A reprint from the Canadian Journal of Organics
An article by Andy Hammermeister, Assistant Professor, Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture
I recently had the privilege of attending BioFach, the world’s leading organic trade fair, held in Nuremburg, Germany. It is easy to see that organic has captured the imagination of the food industry, with over 2,200 exhibitors and over 40,000 trade visitors (i.e. not general public) attending. Products covered the full spectrum of the food industry and beyond, from baby food to bubble bath.
Over the last few decades, organic agriculture and food has evolved from an ecologically based movement (Organic 1.0) to a well-recognized and leading system of sustainable production with regulated standards and identifiable market presence (Organic 2.0). However, organic agriculture remains a niche, accounting for only 1% of the global agricultural land base, and the highest market share in any country has reached only 8% (Denmark). The best organic farmers have demonstrated that organic agriculture can be a sustainable and economically viable production system. However, organic agriculture is presently growing too slowly to have a significant impact on global issues such as climate change, food security and hunger, biodiversity loss, ecological degradation, rural depopulation and social justice. Is it our goal to sustain organic agriculture as a niche market opportunity, or are we really seeking mainstream adoption of organic practices to the extent that organic can truly influence global issues?
IFOAM Organics International is leading the discussion of Organic 3.0: What is our vision for the future of organic agriculture and food? What needs to be done to ensure that organic agriculture rapidly effects change in these global issues? What research is needed? Do our current organic standards and regulations enable or disable producer adoption of organic practices?
Watch for future discussions around this very interesting initiative!
The EAAA believes Organic 3.0 should focus on creating a dual network of Organics and Agroecology, and allow the two to work in tandem, in a family way. In this way the ecology entities will embrace many more farmers than the organic ones, and perhaps bring more farmers to the organic ‘table’ should they wish to develop a certification scheme. This observation will be conveyed to Andy Hammermeister.