Friends & Affiliates of IFOAM - Organics International

Dear Friends & Affiliates of IFOAM - Organics International,

With 2015 coming to a close, we are starting to prepare the launch of our Membership E-Directory 2016.

The Membership E-Directory of IFOAM - Organics International is an e-publication, which can be downloaded from our website free of charge. It is continuously promoted through a number of mailings throughout the year to more than 20,000 organic and sustainable stakeholders from over 120 countries. It provides easy and reliable access to information on the full diversity of the organic movement, represented by over 800 Affiliates (click here to see the 2015 edition of the Membership E-Directory).

Send us your advertisement today and benefit from maximum, targeted exposure of your organization or products to an international, organic audience! Advertising rates are available here with 50% discount for Affiliates of IFOAM Organics - International.

Please note that we can only guarantee the placement of your advert if we receive your artwork and payment by 14 December 2015. The Membership E-Directory will be published by March 2016.

Best regards,
Denise Godinho
Membership & Communications Manager


The Organic Farming Research Foundation report
by Redaktion  

The report of Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), a non-profit organization working to advance organic agriculture, provides an overview of 106 grants, an investment of nearly $1.5 million focused on major challenge areas for organic farmers, such as pest, disease and weed management. This report was conducted to review and analyze the past nine years of OFRF’s grant making program, (2006-2014), with the goal of refocusing, strengthening and expanding the program for the future.

Since its founding in 1989, OFRF has granted over $3 million for 315 research projects. Overall, grant funding has advanced scientific knowledge and improved the practices, ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming.

This report recommends continued support for insect, disease, and weed management research efforts as well as special attention to research needs related to post-harvest handling and food safety, pasture management, crop rotations, and livestock disease.

Organic farming and organic farming research have grown tremendously in recent years. When OFRF was founded in 1990, organic farming research was not a well-studied field of inquiry, and the US Department of Agriculture was more than a decade away from certifying organically grown products. Today there are more than 15,000 certified organic producers in the US, a growth of 250% since 2002, and organic farming research is now being conducted at universities around the world (USDA, 2015).


Iconic food brands (like Kraft and Hershey's) forced to change their approach
by Editor  

As eating habits are changing, consumers are walking away from America's most iconic food brands. Hence the fact that food companies are struggling to keep up with new-age consumers.

Big food manufacturers are reacting by cleaning up their ingredient labels, acquiring healthier brands and coming out with a prodigious array of new products. General Mills will drop all artificial colors and flavors from its cereals. Last year, General Mills purchased the organic pasta maker Annie's Homegrown for $820 million - a price that was over four times the company's revenues. Perdue, Tyson and Foster Farm have begun to limit the use of antibiotics in their chicken.

The food movement over the past couple of decades has substantially altered consumer behavior and reshaped the competitive landscape. Per capita soda sales are down 25% since 1998, mostly replaced by water. Orange juice, a drink once seen as an important part of a healthy breakfast, has seen per capita consumption drop 45% in the same period. It is now more correctly considered a serious carrier of free sugar, stripped of its natural fibers.

Food companies are moving in the right direction, but it won't be enough to save them. If they are to survive changes in eating habits, they need a fundamental shift in their approach. Companies will have to drastically cut sugar; process less; go local and organic; use more fruits, vegetables and other whole foods; and develop fresh offerings.


Genetically engineered salmon approved for consumers
by Redaktion  

Federal regulators approved on Thursday the 19th of November a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption, clearing the last major obstacle for the first genetically altered animal to reach U.S. supermarkets and dinner tables. The AquAdvantage salmon, as it is known, is an Atlantic salmon that has been genetically modified so that it grows to market size faster than a conventionally farmed salmon. The approval by the Food and Drug Administration caps a long struggle for AquaBounty Technologies, the small company that first applied for approval in the 1990s.

The approval of the salmon has been fiercely opposed by some consumer and environmental groups, which have argued that the safety studies were inadequate and that wild salmon populations might be affected if the genetically engineered fish were to escape into the oceans and rivers.

It is not likely there will be much of the salmon on the market because the approved production facilities, which are in Panama, have the capacity to produce only about 100 tons of fish a year, a tiny amount compared with the roughly 300,000 tons of Atlantic salmon the United States imports each year.

FDA officials said that the process of approval took so long because it was the first approval of its kind. The officials said the fish would not have to be labeled as being genetically engineered, a policy consistent with its stance on foods made from genetically engineered crops. However, it issued draft guidance as to wording that companies could use to voluntarily label the salmon as genetically engineered or to label other salmon as not genetically engineered.


