Toowoomba-based global supplier of premium certified organic and natural meat, Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat Co, has won the Business of the Year Award at the Australian Organic Industry Awards.
At the same time, a long-standing supporter of organic certification during a career spanning more than half a century has earned meat and livestock industry veteran, Ian King, the Chairman's Award.
They were presented by peak industry body Australian Organic Limited in a virtual ceremony last Friday.
Last year, Arcadian sold its products in 12 countries and was represented in more than 1000 supermarkets across Australia, cementing the company as an industry leader in selling certified organic products in domestic and export markets.
Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat Co marketing and innovation director, Paul da Silva, said the company was a genuine pioneer in the organic meat industry and continued to enjoy extraordinary growth.
"We pride ourselves on a history of innovation, market leadership and creating award winning products to meet the changing demands of consumers and our customers," he said.
"We maintain a concise portfolio of brands, with our flagship Cleaver's Organic meat brand continuing to be a favourite for Australian families."
While the company continues to focus on growth opportunities in all markets, Mr da Silva said their success to date is enormously encouraging to everyone in the business.
"To this day, Arcadian is managed by family people who take tremendous pride in what they do," he said.
"We continue to partner with the same certified organic farming families who supplied us when we began.
"We're always trying our best to stand out, so being named Business of the Year is a huge validation of our efforts."
Ian King, the recipient of the Chairman's Award, became AUS-MEAT's second chief executive officer in 1992, after leaving the New Zealand meat processing industry.
He also served as AUS-QUAL's managing director in a career that spanned more than half a century.
Australian Organic Limited chairman Martin Meek said Mr King, who announced his retirement last month, was chosen for the Chairman's Award due to his dedication to the organic cause and commitment to progressing and growing the industry.
"Ian has worked for 54 years in the meat and livestock industry serving on numerous meat industry committees and councils in both Australia and New Zealand," he said.
"His interest in organic management started around 35 years ago when he ran his own organic citrus orchard, and he has always supported a holistic approach to life."
As AUS-MEAT's CEO, Mr King worked to consolidate the use of the AUS-MEAT descriptive language and to develop standards underpinned by Quality Assurance systems.
During his time as managing director at AUS-QUAL, he also served as the president of the Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council for many years.
Mr Meek said Mr King was always willing to share his experiences, knowledge and organic advice, and was a longstanding advocate for organic domestic regulation within Australia.
"Ian hasn't been one to seek recognition, however his passion and determination to make the industry better and stronger is evident throughout his career," Mr Meek said.
"As someone who has worked tirelessly and effectively in the background for many years, it was only fitting to choose Ian for this year's Chairman's Award."
They were joined by a Sunshine Coast organic farmer, a Sydney tea company, and two South Australian wineries who were among 11 winners at the seventh annual Australian Organic Industry Awards.
AOL CEO Niki Ford said the awards were designed to celebrate excellence in the organic industry, and applauded the winners for their leadership in, and commitment to, the nation's rapidly growing $2 billion plus organic industry.
"The awards are always an exciting night on the calendar, and I congratulate the winners for their passion promoting and advancing Australia's certified organic industry," she said.
"From individuals who began selling organic products at local markets, to fifth generation family farmers, the calibre of finalists across all categories made the judging challenging."
Ms Ford said the winners across the award categories highlighted the dynamic nature of the certified organic sector.
"Through these awards, we've been able to showcase the broad range of Australia's best certified organic producers, manufacturers and retailers," she said
"They all play a vital role supplying customers with nutritious food and consumables, and with nine million Australians turning to organics last year, we are very excited about the future."
Farmer of the Year | Mick Dan, Good Harvest Organic Farm, Sunshine Coast
Starting his journey in the organic industry more than 11 years ago, Australian Organic Industry Awards Farmer of the Year winner Mick Dan has shown incredible ingenuity to evolve his offering and respond to market opportunities.
Founder and farmer of Good Harvest Organic Farm, based in Woombye on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Mr Dan's colourful career in organics has seen him establish an organic produce cooperative, service local markets, open two shops, expand his farming operations and offer fresh and seasonal produce home delivery services across the coast.
Over the years, what hasn't changed for Mr Dan is his enduring goal of bringing local organic farmers together to feed the community.
"Right from our very humble beginnings my partner Kelly and I had a big dream," he said.
"We wanted to be a catalyst for change by creating opportunities for connected relationships between local communities and organic farmers.
"We are the only certified organic hybrid, community supported, agriculture service on the Sunshine Coast, which makes us pretty unique.
"What this means is we not only have our own certified organic farm, but we manage the entire process from seed, to growth, through to harvest, packing and delivery.
"This provides huge benefits for our customers as it means we can deliver the freshest possible produce, with the turnaround from harvest to plate being less than 24 hours.
"We also work with a range of other local organic farms to ensure our customers have access to the cleanest, freshest and most nutritious produce each week."
On winning the Australian Organic Industry Awards Farmer of the Year, the Sunshine Coast farmer said it was an absolute privilege, however the accolades belonged to the team.
"Our entire team at Good Harvest Organic Farm are proud to work in a value-based industry and provide healthy organic produce for their community.
Trailblazer of the Year | Katrina Kehoe, Kehoe's Kitchen, Murarrie
A change in family diet provided the catalyst for Katrina Kehoe to launch Australia's first certified organic company selling fermented vegetables, cashew dips and spreads, gaining her the inaugural Trailblazer of the Year Award at the Australian Industry Organic Awards.
Growing up and working in her parents' cafes while studying, Ms Kehoe, a self-confessed foodie and qualified structural engineer, says her heart was always in the kitchen.
"I have always loved cooking, and it was after I took leave to start a family and changed our diet for health reasons that I realised I had something new, delicious and extremely rewarding to engineer - functional health foods," she said.
It was then that Kehoe's Kitchen was born.
"Starting as a Facebook page recipe blog, we began selling our products at Northey Street organic market in Brisbane, before growing out of several commercial kitchens and settling in our huge building that sits on 4,500m2 of land today."
She said having the Australian Certified Organic Bud logo meant she knew wholesalers could confidently re-sell Kehoe's Kitchen's products.
"Organic certification gave us the edge over our competition and, to this day, is still a point of difference that our health-conscious customers are looking for."
Ms Kehoe said it was an honour to be the first person to receive the award in such a fast-growing organic industry.
"There are many great Australian businesses doing fantastic work in this market, and I am extremely proud to be recognised by industry as a trailblazer in such a prestigious group," she said.
Young Organic Leader | Rachel Davis, Eco-Farms, Carole Park
Packing organic fruit and vegetables at the Brisbane Markets on weekends and school holidays as a teenager provided the start of an exciting career for Young Organic Leader of the Year Award winner, Rachel Davis.
Now working as sales and development manager for Eco-Farms, a market leading company selling a diverse range of certified organic foods domestically and overseas, Ms Davis said she was proud to gain formal recognition for her contribution to the organic industry.
"I was absolutely chuffed to win the Young Organic Leader Award, especially when all the finalists have made important contributions to the industry and are worthy of winning," she said.
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