Welcome note July 2020

Dear IFOAM Organics Europe members,
Dear reader,

I am honoured and humbled by the trust you are putting into my colleagues and me by electing us as the new Board during our General Assembly on 30 June. Also, I would like to express my special gratitude for being re-elected President of this organisation that has grown and developed significantly over the last years.

Before celebrating new beginnings and the future of the European organic movement, I would like to thank the previous Board for their fantastic work and success in developing the organic sector further. Together with the new Board, its willingness to cooperate and motivation, I am sure we will continue this work in a period of political changes and opportunities for organic.

Organic farming is a success story. The variety of initiatives already transforming food and farming towards fairer, environmentally conscious, healthy, and caring systems across Europe and its growing recognition at political level show this. Most notably, the Farm to Fork Strategy is putting organic farming at the heart of the transition to sustainable and fair food systems.

Considering these and other major developments for food and farming, the European Organic Congress 2020 came just at the right time. It provided the perfect platform for policy-makers, expert speakers and (organic) stakeholders from all over Europe to discuss the latest trends and our vision for a post-pandemic Europe. This year’s edition took place online 1-3 July. It was co-organised with the German Association of Organic Farmers, Food Processors and Retailers (BÖLW), the flagship organic umbrella organisation of the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Participants were welcomed by Julia Klöckner, German Minister for Food and Agriculture and Felix Prinz Zu Löwenstein, Chairman of BÖLW. During five sessions, we discussed the new EU Organic Regulation, an Organic Action Plan, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the Farm to Fork Strategy and the possible impact of Covid-19 on our food and farming system. High-level speakers from the European Commission, European Parliament and the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union agreed that organic farming is part of the solution to transition to sustainable and fair systems in Europe.

Finally, I would like to express a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to the entire office team for making the update of our presence possible. We will continue our work as IFOAM Organics Europe, which I believe better represents who we are towards the European institutions. I am proud of this fresh look and invite you to visit our new website to see the results of this makeover.

As my colleague and re-elected Vice-President Mariam Blom already said during our General Assembly, we will keep working with organic farmers, processors, retailers, certifiers, researchers, and consumers to further increase the contribution of organic food and farming to a sustainable Europe. Much remains to be done and we have no time to waste to make the European food and farming system more resilient. The new FOAM Organics Europe Board and myself are committed to providing guidance to the organisation’s work and making our Vision 2030 a reality.

Organic regards,

Jan Plagge

IFOAM Organics Europe President

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