Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Lazy Man of Europe - encouraging organics

Hi everyone,

I've just been sent a really neat report by the Soil Association, the UK's organics association. Titled The Lazy Man of Europe, it's a 16 page document of European government and organics organizations' achievements in increasing hectarage in organic agriculture, educating people about organics, and developing markets for organics. The Soil Association also has suggestions that the UK can make to increase its organic production and sales. The subtitle of the report is Wake up to what Europe can teach the UK about backing organic food and farming.

Living here in Canada, where there seems to be basically nothing for organic farmers and producers in regards to transition from conventional agriculture, no funding for research, and no encouragement towards buying, this report is like reading fantasy fiction. I have to state quickly that I love fantasy fiction!

The report can be found at: http://www.soilassociation.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=0DLNEXzSlJk%3d&tabid=1315

I hope you'll take a look and find projects and policies that intrigue and excite you. I couldn't resist noting a few highlights below.

Very kind regards,

Why's Woman

In France, there is an a public interest group called Agence Bio, which formed in November 2001 for the development and promotion of organic farming. Its member agencies include the French Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fishery; the National Federation of Organic Farming; and the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Sea. I find it wondrous that a federal level of government has a ministry with the term 'ecology' in it. Wondrous too is that federal ministries and an organic NGO are working together.

In Italy, there's a national law that requires each school to appoint a 'Canteen Commission' to involve families in the monitoring and evaluation of the quality of school meals. Are there elementary schools in Ontario that still have cafeterias, let alone cafeterias that are preparing food on site and that encourage the parents of students to participate in their management?

In Denmark, the government works with a Danish NGO, Organic Denmark, on market development and policy development in regards to organic products. Danish farming policy sets a goal of doubling the organic farming area and increasing financing for organic market development and conversion to organic agriculture.

In Holland, 20% of the government budget that goes to agricultural research goes to organic agricultural research! In a planning report from 2010 was the statement: "The Dutch government wants to take concrete steps towards a sustainable society, and to set a good example. (such straightforward words!) Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality wrote in 2007: "The central government aim to do this by achieving 100% sustainable procurement in government catering" and that the Ministry aims to use a minimum of 75% organic products in its facilities.

No comments: