Organic and You(th): Re-imagining the future of food

We are facing a global climate and biodiversity crises and a war in Europe. It seems discouraging. However, at the first edition of our Organics Europe Youth Event, we heard the voices of the future, and they are overflowing with imagination and hope! Agriculture, organic, and organic youth are part of the solution – as participants in our event demonstrated.

Here are some of the key take-aways from our two days of imagination, connection and questioning the current food system at the Organics Europe Youth Event in Frick, Switzerland.

1. Our panel on market actors, politics and youth opened with food for thought on the current situation. The panellist agreed that we need social, economic, and political innovation and that it is important consumers know how their food is produced and who produces it, so it is better appreciated. 

2. In their discussion, the opening panel discussed collaboration between the value chain. The main question they raised was “Should the organic movement be bold or pragmatic in its direction?” 

3. Our keynote speaker, Rob Hopkins, inspired the audience. Climate change obliges us to re-imagine the future and be bold. Change is a community effort, and together we can realise a transformation if we are brave when we set our goals and empower our imagination. Be ridiculous!

4. Participants set their imagination to work in open-space discussion groups. They shared their perspectives on gender and sexual-based discrimination in agriculture, argued about how to make organic food accessible to everyone, and created ideas on how to support the Ukrainian organic sector.

5. During the inspirational hour, young entrepreneurs shared their courageous examples to transform the food system and the lessons they learned along the way. We remember the power of community, learning by doing and not giving up.

6. Joe Slater, in his closing keynote, challenged the audience on the moral obligations of sustainable agriculture; while Prof. Dr. Johanna Jacobi taught us that agroecology is much more than just biodiversity stripes next to conventional fields, it represents a social movement as well!

7. Some memorable things we take away from the event: Albert Einstein on his bicycle (trips), young people’s hope and entrepreneurial spirit, the beautiful surroundings & vegan and fair chocolate.

8. More than 150 participants from all over Europe and the world attended our first-ever youth event which made the event a real pioneer in the organic sector! The furthest travellers came from Iran, Ukraine, Georgia, and Algeria.

9. A heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to our sponsors, funders, speakers, co-organisers, technical consultants, members (and bingo enthusiasts)! You made this event one to remember!

10. Last but not least, event attendees genuinely connected through visionary discussions and inspirational thoughts centred around the focal questions of How can we do differently & How can we do better in our food system resulting in a sense of togetherness by the end of the event. Thus, we would like to thank You(th) for making this event a success!

Couldn’t attend the event, but curious about the memorable moments of it? Have a look at our Instagram account, our Twitter moments or listen to FiBL Focus’ podcast to learn about the opening panel on building sustainable food systems.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the Organics Europe Youth Event by subscribing to our newsletter at www.organicseurope.bio/newsletter and following @OrganicsEurope on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook. IFOAM Organics Europe will post updates about the youth event using #OEYE2022 and #OrganicYouth.

Feel free to contact [email protected] if you have any questions.

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