A few words about me

Benjamin Debs, CEO Certified Organic Solutions

My History

Benjamin Debs is a leading edge Certified Organic Food Industry Consultant, Logistics Expert & Organic Food Ingredient Specialist.

Ben Debs was born in the small rural town of Cowra in 1965, and raised in the rural centre of Young, New South Wales, where he gained an extensive education in horticulture, including pruning and orchard management, with a particular focus on stone fruits.

Ben became interested in organic food 30 years ago when he travelled to the newly established counter-culture centre of Nimbin, full of ideals and inspiration, seeking an alternative, healthier lifestyle. When he wanted to feed his young children pure safe “organically grown” food, free of pesticides and artificial additives, he discovered it was very difficult to source reliable organic supplies, and it was not long before he began growing, and then later selling organic food, on a grass roots level, feeding his children home grown organic food and supplying friends with his surplus.

Through this early foray into selling his surplus organic food, he discovered a passion, drive and a business acument and he started purchasing produce direct from farmers, and selling into new markets, including fruit and veggie shops, food stalls, cafes, and restaurants. At age 25 Ben began to develop his passion for organic food, and, based on these new business successes, in 1998 he purchased a run down farm in Tasmania, where he began to apply organic farming principles and improving the soil. Before long he was growing snow peas, carrots, potatoes, and garlic commercially.

ORGANIC ISLE PRODUCE, DELORAINE TASMANIA
Now with a growing family, and a passionate desire to bring up his children on pure organic food, Ben discovered seemingly insurmountable obstacles to obtaining organics locally, because of Tasmania’s strict quarantine laws. Always an innovator and creative thinker, the next step in Ben’s evolution was to set up Tasmania’s certified organic produce wholesaler Organic Isle Produce in Deloraine, with a mission to find a way to make the best in mainland organic food available to the people of Tasmania. Faced with complicated procedures for importing food and the constant threat of chemical fumigation, the local organics industry was still fixed in the perception that buying from mainland organic farmers and importing organic food into Tasmania simply could not be done. With persistence, research and an innovative approach, Ben gradually overcame the administrative barriers, painstakingly convincing individual mainland farmers to gain certified clearance from such pests as fruit fly, and melon thrip, certified proof of which were required by AQIS Tasmania. The success of his methods brought Ben wide-spread industry recognition and considerable media attention in Tasmania. Having built the business into a thriving enterprise, Ben sold Organic Isle Produce to Gary Norris in 2010.

EAST WEST ORGANICS
The natural progression from the Tasmanian experience was to initiate and develop the first dynamic model for the importing of organic food into Australia from international sources. East West Organics became Ben’s new national vehicle for importing the very first containers of certified organic dried fruit from Turkey, using the same skills developed as Organic Isle, achieving another significant “Australian first”. The premise was
to always work in harmony with Australian farmers, to ensure they were protected (as the life-blood of the local industry).

 Ben subsequently set up a highly successful Sydney based fresh and dried organic food wholesale company Pacific Organics.

Experience & practice

In 2013 Ben set up Australian Organic Network, the latest step in the evolution of his vision for certified organics in Australia.

Incorporating a synthesis of decades of experience in the organic food chain, Ben has linked together an extensive network of organic farmers with a dynamic team of marketing specialists, and organic certification professionals. Utilizing his expertise in the challenges of importing certified organic food into Australia, and his personal flair for promotion and marketing, he has built a cutting edge and rapidly expanding organics company able to offer the widest range of Australian grown and Internationally sourced certified organic foods at the best prices.

Australian Organic Network offers a more personal and passion-driven alternative to the large corporate players that have traditionally dominated the Australian organics market.
Australian Organic Network Pty Ltd wholeale and imported certified organic foods

Certified Organic Solutions

With 30 years in organics behind him, covering experience as a farmer, a retailer, a wholesaler and innovative importer, Ben Debs has earned a unique and highly practical overview of the organic food industry and it’s opportunities for business  rowth. After years of pro bono work sharing his knowledge and helping others negotiate the challenges and red tape of becoming a certified organics business, Ben has now formally set up an organics certification consultancy, which is aimed at helping the industry grow and making organics more widely available to all Australians, firmly based on the belief that organics is important for our individual health and a sustainable future for the planet.Ben has assisted a wide range of individuals and businesses in entering the certified organics industry. Companies he has assisted include Green Grove Organics, Junnee, with involvement in initial set up and he has also worked as food and ingredient specialist in assisting organic manufacturer Whisk and Pin with product development. Ben’s latest very exciting project was to assist Lismore City Counci with ACO certification of the green waste from their Waste and Recycling Centre, yet another “Australian first”, creating a new source of certified compost, mulch & fertilizer for certified organic farmers, with a plan to roll this out across Australia.
Benjamim Debs, CEO International Organic Network

My Principles

The Certified Organic Food Industry is a quite different industry to conventional food marketing, with it’s own unique set of challenges.

I believe in truth in advertising and packaging, the principles of fair trade and the importance of maintaining the highest ethical standards in the organics industry so that consumers can have faith in the foods they purchase.

I believe the expansion of awareness about the importance of organic food for personal health and for sustainable agriculture is a key factor in the better future for society and our planet.

My lifelong experience in quality control, quarantine and import regulation, storage, the certification documentation chain, food safety and seasonal factors, gives me  a unique understanding of organic food ingredient supply logistics that can only be developed over time.

For manufacturers of organic food products, finding reliable sources of certified ingedients is a “make or break element” of the production process. I rpide myself for being recognised in the industry as  a “go to” person for food supply challenges in organics.

Organic projects must be analysed from a supply chain point of view, and this is my specialty.

My skills in project management include marketing determinations and feasability studies - the tight supply chain of organics demands an experienced understanding of seasonal trends, regional availability.

I can organise the supply of produce direct from farmers, including growing a specific food for any project’s unique requirements.

I have been building the contacts and experience to give me expanding capacity organise the growing and distribution of the food according to the market’s needs, giving him the capability to create projects which otherwise would not be feasible.

I am also constantly assisting farmers with finding markets.

I'd like to  have the opportunity to be YOUR ”go to guy” in organics - for “what has not been done, what can’t be done, and what’s in the ‘too hard
basket’ “ – I really enjoy and  thrive on challenge!

About Ben Debs

Ben Debs is an idealist. He believes that the food we eat should be great for your health like food is meant to be. No toxins. No GMOs. And food grown organically is the way forward for a sustainable agriculture and the survival of the planet!

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