Organic foods and beverages market forecasts
by Editor  

The rise in awareness of disadvantages of inorganic food on health has shifted the trend to develop organic food which is expected to drive the market of organic food & beverages majorly. Factors such as awareness about the harmful effects of synthetic ingredient and desire of improving overall health are expected to spur the organic food & beverages market in coming years. However, short life span and higher prices of organic food compared to conventional inorganic food are expected to hamper the market growth in coming years.

Key players include Organic Valley, The Hain Celestial Group Inc., Whole Foods Market, Nestle SA, Amy’s Kitchen Inc., Kellogg Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Starbucks Corporation, Groupe Danone SA and PepsiCo Inc. The market is also expected to get advantages from financial aids, subsidies and R&D programs by different government and non-government organizations such as FiBL (Switzerland), the USDA and APEDA (India) to help conventional farmers to shift to organic farming.

Organic farming is carried out in more than 160 countries globally. U.S., Argentina and Australia are leading in terms of having largest area for organic farming. Europe closely follows the market share of North America. Germany is expected as the biggest consumer of organic food and beverages product in Europe. However, Asia Pacific is expected to witness the fastest growth of organic food and beverages in coming years. Japan is expected to be a biggest region in terms of consumption in Asia Pacific over the forecast period.


Asia's organic cosmetic should get a label
by Editor  

Asian consumers generally don't really know what organic means. There is no single official definition of what makes a product organic, but generally, organic cosmetic ingredients are those that come from organic plants, while natural cosmetic ingredients are those obtained only from plants, animals and substances of microbiological or mineral origin.

In Asia, the absence of mainstream retailers of such products and a lack of large natural food shop chains lead to a disorganized sector where there is strong competition for shelf space with pseudo-natural brands.

Mr Sahota, managing director of Organic Monitor, estimates the global natural and organic cosmetics market to be worth US$11.7 billion (S$16.6 billion), with the United States and Germany being the largest markets. The good news is the confusion over organic and natural cosmetics in the region may be solved by the middle of next year, says Dr Alain Khaiat, president of the association and vice-president of technical and scientific affairs at the ASEAN Cosmetic Association.

The guidelines will cover topics that include the definition of a natural or organic cosmetic ingredient and the amount of organic ingredients that a product should contain to be labelled as organic.


The different routes of EU and US consumers and policymakers on GMOs
by Editor  

In the US there is no mandatory review of GMO foods, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does treat any gene product, that is not itself from a source on the Generally Recognized as Safe list as an additive, giving the agency strong authority over truly novel introductions into food.

But during GMOs early days in Europe, a series of food safety debacles undercut Europeans’ confidence in the food and agricultural industry. Mad cow disease and the radioactive contamination of European fields after Chernobyl led Europeans to be leery of bad scientific decisions made elsewhere.

Agencies in Canada and Europe ruled against rBST on animal health grounds. In the US, rBST went through an extraordinarily drawn-out approval process at the FDA, a special review by Congress, and a labeling controversy. After which the US was primed for a political environment that was pro-biotechnology and hostile to demands for regulation or labeling on any but the strictest of health-based claims.


Organic Trade Association sponsors first-ever Organic Day in Japan
by Editor  

The first-ever Organic Day in Japan had something for everyone: an organic "market" showcasing hundreds of American organic products, a briefing for the Japanese business community on the U.S. organic industry. The unprecedented event held in Tokyo on 29th of October. The Organic Trade Association (OTA), who sponsors the event, plans long-term business opportunities in this key Asian nation.

"Organic represents less than 1% of the food industry in Japan, but interest is growing rapidly, so there is plenty of room and momentum to grow," said Monique Marez, OTA's Associate Director of International Trade. Japan's organic market is valued at a little over a billion dollars, making Japan the ninth largest organic market in the world, according to recent industry estimates.

"Organic Day was one of the largest activities OTA has ever conducted in our role as an official cooperator in USDA's Market Access Program," said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director for OTA. "Japan holds tremendous potential business opportunities for the American organic sector, and OTA's goal is to help the organic industry build the relationships and U.S. organic-brand awareness required for long-term growth in this important market.”


Addressing inadequate food labelling
by Editor  

New Reasearch from the University of Adelaide has found that despite growing interest from Australian consumers to make ethical food choices, most find food labelling inadequate. While many products claim to be ‘organic’ the only way for consumers to be 100% sure is to look for a ‘certified organic’ label issued by an approved certifier.

It’s a subject Australia’s leading organic certifier, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) has long been aware of. The importance of correct labelling and certification are two of the many issues NASAA has explored at a full day Organic Seminar in Canberra last Friday, on the 13th of November.

Most Australian consumers are unaware of the significant difference between products labelled ‘certified organic’ and products labelled ‘organic’. Organic products in Australia are certified to a voluntary National Standard by one of five private certifiers, who then apply their own certified organic labels to products,” he said.

