AgWe ® Awards

Pesticide Free

How To Become A Pesticide Free Farm

It is important for farmers to be able to list themselves as Pesticide Free so customers can choose to buy their produce with the confidence no pesticides have been used on their produce.

AgWe farms attain the Pesticide Free award when they have not used any pesticides which include all herbicides, fungicides, bactericides, insecticides, and rodenticides on their farm in the previous 12 months of operation.

Being environmentally conscious is a key priority for many consumers when seeking sustainably produced food and fibres and by supporting farmers who are committed to being pesticide-free farms, we can play a role in ensuring a healthier environment for all.

What Are Pesticides?

A Pesticide is a term for a product, typically a spray or pellet that kills some sort of pest. Since anything can be considered a pest, pesticides are typically sold in their more specific categories which are, herbicides, fungicides, bactericides, insecticides, and rodenticides. These are used by farmers to reduce the damage different animals, plants, bacteria and fungi can cause which reduces yields and helps to maintain a consistent quality.

Many environmentally conscious consumers seek out sustainably produced food and fibres from farmers who don't use pesticides. Here's what you need to know about pesticides and why some people avoid them:

  • Pesticides are products farmers use to kill all sorts of pests.
  • Widespread use of pesticides has been attributed to a decline in the plant, insect and animal populations, and diversity.
  • Some people avoid purchasing food or fibres produced with pesticides because they are concerned about the potential health risks associated with exposure to pesticides.
  • There is no definitive answer on whether or not the health risks of pesticide exposure are real, but some people prefer to err on the side of caution.

If you're interested in purchasing food or fibres that were produced without pesticides, look for farms with the award Pesticide Free and that will help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Pesticide Free Vs Organic…. Don’t Get Confused!

Pesticide free and organic are not the same thing, though it is a common misconception among consumers.

Organic farmers can use organic branded pesticides to control weeds, fungi, and bacterial infections.

The main difference between organic pesticides and chemical-based pesticides is how they were created.

Organic pesticides must be formulated from a natural source, like a plant. Since it is derived from a natural source it is Organic but often their chemical-based counterparts are cheaper, more effective and have a similar effect on the environment.

Environmental Impacts of Pesticides

Pesticides have been linked to declining wildlife populations and biodiversity worldwide, yet there is little data available on how much they contribute to these declines.

Pesticides have grown in popularity since the 1940s and in 2019 the estimated market size is worth around $84.5 billion and growing. Pesticides' “broad spectrum” approach to pest control is so far-reaching that it has been used in wars like the Vietnam War where it devastated the Vietnamese people and their environment all the way through to its use on farms to control bacteria. DDT was the most used pesticide in the 1940’s until serve restrictions were imposed in 1972 in the US and across the world. DDT most famously led to the near extinction of the Bald Eagle as well as impacting the population of American songbirds, fish, and insects. It is pesticides' secondary poisoning effects that have made them so damaging to the environment. Birds, fish, and native Australian animals who ate the insects that were sprayed with DDT and other pesticides get poisoned as well.

With pesticides being widely used throughout the agricultural world and knowing the intended effects and side effects they have on wildlife and biodiversity, it is crucial more studies look into the environmental effect of pesticides.

Where To Buy From Pesticide Free Farms

It can often be hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables that have been produce without the use of pesticides, but here are some tips for what to look out for.

  1. You can find farms on AgWe that do not use pesticides and find out where to buy their produce by looking at their Supply Partners on their profile.
  2. Although AgWe does not list farmers with Pesticide Free if they have use Rodenticides, often they are just use around the sheds to protect against mice and rats and the produce has not been treated with pesticides.
  3. Look for labelling on products with the specific term Pesticide Free
  4. If you buy your produce from a supplier that sources fresh produce locally, ask them if they know if the farmer has used any pesticides whilst growing their produce.