and horticulture and the rearing of livestock using natural methods without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers and minimising the use of medication.
• To promote the use of natural methods of conserving and enhancing soil fertility.
• To promote the enhancing of wildlife habitats and the natural features of the landscape.
• To promote the reduction of ground, air and water pollution.
• To resist the use of genetically modified material.