The Bulaccino farm in Votualevu Nadi, Fiji is owned and operated by Ms. Eileen Chute and boasts more than 100 varieties of edible plants, ranging from fruit trees and local crops, to herbs and spices. It also contains hardwood forests and medicinal plants that are carefully planted to align with the land’s natural structure and ecosystems. idle, depleted sugarcane land. Since 2010 it has been transformed, using an organic approach that has now expanded into a thriving 30 acre holding.
The POETCom team witnessed this transformation in full fruition during a recent visit to conduct organic training under the Participatory Guarantee System. The farm has integrated livestock, including free-range chickens, ducks and the Fiji-Fantastic sheep, into its landscape. This includes busy bees, buzzing around traditional homes as well as the all-new technology hive system called the Flowhive. The Bulaccino Farm supplies organic produce to the community from farm to table through its four Bulaccino Café outlets. It also has started running farm tours.
As part of its goal to have the farm guaranteed organic, the Bulaccino farm initiated a collaboration with POETCom and recently became a POETCom member. The Participatory Guarantee System is a locally focused assurance system certifying producers based on the foundation of trust, social networks and stakeholder knowledge exchange. POETCom conducted training on this system at the Bulaccino farm in June 2020.
The training included a theory session with the Bulaccino team, followed by a tour of the farm to assess its organic farming systems based on the Pacific Organic Standard. The training wrapped up with the local, all women Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) group Fiji Queens Organic Association conducting a mock peer review of the farm. The certification process will now allow time for Bulaccino to address recommendations made by the farm auditors towards guaranteeing it organic. The Fiji Queens Organic Association (FQOA) group plan to conduct the official peer review in October 2020.
“You have to want to do this,” concluded Ms. Chute when discussing her spectacular site. “You have to have a passion for it because that will keep you going even when it may get difficult. The reward is having to watch my children and grandchildren enjoy the fruits of my labour.” As a thriving example of organic farming’s potential in the Pacific, Bulaccino farm has planted the seeds of a collaboration that POETCom trusts will continue to grow into the future.