Welcome note November 2020 newsletter

Dear readers,  

I would like to use this opportunity to look back on a turbulent year, marked with great successes and unprecedented challenges, and look ahead. 

This spring’s first wave of Covid-19 caught all of us by surprise. On behalf of my team and the European organic movement, I would like to thank everyone involved in fighting the virus: doctors, nurses, specialists, those wearing masks and following official guidelines, and everyone else making sure the most vulnerable people are protected.  

As Director of the European organic movement, I would also like to express our gratitude to all organic stakeholders who continued working during these challenging times. It was you who provided us with healthy, high-quality food, protected the environment and enabled further growth of the organic market. 

The European organic movement’s milestones 

As IFOAM Organics Europe, we are continuing to work with all actors along the organic value chain to make our Vision 2030 a reality. One of our major successes in 2020 is the inclusion of the 25% organic land target in the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. As part of the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy aims at addressing “the challenges of sustainable food systems in a comprehensive way, recognising the inextricable links between healthy people, healthy societies and a healthy planet” (1). 

The first digital edition of our European Organic Congress, 1-3 July, provided the perfect platform to discuss the opportunities the Farm to Fork strategy offers. 25 speakers and 1,000 participants talked about the new EU Organic Regulation, the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), and the future of our food system. At the end, high-level speakers from the European Commission, European Parliament and the German Presidency of the EU Council agreed that our system is experiencing a biodiversity and climate crisis, and organic food and farming is part of the solution and way forward. 

Another milestone for the European organic movement is the Commission’s decision to postpone the application of the new EU Organic Regulation to 1 January 2022. Together with our members, we advocated at all levels to make sure the implementation would be feasible for those working in organic. As basic regulations are rarely amended before their implementation, this was not an easy task. Our success shows the strength of uniting as organic movement and sector at EU level. 

Looking ahead: 2020 and beyond  

Most of these positive developments are happening amidst the second wave of Covid-19, significantly affecting organic operators.  

Yet, as IFOAM Organics Europe, we regret that the European Parliament and Council did not show the same ambition for transforming the European food and farming sector by fully aligning the CAP with the European Green Deal, Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies’ objectives. We will continue to support all initiatives by the Commission to better integrate the European Green Deal into the CAP during the CAP trilogues ongoing until spring next year. 

Before closing 2020, we will host the 3rd edition of IFOAM Organics Europe meets business. This year we are bringing the organic food industry together in two morning sessions that will take place online on 8-9 December. Have a look at the programme and register today to discuss current and trending topics, such as the new Organic Regulation, the impact of Brexit on the organic sector, and the Farm to Fork strategy.  

With the update of our presence, which better reflects who we are and what we are fighting for towards the European institutions, we will keep making Europe more organic in the coming year.  

I kindly invite our members to regularly check their mailbox in the coming weeks – a small surprise will come your way – and wish you and your loved ones all the best for the rest of 2020 and a good and healthy start of 2021! You will hear from us again in the February newsletter. 

Organic regards, 

Eduardo Cuoco 
IFOAM Organics Europe Director  

(1) https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/safety/docs/f2f_action-plan_2020_strategy-info_en.pdf (page 4)

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