Jim O’Gorman only farms 1.5 acres, but he could be about to have a global impact on farming.
The Kakanui market gardener will have a paper presented at the World Organic Conference in France in September.
The paper, titled Fixing the Mess, focuses on the work Mr O’Gorman has done on his soil for the past 20 years.
It reports the results of applied weed, microbiological organic technology and hand tools for bio-remediation to sustain fertility.
“It’s understanding that the soil is a biological organisation that is alive,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“It’s looking at optimum, rather than maximum, production.”
He said the techniques he outlined in the study could be applied universally – from hand tools in third-world countries to large-scale farming in New Zealand.
“It’s about starting to take care of the planet rather than abusing it.
“We have an awful lot of stuffed soil in the world.”
The proof was in the pudding, Mr O’Gorman said: his potatoes had been specially ordered to cater for visiting royal family members three times.
“The microscope is the most important tool in the garden,” he said.
“We are super blessed with our soils in North Otago.”
Rather than travel to Rennes to present the paper in person, Mr O’Gorman decided to save the carbon miles and present a video instead.
His overall aim was to help people maintain production while introducing sustainable farming practices.
“It’s just putting it out there, if people take it up they take it up.”
The World Organic Conference is held every three years. More than 2000 people are expected to attend.