Our Spring Newsletter – September 2023 🌼🌻🌼

Our Spring Newsletter – September 2023 🌼🌻🌼

#ChooseOrganic – it’s good for you, it’s good for the planet

The first of September, Spring Day, marks the launch of the #ChooseOrganic campaign. This exciting project, spearheaded by SAOSO and PGS SA, is about raising awareness in South Africa about why choosing organic is good for you and good for the planet.

The aim is to inform consumers that whatever you are buying – from cotton buds to carrots – when you #ChooseOrganic food, drink, beauty products, clothing, garden and input products, you choose products that support a healthier world.

Why #ChooseOrganic?

Read more here: https://saoso.org/choose-organic

Organisational Update

For the last three years, SAOSO and PGS SA have been working closely to roll out the PGS Pollinator Programme in South Africa as part of the Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture in Southern Africa (KHSA). It has been a great success, with the formation of PGS groups throughout South Africa representing 632 farmers of which 335 have been organically certified.

The work has strengthened the relationship between the two voluntary associations and a decision has been made to merge the two organisations so as to streamline efficiency. This will be formally announced at a joint AGM of both organisations later this year.

The SAOSO Foundation, registered as a Public Benefit Organisation has been formed to fundraise for activities of the organic sector.

Stories from the Network

Planting seeds of organic agriculture growth in Limpopo

Previously, the process of obtaining organic certification seemed insurmountable for these farmers, but through the PGS program, they are now able to contribute to the organic farming movement and reap the benefits of certification that were once unattainable.

Read more here.

Many stories of inspiration despite hardship are folded into the Valley of a Thousand Hills 

Our story as South Africans is not a single story but a layered and complex one, and there is inspiration to be found even in the most unlikely places. If we look for green shoots, we will find them.

Read more about Nontobeko, a PGS Practitioner, in the Daily Maverick here.

PGS Farmer Story

Every Thursday, in the small village of Goedverwacht, one will find the entrepreneurial spirit of the organisation Ecowin PTY working hard to harvest, pack and deliver fresh organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, to their community. With the local PGS group established in 2021, Ecowin has sought to organise at least 18 local farmers to guarantee organic production and improve market access through centralised and organised market channels.

Each week, a combination of Community Workers Programme (CWP) and Ecowin staff work tirelessly to get produce to local markets located in the hereby towns of Piketberg, Langebaan and Hopefield. Under the guidance of Merle Dietrich, a Pollinator, an experienced farmer and agronomist, Ecowin PGS farmers grow a wide range of organic and high-quality produce. This ranges from beautiful bouquets of flowers and plants, and citrus varieties to a range of brassicas, leafy greens and herbs.

Merle and the farmers are continually innovating and experimenting with new cultivars and practices, this is evident with trials on asparagus and blueberries. Indeed, and as explained by Merle, one of the netted gardens is called “trial and error”.

The Ecowin PGS is looking to expand production and is in search of more local and regional markets. If you are in search of fresh organic produce that comes from a community-orientated organisation, get in touch with Merle by email at dietrichmerle26@gmail.com.

Organic and Natural Products Expo Africa:

14 – 16 September 2023

Africa’s dedicated event for organic and natural products is back for its second instalment in September. The hybrid event caters to trade buyers as well as retail sales to consumers. Showcasing local and international manufacturers and suppliers. This year’s event is in association with the African Biotrade Festival.

Visit the event at the Sandton Convention Centre, 14th to 16th September 2023, and for more information visit their website.

Working with Partners

In May this year, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) supported by 85 organisations made a submission to the biosafety authorities in South Africa, requesting the Executive Council: GMO Act review and set aside its decision to allow the importation of GM wheat variety HB4 into South Africa and the rest of the continent.

Read about ACB’s submission here and support this important cause, to protect our food system.


UnPoison, a South African non-profit organization and civil society network working to protect public health from the harms of highly hazardous pesticides commonly used in South Africa while promoting the development of a biological solutions sector for agriculture, has just published the first publicly available list of Highly Hazardous Pesticides.

The list shows that there are 192 Highly Hazardous Pesticides registered and legally in use in South Africa – only 16 of which have partial bans or restrictions. Of these over a third (57/192) are banned in the EU (because of unacceptable human health and environmental risks), and 36 of which belong to the most hazardous class, a class known as WHO Group 1a and 1b which are substances known to have carcinogenic potential for humans, based on human health evidence, and in acute poisonings can cause death.

Read the full report here and visit their website for opportunities to make a donation to assist with the important work that they do.

Future Newsletters

We would like to hear what kind of news you would like to see in our newsletter. Drop us a line at info@saoso.org.

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