Fair Farms is a national training and certification initiative that is cultivating fair and responsible employment practices in Australian horticulture. The industry-led program provides support and training to farm businesses and a pathway to independent third-party certification.
The need for a program like Fair Farms was identified after the Fair Work Ombudsman published the 2018 Harvest Trail Enquiry Report. The report highlighted widespread non-compliance with employment obligations within the horticulture and viticulture industries.
The program was officially launched in 2019 by horticulture peak industry body Growcom, with seeding money from the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Currently funded by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, it now has more than 350 grower members – 100 of whom are Fair Farms Certified Growers.
Fair Farms member and tomato grower, Sunripe, joined Fair Farms and said they saw it as a value-add to their business – forming part of their commitment to continue to improve and find better and new ways to do things on-farm.
“We are extremely focussed on technology and efficiency, which has led to various state-of-the-art equipment being implemented in both our packing facility and our farms – some the first of its kind,” Administrative Director Samara De Paoli said.
“We are doing what’s necessary to future-proof our business and part of that is moving towards a more skilled workforce – and Fair Farms is part of that.”
To start the Fair Farms certification process a grower simply needs to read the Fair Farms Standard, which is freely available on the website. They then register online, pay the $150 registration fee, complete an Online Self-Assessment (OSA), and undertake any recommended training identified through the OSA.
When training has been completed – which can be accomplished through the program’s online learning platform, a grower needs to register to audit with one of the program’s five independent auditing bodies.
Once the grower has completed their audit, they are assigned a certification cycle and become Fair Farms Certified.
To celebrate the program’s success, a conference focussed on Workplace Relations in the Horticulture Industry will take place at Opal Cove Resort located at Coffs Harbour on the 14 October 2022. Featuring industry experts, growers and a special keynote speaker, the conference is not to be missed.