Review of past events
IFOAM EU’s 9th General Assembly & celebrating 15 years of representing organics in Brussels
15 May 2018, Brussels, Belgium
On 15 May, IFOAM EU held its 9th General Assembly in Brussels, Belgium. 79 members from 20 countries joined the event in Brussels to discuss the future of the organisation and to elect a new board.
On the agenda of the IFOAM EU membership were topics like making IFOAM EU fit for the future. The members agreed on the importance of having a strong and balanced representation of the organic supply chain and stressed the importance of continuing to work on the improvement of the internal structure and its decision making processes.
Members elected the Board who will guide the organisation in the next two years:
- IFOAM EU President: Jan Plagge (DE), President of Bioland e.V. and has many years of experience developing the organic sector. Jan has a background as an organic farmer and an organic farm advisor;
- IFOAM EU Vice Presidents of the Board: Marian Blom (NL), Knowledge & Innovation Project Leader at Bionext, and Jiří Lehejček (CZ), Foreign Affairs Coordinator at the Czech Technological Platform for Organic Agriculture;
- Treasurer: Virginija Lukšienė (LT), Head of Development at EKOAGROS PI;
- Sector representative for farming: Thomas Fertl (AT), Head of Department Agricultural Policy at BIO AUSTRIA;
- Sector representative for processing / trade Roberto Pinton (IT), Secretary General at AssoBio;
- Sector representative for certification: Michel Reynaud (FR), Vice-President of ECOCERT SA;
- Other Board members: Sylvie Dulong (FR), Winemaker at AGROBIO Gironde and Kristin Karlsson (S), Member of Organic Sweden.
Following the General Assembly, IFOAM EU members and invited guests joined a reception celebrating 15 years of IFOAM EU in Brussels. During the evening IFOAM EU propositions for the Future of the CAP were discussed together with Mr Pierre Bascou, Director at DG AGRI on Sustainability and income support, and with and Mr Herbert Dorfmann, Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur on the Future of the CAP initiative report.
Demonstrating the SOLMACC project’s success at the final event
16 May 2018, Brussels, Belgium
This summer the SOLMACC project comes to an end. To showcase the positive impact that farmers can have on tackling climate change, its myriad stakeholders have gathered during the final conference. Scientists, farm advisors and organic farmers involved in SOLMACC presented results achieved since the project’s kick-off back in 2013, when 12 demonstrations farms in Sweden, German and Italy started implementing climate-friendly practices linked to optimised on-farm nutrient management, crop rotation, tillage systems and agroforestry.
The event was hosted by Martin Häusling (MEP) and the Hessen Permanent Representation to the EU, with Dr. Beatrix Tappeser, State Secretary of Hessen. Mr. Häusling started off the event with a discussion around the need of a more systemic approach to increase climate change mitigation and adaptation in the agriculture sector, detailed in SOLMACC's policy recommendations. Conclusions of the expert panel highlighted the need for farmers to be adequately supported through public schemes in the CAP to be able to provide public goods, such as greater biodiversity.
Visit the SOLMACC website to see presentations from the event, watch the latest videos on climate-friendly practices, read the latest SOLMACC newsletter and consult our brochure on more economically viable climate-friendly farming.
SOLMACC is supported by the LIFE programme (agreement number: LIFE12 ENV/SE/000800)
Over 60 researchers from eleven European countries gathered to discuss intercropping
15-17 May 2018, Ancenis, France
IFOAM EU and the ReMIX project’s research partners met to exchange on the current status of different tasks, to discuss preliminary results and plan the second year of the project at the TERRENA cooperative in Ancenis (France) 15-17 May.
Faithful to its multi-actor approach, the scientific sessions of ReMIX were complemented with practical work at the multi-actor level, through different workshops scattered across the three-day meeting. Different actors of the TERRENA cooperative value chain, such as farmers, advisors, processors, industrial partners and the cooperative CEO were interviewed, allowing ReMIX scientific partners to get an overview of the existing lock-ins in the system that prevent a wider uptake of species mixtures. “The innovative set-up of the annual meeting favoured the creation of a mutual learning framework in which ReMIX partners were able to exchange on concrete aspects of species mixtures with the actors in the value chain, sharing their knowledge and getting direct insight into actors’ needs at the grassroots level”, said Eric Justes, scientific coordinator of ReMIX, currently at CIRAD (France).
