What started as creating tea blends for in-house naturopathy clients, and making weekend sales at Paddington Markets in Sydney, Organic Merchant has evolved into one of Australia’s leading certified organic wellness tea brands.
Now stocking products in more than 500 stores nationwide, in addition to direct selling through online sales, founder and naturopath, Chalimah Jeanne, said the company offers consumers more than certified organic tea and cacao.
Some of you may remember Chalimah from our Exclusive Breakfast Event at the Treehouse in June. There she gave us some insight into her business journey and stories of challenges, resilience and balancing her professional and personal lives.
I sat down with her this week to talk about why she chooses organic…
What does organic actually mean?
Organic can mean different things to different people, depending on where you live and how you perceive organic farming. For me, it means anything grown without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or any kind of artificial means – as nature intended it to be.
If you want to know technically what organic means, it means the produce has come from a certified organic farm and manufacturer that has completed rigorous assessments to ensure that they comply with the National Standard for Organic and Bio-dynamic Produce and or the Australian Certified Organic Standard.
Farmland must be free of synthetic chemicals and use sustainable farming methods that imitate natural ecological processes. The processes used must not disrupt the natural ecosystems and are focused on land regeneration.
It’s really fascinating because organic farming is not only good for us and our health but incredibly important for the environment and the future of generations to come. The produce tastes better too!
Is there a difference between organic and certified organic?
In Australia, yes. Unfortunately, only certified organic products have to go through a strict certification procedure including inspection and approval by an independent, third-party certification agency.
There is no regulation for the term ‘organic’ so much like the term ‘natural’ it gets used a lot without any kind of verification or proof point needed. A product that has as little as 2% organic material in it can use the term organic on their packaging and labelling.
Why is it important to you to choose organic?
Personally, I made the choice to only purchase organic products several years ago for my health, my children’s health and the health of the environment. As a Naturopath, I took an oath to ‘do no harm’ which for me means not hurting the land that supports us. By choosing organic you are making an active choice to support the regeneration of our beautiful land.
Today’s environmental experts believe that sustainability is no longer enough, and the future is in regeneration – replenishing and restoring what we have lost.
Why is it important to you that Organic Merchant is certified by the ACO?
Organic Merchant became certified organic around 7 years ago and it was a no-brainer for me. As soon as I could afford to apply for the certification, we went ahead with ensuring that our suppliers and our production processes complied with the ACOS.
Being able to proudly show the ACO logo on our packaging and products gives our customers reassurance that they are buying a premium product and that we are the real deal.
It also provides me and my team with the confidence that we’re working with like-minded suppliers who all care about providing quality products with as little harm to our environment as possible.
What would you say to people thinking about making the move to organic products?
For those wanting to make the move to organic I would say that’s brilliant! I would say it is not easy and it might seem more expensive to begin with but it’s definitely rewarding.
I would also recommend that they do a little bit of research to ensure that they are choosing brands, products and suppliers that are certified and align with the values they are trying to achieve by making this big step. A great resource is the Bud Organic website – www.budorganic.com.au.