Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.
What is the story behind Ceres Organics?
Ceres Organics was started by a group of people who wanted to eat organic food at a time when it was not available in stores some 40 years ago. It was started also as a social impulse to try to conduct business in a different manner – that is, with a social mission, which has since become more common. You could say we started with triple bottom line reporting or considering people, planet and profit right from the start. Alongside this, it has and is also our mission to bring organics into everyday life, and today we offer certified organic products for nearly every consumption occasion.
What do you love about the business and the way you work?
When we started, the organic sector was young, and we were among a group of pioneers who could shape the way we did business to reflect the values of the consumers who supported us. We were human-centric in the way we worked and made space for individuals. We still do, only we have learnt where we needed to have more structure and support. This industry is about relationships first, and is built on cooperation for the benefit of all.
What are some of your favourite products right now?
Well, I have always loved our rice crackers and the new flavours we introduce from time to time. I love the coconut rolls especially as they make a great little gift to give someone, and I never run out of the Almond Brazil Cashew Nut Butter. Should I stop there? My pantry is full of the 200 to 300 products we have.
Tell us about the changes that need to happen in our agriculture system.
Humanity in the last few centuries has looked at nature and said, “How can I get more out of it?” and proceeded with ways to extract more. We are living with the consequences of this ‘plunder’ of nature right now, with the loss of biodiversity, climate change, the degradation and polluting of the land, and the elements of water and air. In this approach we do not explore what is really at work in nature and how we can work with nature rather than despite it, so we might harvest its bounty and protect or even enhance it for the next harvest. Organics and biodynamics ask this question and recognise the health of the soil and the way we work with it to directly translate to the health of humankind.
What are some common misconceptions about buying organic?
It is too expensive. Our collective consciousness needs to rise and ask questions about cost. The price on the supermarket shelf is not the true cost of goods. We live with this illusion that our knowledge of economics has reinforced that you can take from nature and dump back into nature at no cost. However, the cost to our health of an agricultural system that produces food with chemicals, largely untested for their effects on humans, and the cost to our environment with overloading it to where it cannot absorb anymore, is something not reflected in the price on the shelf. Society pays these costs along with individuals in the future when their health deteriorates or when we need to change our ways to avoid climate change.
Describe the world you want to live in
I would like to live in a world where science recognised the living world and sees that the principles it works on are not the same as the science which is based on technology or the non-living world. Also, a world where human consciousness has moved beyond seeing through the lens of competition to a lens of co-operation, which implies looking beyond my egoism and seeing the other person.
Learn more about or shop at Ceres Organics here.