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Growing Greens and Growing Goodness

Growing Greens and Growing Goodness

12 August 2011

Oakdale Organics are good at being good. Good at going the extra mile, whether it is to ensure that every organically certified seedling they produce is a premium product, to give a work opportunity to someone with disabilities, or to ensure that they have minimum or no waste within the business.

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The company has a strong philosophy of nothing going to waste, and it seldom does! As a conscientious business, sustainability is the backbone of the company. An essential criteria component of their decision-making process has become ‘What can we do with this?’ It narrows down the options considerably. Take their unsold seedlings for example. As a supplier to retail chains such as Bunnings, Palmers and Kings their unsold seedlings are collected when the next order is delivered. The easiest option would be to throw them away, but Oakdale went to considerable lengths to organize for them to be donated to Garden To Table, a trust that works with a number of schools to help young people get back to gardening and develop good eating habits. Schools include East Tamaki Primary, Meadowbank Primary, Peninsula Primary, Moanataiari School, Owairaka School, Edendale Primary and Dawson School.

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With the increase interest in gardening, a number of community gardens have popped up and Oakdale Organics support some of these such as Middlemore Teaching garden who run Spring/summer workshops and Autumn / Winter workshops, Tuakau, Karaka and Tauranga community gardens.

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The production process of growing organic seedlings involves a number of different tasks. Oakdale Organics made a point of approaching Workforce industries, who offer jobs to people with disabilities to see what tasks could delegated to them. It was a natural move, given the company philosophy and the staff have turned out to be real gems. They are able to fill trays, growing vegetable seedlings and recycling the pots and punnets.

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Always keen to improve where they can, Oakdale Organics ran a competition earlier this year to try and find a new sustainable alternative to their plastic containers. http://www.oakdale-organics.co.nz/raising-the-bar. Three winners were chosen and prizes were given to 2 schools and a disability support center (prize value of $500).

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Oakdale put their loyal following down to having a premium product and customers choosing to purchase from businesses they feel do good. The company has grown 400% in the past 3 years and looks set for another busy season with spring on the way.

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