View Full Version : Organic Seedlings - Is there a market?
11-02-2003, 04:03 PM
I am thinking of starting an organic seedling business in Melbourne, maybe branching out later.
I am going to do this as part of NEIS. ( New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) so as try to earn an ethical income whilst I put myself thru the practical work of a Permaculture Diploma.
I already know of one nursery that is interested, I just wonder, what do other permaculturalists, organic gardeners, nursery workers & owners think?
Does anyone want this out there?? What about including stocking other types of permaculture plants too?
Please let me know your views!
That's one of the curly questions with some permaculture projects, it seems to me: Is there a market?
Call me cautious but have you considered doing a small business course (just a short community college one) at the same time as you get your ideas and permaculture research together? I've just started one and I think it will help me answer the question of whether there is a market right now for more permaculture designers in Sydney and if so, how can I tap into it. By recognising the fact that I have no business acumen whatsoever, and trying to fix that, I'm hoping not to come a gutser in my own attempts to make an ethical income.
14-02-2003, 12:16 PM
i believe the food garden in newstead actually sell organic seedlings as part of their business - they were in a recent issue of grassroots magazine.
i always start to get itchy though when talking economics around permaculture. surely it would be better to establish auch a buisness as part of a LETS community or local economic system than continue to reinforce the current systems of distribution and exchange.
it is as important to apply permaculture principles to designing a business as it is to creating a garden.
best of luck - but i'd say adopt principle 9 of using slow and small solutions...
best way to work out if it will work is to give it a go and observe, interact and see what happens.
failure is as good as success in a permacultural world.
14-02-2003, 02:01 PM
Yes, cheers Mont, the NEIS scheme provides around 7 weeks of small biz management training, including on going mentoring. It all sounds exiting. If I don't get into the Neis, (it is highly competitive)I wholeheatedly agree to go seek other training in SBM. There is also another gov scheme called SEDs, (Self Employment development) & is income support 4 up to 13 weeks while u research & develop your biz idea. Keep in mind that this is for unemployed people only,(which I am! Which is why I want a good business! Check it out any other unemployeds out there)
To the idea of lets & barter & community economy, I also think that's a marvellous idea, I will certainly look into it. I have managed to survive & trade & get lots of what I need & some of what I want thru an informal trade system. It's wonderful & warms the heart! But keeping in mind also that for some things in life, you just need the tool of money. Money to me is but a tool after all, and why not let it b in the hands of people who act in environmentally responsible ways?
Shouldn't there b more of a choice out there, out there in the nurseries where every one goes?
I believe there are alot of people out there that lead a v busy lifestyle, may not have the time to raise from seeds yet would still like to do what they can to move towards permaculture. Especially here in & near Melbourne city.
If I went to a nursery & saw a range of hybridised, sterilised, chemically brought up & chemical dependant veggie seedlings or non-hybridised, organically grown ones, hardened off & that have been grown, packaged & delivered in the most eco-systemic way possible....I know what I would buy.
Maybe this could be a seperate topic discussion?
What do yaz reckon?
Marika, this item is on the Uni of NSW's ecoliving centre website (which is at http://www.ecoliving.cat.org.au )
They might be able to tell you what sort of market they've found for organic seedlings in a capital city.
Markets and Sales Team News and Events Page
Mailing List Info
This Team has secured an underutilised, but very impressive, Glasshouse on campus at the University and is growing organic vegetable seedlings for sale at local markets and functions where people attending are looking to buy good clean organic plants for their gardens such as the recent, Gardening Australia Live expo and the Mind Body Spirit Festival. This Team is again working towards the upcoming Natural World Expo so as to have plants, seeds and information available to make it as easy as possible for members of the community to start to produce their own food at home and to live more sustainably.
06-04-2003, 01:53 AM
ceres, a community garden on merri creek in brunswick, melbourne has a nursery producing organic seedlings, permaculture plants and native/bushfoods... maybe a visit there would answer some of your questions?
07-04-2003, 02:12 PM
if you are in new mexico? how do you know about ceres?
10-04-2003, 03:38 PM
:cool: i'm an international twig of mystery...
25-05-2003, 05:15 PM
Seedlings is an interesting one.
If you could have 100 seedlings turn up together, a range of plants to my order, an order which I placed 3 days ago, for say 40c a plant delivered I'd order a couple of times a year.
I reckon another thought in the nursery game is things that take a long time to grow. That can be transplanted or moved easilly. You got to take a punt. You commit your dreams more long term. But if you pick what folks want then you can be popular when they are ready.
25-05-2003, 06:14 PM
Sorry. I know I'm poking my nose into your business here. But here is some more food for thought.
28-05-2003, 12:01 PM
I was a recipient of the NEIS scheme back in 1993 when I started my pc business - was a great leg up.
