Welcome note March 2022 newsletter
These are troubling times for Europe and the world. On top of climate and biodiversity crises we now have a war in Europe. It is heartening to see and hear how many in the European organic movement are extending their help – from organic farmers hosting refugees to our colleagues coordinating the collection and driving emergency goods, and from organisations rallying their networks for support to organisations giving their employees extra time to process these events.
At IFOAM Organics Europe, we are playing our part as well. Our staff members are helping where they can and as organisation we are coordinating with many environmental and social NGOs. We would like to ask you to also let us know what you are doing and how other members can help you. Please email these initiatives to us at email@example.com and/or add them to an overview file on our member extranet (extranet > hot topics > Ukraine war & food security).
At EU level, the war has triggered the agro-industry to strongly advocate against the EU Fark to Fork Strategy’s targets. In this light, on Thursday 24 March, the European Parliament issued a resolution supporting the Farm to Fork Strategy as the right policy direction to make European agriculture more resilient and independent. We are carefully positive, saying the resolution is a positive political signal, especially considering the weeks of intense lobbying to undermine the EU’s ambition to make agriculture more sustainable. Now more than ever, the Farm to Fork strategy remains the relevant policy direction to adapt our farming system to current and future crises. The war against Ukraine raises legitimate concerns over price increases and availability of certain agriculture inputs, namely cereals for animal feed and synthetic fertilisers. It also forces us to re-think our food production system to make it more independent from external inputs, less input intensive and more resilient.
Readers of this newsletter will know that practical agronomic solutions already exist to achieve these goals, while ensuring both food security for all Europeans and beyond, as well as profitability for farmers. Incentivising and helping farmers to upscale existing agroecological solutions should be policymakers’ priority. With support of the Common Agricultural Policy and the EU Farm to Fork strategy, it is possible to produce healthy food in sufficient quantity without synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, while preserving biodiversity, storing carbon in soils and making our food production more resilient to the increasing impacts of climate change.
Not only the European Parliament’s resolution was a positive note, as, together with the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, we opened applications for the EU Organic Awards. Please help spread the word about these to your networks! You can forward them our press release and will find many posts on our social media about this.
I would also like to remind you that there is another open possibility for giving move visibility to organic. Applications to promotion policies are still open until 21 April.
Last but not least, we also launched the final version of guidelines to help organic operators interpret the EU Organic Regulation. Every IFOAM Organics Europe member will have one yearly access for free! Members of IFOAM regional bodies and IFOAM– Organics International will also benefit from a reduced yearly contribution. The secretariat of each regional body will also get one free yearly access. You will find more information about this in our earlier article.
I would like to call on you to stay strong and united during these difficult times and I’m looking forward to seeing you at one of the many events we are organising during this Year of Organics.
Take good care!