Organic farming part of EU Commission’s long-term vision for rural areas

The European Commission’s new communication A long-term Vision for the EU’s Rural Areas – Towards stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas by 2040 clearly mentions organic and biodistricts as opportunities for rural areas. 

To counter challenges that rural areas are facing, like population decline and ageing, the European Commission identifies opportunities in rural areas. The communication rightly identifies the natural resources of rural areas as key defining assets on which to build a sustainable and prosperous future.  

It says “When well-managed, rural landscapes covered by forests and natural areas help regulate water flows, capture carbon and air pollutants from the atmosphere, prevent soil erosion and provide ecosystem services. Sustainable farming and forestry management which encompasses environmental, economic and social sustainability, helps safeguard decent work and livelihoods, ecological systems and biodiversity and also enhances climate and risk resilience. Improving the quality of produced output and supporting farmers, foresters and rural entrepreneurs who are the enablers of the transition towards a greener society and economy is essential.” 

Organic farming & biodistricts offer opportunities for rural areas 

Organic farming is a farming system that offers the ecosystems services mentioned in the Commission’s communication. This is why we’re happy that the Commission clearly mentions organic: “The evolving consumer demand for better quality, more sustainable and healthy food including organic products can generate new opportunities for farmers and the rural economy. The transition towards organic production methods, the development of short supply chains, local processing and innovative products, in line with the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy and the Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production, can contribute to strengthening the role of farmers and increasing their income.” 

Moreover, the Commission clearly puts biodistricts forward as opportunity, namely for tourism. This is in line with what we talked about at our session A Long Term Vision for Rural Development at the European Organic Congress.  

Why are rural areas important? 

The EU’s rural areas are a core part of the European way  of  life.  They  are  home to 137 million  people  representing  almost  30%  of  its  population  and  over  80%  of  its  territory, considering  all  communes  and  municipalities  of  Europe  with  low  population  size  or density.  They  are  widely  recognised  and  valued  for  food  production,  management  of natural  resources,  protection  of  natural  landscapes,  as  well  as  recreation  and  tourism. Many  of  our  traditions,  festivals  and  culture  are  rooted  in  Europe’s  rural  areas. 

More information 

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