From what I can understand the new requirements of the organic certification bodies to come under effect from July 1 2003 are that all external inputs to certified primary producers must also be from certified suppliers. As such the organic market gardeners out there are going to be crying out for vege seedlings. However in response many, smaller producers will likely set up there own nurseries for their own needs. Check out the BFA and NASAA for more info as part of your market analysis.
The need for more specialised permaculture plant nurseries is increasing as more people get into it and can't find the sort of stuff people like myself recommend. You only have to look at the latest Diggers Club catalogue to see that there is emerging demand for permaculture plants. Clive Blazey (Diggers boss) has been around for a long time and he is a asute businessman - message: do your preliminary business plan and then go for it.
Another issue is the type of containers that are preferred out there. Hiko cells are excellent, reusable and produce first class plant stock for a wide variety of vegetation - we have used both the V93 (93cc volume) and V150 for forestry and tree crops - their modularity and air pruning system make them perfect for big output of a wide range of plants - and are great for tap rooted tree crops like carob, pecan, oaks etc etc. - also for vegies the 198 prismoidal cell tray are industry standard for market gardens and again are relatively cheap and durable.
Hope this helps and Good Luck..
03-06-2003, 04:45 PM
Just read through what you're up to....maybe Community Trading can be of some assistance.
The NEIS Scheme is quite effective however they do not factor in the most important part...that being how to make it PERMACULTURE.
I think I spoke to you breifly about what we are doing up here when we met but to refresh your mind check out the website Community Trading (http://www.communitytrading.com.au). The business of Permaculture is what we are about!
Please feel free to get in touch with me even to throw a few ideas around.
Hope you're well :D
Community Trading P/L
PO Box 106
16-06-2003, 09:33 PM
hello back, I's Marika here, but I forgot my login password & followed the prompts 2 get a new one to that name but it didn't work after a few times....hence the new name..PEONY! I love it.
Anyway, on the subject, thanx to DD & Cameron for the helpful info, the more I think of what I really want to do 2 gererate income/be helpful to my community, the more my idea evolves towards a permaculture plant nursery.
At the moment, I am working part time & getting my permaculture garden established as well as doing a perma dip. As well as my p.time work I also fill in as a work for the dole supervisor in a perma garden in the city. (Wow! Paid 2 b a permie! Excellent!)
So, I don't have the time to start a biz now, although...I am building my stock & experience.
Thanks again :D
16-06-2003, 09:41 PM
Actually, taa 2 all the replies, I think I got a good cross section of the views of the permi community.
Peony/Marika and others, you might find this item from another permaculture forum interesting in relation to the future market for organic seedlings.
New rule to ensure integrity of organic vegetables
3 July 2003
New organic production standards will soon be introduced to ensure all seeds and seedlings used in organic production are organically raised.
On 1 January 2004 a clause, which has permitted organic producers unable to source organic seeds or seedlings to use conventionally produced material, will cease to exist.
The Australian Organic Industry, in recognition of the potential issues organic vegetable producers may encounter in sourcing organic planting material, has commissioned a 6-month study to increase awareness of the new rule and determine industry needs.
NSW Agriculture's organic industry liaison officer, Robyn Neeson and vegetable research horticulturist, Greg Howell will coordinate the Rural Industry Research and Development Corporation funded project.
"The ultimate objective of the project will be to assist the industry to make the transition to fully organic seeds and seedlings as smooth as possible. And to do that we need to fully understand the current situation and plan for industry needs in the future," Ms Neeson said.
The project will produce a database of organic vegetable producers and input suppliers of seeds, seedlings, fertilisers, pest control and other relevant products.
It also plans to present the industry with a set of production guidelines for organic vegetable seedlings.
The industry estimates up to 15 million organic vegetable seedlings are currently required each year.
And with industry expansion estimated at 15 per cent annually this demand could increase significantly over the coming years.
Ms Neeson said potential opportunities could come out of the new ruling.
"The new rule will drive the suppliers of seed and seedlings to reconsider how their current production techniques comply with the requirements of the National Standard for Organic and Bio-dynamic Produce," she said.
"While some may decide to cease supply to this market, others will see it as a market opportunity and diversify or expand their production. Organic seedling production will require the use of organically approved potting media, fertilisers and pesticides, and this requirement could lead to the development of new products."
Industry representatives from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia will be invited to attend information and networking workshops to learn more about the new rule and discuss issues which may affect their ability to meet its requirements.
Organic producers and input suppliers who would like to be included in the database or participate in the workshops should contact Robyn Neeson or Greg Howell on (02) 6951 2611.
Issued by: Bernadette York, NSW Agriculture (02) 6391 3533 [email:10bfl9gg]email@example.com[/email:10bfl9gg]
23-07-2004, 02:53 AM
To all those who woul care to read this far back, I sucessfully grew & soold organic seedlings through organic grocers to a small market. I want to do it again, not to make a living, but just to supply & inspire the few to grow your own.! Love the forgetful, Marika, Peony & Junglerikki :P
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