8 winners of EU Organic Awards highlight organic’s excellence
25 SEPTEMBER 2023, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Today, the eight winners of the second edition of the EU Organic Awards were announced in a public ceremony. This year’s winners are various actors from the European organic sector each representing excellence along the organic value chain. The EU Organic Awards also mark the celebration of EU Organic Day launched by the European Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission in 2021.
This year, 24 candidates were shortlisted from almost 100 applications from all over the European Union. The EU Organic Awards scheme comprises 7 categories and 8 individual awards. They acknowledge excellent, innovative, sustainable and inspiring projects producing real added value for organic production and consumption. The awards are jointly organised by the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions, COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe, with the support of the European Parliament and the Council
Meet the eight winners:
- Best organic farmer (female): Ms Clara Benito Pacheco from Spain,
- Best organic farmer (male): Mr Thomas Moschos from Greece,
- Best organic region: Burgenland region in Austria,
- Best organic city: Vienna in Austria,
- Best organic bio-district: Idanha-a-Nova in Portugal,
- Best organic food processing SME: the Merry Mill from Ireland,
- Best organic retailer: Gut Wulksfelde from Germany,
- Best organic restaurant/food service: Luftburg – Kolarik im Prater from Austria.
Following the ceremony, IFOAM Organics Europe’s President, Jan Plagge, celebrated the winners: “The EU Organic Awards showcase the organic supply chain’s role in a sustainable agrifood system, in line with the goals of the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. As part of IFOAM Organics Europe, I commend the winners for illustrating organic’s transformative potential. Their achievements spotlight organic’s growing significance and its alignment with the European Organic Action Plan. Congratulations to all participants! May their endeavours inspire a resilient and holistic approach to food and farming, addressing today’s pressing challenges, from food security to the biodiversity and climate crises.”
Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM Organics Europe’s Director, adds that “Congratulations to the winners, and all those shortlisted! You are an inspiration to those working to make our food and farming system more sustainable, using organic’s potential. I am happy that some of the awards’ criteria are based on the holistic principles of organic – care, health, ecology & fairness. Organic’s system-based approach to food and farming is a way forward to make our food system more independent from external inputs, less input-intensive and more resilient.”
About the winners
Best organic farmer (female): Ms Clara Benito Pacheco from Spain. Ms Benito Pacheco runs an extensive organic goat farm fed exclusively on native grass. Her freely grazing ecological herd contributes to biodiversity. Thanks to virtual fence technologies, and the use of GPS collars, adult animals can graze freely as no physical fences are needed anymore, contributing towards carbon sequestration in grassland.
Best organic farmer (male): Mr Thomas Moschos from Greece. Together with his brother, Mr Moschos runs the Moschos family farm in Kastoria, which is an organic livestock farm specialised in raising sheep and producing dairy products. He implements new farming methods, improving soil and circularity, which in return leads to higher soil organic matter and yields.
Best organic region: Burgenland region in Austria. Burgenland has become a role model in the organic reconversion scene thanks to the scientific implementation of the “Bioland Burgenland” strategy. The strategy aims not only to increase the share of agricultural land farmed organically to 50% by 2030, but also to enhance the complete organic supply chain, including for regional canteens, buffets and schools.
Best organic city: Vienna in Austria. The Austrian capital produces organic agricultural products for its inhabitants from its 44,000 hectares of forest and agricultural land in its far-reaching organic “farm to fork” concept. Thanks to this initiative, the local economy is strengthened via the regional value chain, which provides support to sustainable agriculture and diets.
Best organic bio-district: Idanha-a-Nova in Portugal. The eco-region is the largest area of agricultural land under organic farming in Portugal, supporting projects that reinforce short supply chains and increase the offer of organic products.
Best organic food processing SME: the Merry Mill from Ireland. The family-run organic farm produces a range of organic gluten-free foods in a closed-loop system on their organic farm. In order to manage the whole process from start to finish to ensure no cross contamination of other grains occurs, they have built Ireland’s first organic gluten-free oat mill.
Best organic retailer: Gut Wulksfelde from Germany. The company operates a 600 m² farm shop selling products from its own organic farm, a size 450 hectares of land with over 50 varieties of vegetables. Besides selling more than 8,000 organic food products, the shop also features a bakery and a green Michelin star awarded restaurant.
Best organic restaurant/food service: Luftburg – Kolarik im Prater from Austria. Luftburg – Kolarik im Prater is the largest fully certified organic restaurant in the world with ecological and social sustainability at the heart of its philosophy. A winner of several Austrian prizes, it uses renewable energy and aims to minimize its environmental footprint wherever it can.
Quotes by the organising organisations
Hosting the award ceremony, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski said: “I would like to congratulate all winners. In cultivating our land with the principles of organic farming, they not only nourish our soil but also provide healthy and quality products. Today’s EU Organic Awards winners are the prime examples on how the production and availability of more organic food can bring benefits to farmers, consumers, and society at large.”
Quote of Mr Oliver Röpke, President of the European Economic and Social Committee: “The European Economic and Social Committee has been advocating for years for a more sustainable and inclusive food policy in the EU. I am proud that we are part of this great initiative bringing quality food closer to every day consumer, and covering all the steps of the agri-food chain. I would like to congratulate the winners of this year’s EU Organic Awards and thank them for sharing their inspiring projects with us. We must continue to support such projects and to raise awareness about the benefits of a healthy soil and healthy diet.”
Quote of Mrs Kirstine Bille, Member of the European Committee of the Regions: “The increase in the prices of many consumer goods have led some consumers to reduce spending on organic products in some Member States. Today more than yesterday, the role of local authorities is essential to offer sales opportunities over the medium to long-term to organic farmers. The winners of the 2023 organic awards show us the best practices to follow to reach our goal of 25% of EU agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and to build a more resilient and sustainable food system in Europe.”
Quote Mr Leonardo Pofferi, Copa-Cogeca Vice-President: “Being an active partner of the second edition of the EU Organic Awards it is an absolute honor for Copa-Cogeca. The rewarding of these extraordinary realities underlines the active role that European agriculture has been playing towards a more sustainable Europe. It is inspiring and motivating to see all these great businesses and I wish you to congratulate and thank all of them for their role and contribution to the development and promotion of the European Organic farming.”
Quote of Mr Jan Plagge, President of IFOAM Organics Europe: “The EU Organic Awards showcase the organic supply chain’s role in a sustainable agrifood system, in line with the goals of the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. As part of IFOAM Organics Europe, I commend the winners for illustrating organic’s transformative potential. Their achievements spotlight organic’s growing significance and its alignment with the European Organic Action Plan. Congratulations to all participants. May their endeavours inspire a resilient and holistic approach to food and farming, addressing today’s pressing challenges, from food security to the biodiversity and climate crises.”