Welcome note May 2022 Newsletter

Dear readers,

I would like to thank you for the enthusiasm and the support you have given IFOAM Organics Europe in the past 20 years. It is only by your hard work every day, and your contributions in all size, shape and form that we were able to celebrate 20 years of the organic movement in Brussels on Wednesday 11 May 2022!

Before the reception, we held a high-level  panel highlighting how organic is part of the solution to  the climate and biodiversity crises we are currently facing.

We were honoured to have Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, among our speakers. He vigorously argued in favour of the EU Green Deal and its targets, in particular the 25% organic land target by 2030. The Vice-President encouraged a long-term view for food security, advocating for a real change in the agricultural system to support future demands in a more sustainable way. As an end note, Mr Timmermans encouraged the organic movement and IFOAM Organics Europe to keep up the good work.

The event continued with an interesting panel about making the European market more organic, in the context of the transition to more sustainable food systems.

The protagonists of this discussion were Natalie Chaze, Director of Food sustainability and International Relations of the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE); Jan Groen, Founder & CEO of Green Organics; Pierrick De Ronne, President of Biocoop; Beate Huber, President of FIBL Europe and Aina Calafat Rogers, part-time organic farmer. The main take-aways of this discussion we need to change the way in which the food chain works. If we want to reach 25% organic land in Europe by 2030, we need to scale up. Both push and pull approaches work for this – ensuring that market and farmland growth go hand in hand. For the market, restaurants and food in public kitchens provide good opportunities, just like transparency – for example using the Planet Score on consumer goods to avoid greenwashing.

Last but not least, the concluding discussion with Wolfgang Burtscher, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) and IFOAM Organics Europe’s President Jan Plagge on reaching the 25% organic target through a supply chain approach. In this, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) plays a pivotal role, and especially the national targets. Member States should be ambitious in setting goals for organic and make sure they can realise their ambitions with a budget that matches these.

We ended the event celebrating some of our long-term partners and sponsors by giving them personalised awards, showing our appreciation for their continued commitment and support. For a full report of the event, read our dedicated article.

If you could not be there, you can relive the first half of our celebratory year by going through our Twitter moments, reading our event’s Twitter thread, perusing our photo album on Facebook, watching the video recording, and keeping an eye on our anniversary page.

Once again, we would like to show our gratitude to those who made it possible, and we are looking forward to continuing the celebration throughout the rest of the year and achieving incredible results all together. We are glad many stakeholders and policymakers now share our 2015 vision of more organic land in Europe. It’s a key success of our movement.

We remind you that we are still celebrating our 20-year anniversary throughout 2022.

If you would like to be a part of this celebration, feel free to send in your written and/or video testimonials to tell us about your experience with us. Contact [email protected] to learn more.

I would also like to remind you that you can apply to the EU Organic Awards until 8 June. These awards the European Commission organises are an excellent way to put the organic sector in a positive light. We encourage all of our members to consider applying!

Organically yours,

Jan Plagge

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