The time is now, the day is here!
Fair Farms, the industry-developed workplace training and certification program for employers in Australian horticulture was officially launched this week in Melbourne at the national horticulture convention, Hort Connections.
Developed by Growcom, Fair Farms is the horticulture industry's proactive response to identified problems around workplace compliance and exploitation.
Many growers and industry stakeholders have followed the journey and transformation of the program over the past two years as it grew from an initiative to a fully-fledged scheme.
Fair Farms aims to support all members of the Australian horticultural supply chain with tools, information and training to implement employment practices that comply with existing labour laws and ethical standards.
A highlight of the launch was the announcement of the first Fair Farms certified growers, Mary-Jane and Cam Turner of Riverdale Herbs in Queensland.
The herb, vegetable and chilli growers from Yatala were presented with a special Certificate of Compliance by Fair Farms manager Thomas Hertel in front of a crowd of industry delegates.
As a Fair Farms certified employer, Riverdale Herbs have demonstrated to their consumers, workers and customers a commitment to fair and responsible employment practices through an independent third-party audit.
The long-term goal of the Fair Farms program is to build a culture of compliance in which good operators are recognised and rewarded for doing the right thing by their workers.
Over time the transparency of those who are Fair Farms certified will help drive out rogue operators from the industry.
It is likely that ethical audit programs like Fair Farms will soon become a mandatory requirement for all businesses wanting to remain part of the big retailers' supply chain.
The program has already received in-principle support from supermarket chains Aldi and Woolworths, who accept suppliers choosing Fair Farms as their ethical audit program.
Fair Farms is implemented with the support from the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Federal Government Department of Agriculture and Ausveg.
Registrations are now open to all businesses in the horticulture supply chain, including growers, packers, wholesalers, ripening houses and brokers. For more information visit the Fair Farms website: www.fairfarms.com.au