Fair Farms, the industry-developed workplace training and certification program for employers in the Australian horticulture industry, was officially launched on Monday June 24 at Hort Connections in Melbourne.
Developed by the peak representative body for Queensland horticulture, Growcom, Fair Farms is the industry’s proactive response to identified problems around workplace compliance and exploitation within the Australian horticulture industry.
Fair Farms Manager, Thomas Hertel said the program had been developed ‘by industry, for industry’.
“The program will 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,” Thomas said.
“As a Fair Farms certified employer, supply chain members will be able to demonstrate to their consumers, workers and customers a commitment to fair and responsible employment practices through an independent third-party audit. We want to work with the retailers and others fresh produce buyers on this, who can reward good practices through their buying decisions and create consumer awareness.”
The program has already received support from supermarket chains Aldi and Woolworths, who accept suppliers choosing Fair Farms as their ethical audit program.
Woolworths Head of Produce, Paul Turner, said the supermarket was pleased to work closely with Growcom on the development of the program.
“We’re committed to being a responsible retailer and a big part of this is working with industry to uphold the rights of workers in our horticultural supply chains,” said Paul.
“It’s great to see industry take the lead.”
A highlight of the Fair Farms launch was the announcement of the first Fair Farms certified grower: Mary-Jane and Cam Turner from Riverdale Herbs in Queensland.
“As an employer it was important for us to be able to distinguish our business from those that don’t employ ethically,” Ms Turner said.
“Going through the assessment and audit process was a valuable exercise. It has allowed us to review our business documents, modernise our systems, and consolidate our records.”
For more information on the program visit the Fair Farms website: www.fairfarms.com.au
Fair Farms is developed and delivered by Growcom with support from the Fair Work Ombudsman, The Federal Department of Agriculture, and AUSVEG.