Call for an EU food policy – IFOAM EU at the EU Food and Farming Forum for a fairer food system
29-30 May 2018, Brussels, Belgium
Working Group 6 – Ensuring equitable access to land and sustainable land uses
Photographer: Timothy Eden
IFOAM EU participated to the EU Food and Farming Forum that took place on 29-30 May. The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and its co-chair and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter were the organisers of this event, which was aimed at co-constructing a set of policy proposals addressed to the EU for a comprehensive narrative of the “Common Food and Agriculture Policy”.
More than 250 stakeholders – including farmers, civil society organisations, academics and policy-makers – came together to underline the need to transition towards a more sustainable food system.
IFOAM EU’s participants highlighted how organic agriculture is a means towards achieving this goal. During the two days of the event, participants worked on a set of policy proposals – including proposals related to the CAP – which would lead to greater policy coherence, considering the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other policies such as environment, climate, public health, access to land, cooperative models and trade (short supply chains).
#Double_WTF: Where's the food, without the farmer - European Youth Event workshop
1-2 June 2018, Strasbourg, France
IFOAM EU’s one-year EVS volunteers – Artur, Isabella, Meriam and Tsvetelina – organised a workshop at the European Youth Event #EYE2018 in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg. At the biannual event around 10,000 young people discuss the future of Europe and the most important topics of their generation. Therefore, IFOAM EU volunteers decided to put organic farming and especially the role and needs of young farmers on the agenda.
Their interactive workshop focused on topics of access to land for young farmers and presented concrete strategies like Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), extra-familiar farm succession and community land trusts as entrance possibilities into organic farming. Obstacles like land concentration, missing gender equality, i.e., the lack of female farm managers, and access to adequate training and finance were discussed with 50 interested participants from more than ten different countries.
The overall spirit of the workshop was clear: young, often very well-educated people are interested in a career in practical farming but face several obstacles. Only with a coherent and supportive policy for young farmers and innovations in the sector we can ensure a stable generation renewal which is important for the further growth of the organic sector.
Exchange to learn about organic seed production
7 June 2018, France
For three days, participants to the LIVESEED cross-visit exchanged knowledge about organic seed production in France. The organic seed producer UBIOS opened its doors to 20 participants from all over Europe. ITAB invited seed producers from Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece who had the chance to visit the seed cleaning station, talk to farmers who produce cereal seeds and to share their knowledge with each other. The practice of one young famer to use intercropping in seed production (Faba bean x wheat) was inspiring.
The concept of these cross-visits is to enable mutual learning process amongst professionals engaged, inspire and stimulate regional partners to initiate changes in their systems, forge relationships as a basis for a professional network that can sustain after the project period. This task is coordinated by IFOAM EU within the LIVESEED project. More visits are planned in the Netherlands, Italy and Germany in 2019-2020. A short report and practical materials on organic seed production will be published on www.liveseed.eu.
Evaluating the organic wheat field
Photography: IFOAM EU
Adding value to food for sustainability: IFOAM EU moderates session at the Sustainable Foods Summit
7-8 June 2018, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Celebrating its 10th European edition, the Sustainable Foods Summits focused this year on health impacts, food ingredients and green marketing.
Emanuele Busacca, IFOAM EU's Regulation Manager, was invited to moderate the session on 'Food Ingredients for sustainability'. Among the many topics that were discussed at the conference was how blockchain technology and satellite data analysis can be used to improve the transparency of the food supply chain, and how to take the next steps to improve sustainability in food packaging, e.g., by replacing petroleum-based plastics with bioplastics.
IFOAM EU gives an organic twist to the World Fair Trade Organisation’s biennial European conference
The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) organised its two-day biennial conference aimed at universalising Fair Trade principles through an EU sustainable and fair production and consumption agenda. The organic sector and Fair Trade share many values such as the respect for the environment, fair prices, transparency and accountability.
The first day of the conference focused on how to spread such principles across EU policies by 2024, with a focus on the European Parliament elections in 2019. During the second day, IFOAM EU Director Eduardo Cuoco contributed to the workshop "Domestic Fair Trade and Northern Producers: which synergies with the Networks of existing European producers?" by introducing Organics 3.0 and giving practical examples in terms of what the organic sector is doing in terms of supporting fair trade, fair remuneration to farmers and putting in place progressive and responsible social and environmental policies.