Certified organic products carry a certification logo and certification number. This is the customer’s assurance that there is a third party verification of the integrity of every step of the production process, from paddock to plate.

“On the other hand, products that are merely labelled ‘organic’ may not be free of chemical residue or may be fully imported and packaged in Australia, with the ingredients unlikely to be certified to an internationally recognised standard such the Australian Standard.”


Whole Foods with a new food label
by Redaktion  

CNBC notes that according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the organic industry grew to nearly $40 billion in U.S. sales last year, and while organic demand has increased, so have supplies, which creates challenges for the government’s organic certification process.

At the same time, Whole Foods has added another label to fresh produce with the Responsibly Grown program. Matt Rogers, global produce coordinator at Whole Foods, told CNBC that it’s a program Whole Foods “rolled out over the course of the last year to help us add an additional level of transparency,” adding that it is intended to cover aspects of agricultural production that are not a part of the USDA’s certified organic program.

Suppliers that want to be recognized as Responsibly Grown must pay a fee to subscribe to a Whole Foods website and fill out a questionnaire, then the grocer follows up with more questions before determining the rating, if any, the supplier obtains.

Some organic growers reportedly “bristled at facing another certification process” when Whole Foods introduced is food label program, but the company maintains it’s not a replacement for certified organic; it’s a complementary program.


Nordic Organic Food Fair & Natural Products Scandinavia report
by Redaktion  

MalmöMässan, in Sweden, was buzzing with activity during the 1st and 2nd of November, as nearly 4,000 attendees packed the aisles of Nordic Organic Food Fair and Natural Products Scandinavia – the Nordic region’s biggest trade shows for natural and organic food and drink, health, beauty, eco-living and self-care products.

The co-located events featured 345 exhibitors and welcomed 3,930 attendees from over 2,000 companies and 59 countries during two days. Swedish and Danish visitors were by far the show’s biggest audience (67%), with key buyers and managers from many of Scandinavia’s biggest retailers, health stores, pharmacy chains, wholesalers and distributors, public kitchens, and supermarkets represented.

Natural and organic is big business in the Nordic region – and with growing consumer awareness and spending, it’s set to get even bigger.

According to the research of Euromonitor, although the Nordic countries only represented 5% of the total population of Western Europe their share of retail value sales in the health and wellness packaged food category was a massive 28% (compared to 19% for Western Europe).

New for 2015, was the launch of the Nordic Organic Chef Competition, hosted by the Swedish organic chef association Föreningen Ekokockar (in association with KRAV Sweden and Menigo), on Monday 2 November. As ever, the show’s Natural & Organic Innovation Showcase was a hive of activity – and the first port of call for many visiting buyers. Featuring a record 105 product entries for 2015, showcase visitors voted for their favorites on Sunday 1st of November.


The evolution of organic products in the Netherlands
by Redaktion  

In 2014 Dutch consumers bought for 1.13 billion euros of organic food in supermarkets, specialist stores and outdoors. That is an increase of 6% in comparison to 2013, according to the report of the Sustainable Food Monitor 2014, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

In 2015 Albert Heijn and Jumbo have increased introduced their own organic brands. BIONEXT expects that the sales of organic products in supermarkets will keep on growing in 2015. Soon BIONEXT makes turnover for the first half of 2015 known.

Bavo Van den Idsert, the director of Bionext explained: "This trend will continue in 2015. Restaurants and catering companies are beginning to explore the market of organic products. Wholesalers can offer a much better response.

The Netherlands are in line with a global trend of organic growth in the retail industry. In Scandinavia the growth rate even exploded: in 2014 Sweden grew by 38%, in Norway, the growth in retail was of 28%. This demand is growing more rapidly than the supply of organic products.

Due to the strongly increasing demand for biological both at home and abroad, there is a great need for farmers who want to convert to organic. This applies in the Netherlands for cattle farms and pig farmers, crop farmers, open field vegetable growers and horticulturists. More and more farmers reorient themselves to organic farming, hence the significant increase of the number of applications for organic conversions. This was not the case in recent years.


Waverly Hills do well at the 19th Michelangelo Awards

The 19th Michelangelo Awards had a total number of 1665 entries from 364 producers this year. The judging comprised of 17 international wine and spirits specialists from 15 countries and they were joined by local judge, Gregory Mutambe and brandy and spirits judges, Dave Hughes and Dr Caroline Snyman.

Last year Waverley Hills made history with being the first organic wine to be awarded a platinum medal for their Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2010. On Friday 18 September, the new vintage SMV 2011 excelled with receiving a double gold award.

The second double gold was awarded to their CW Reserve Shiraz 2012. This is limited release wine, only 1000 bottles, is produced from a small block on the farm which has high quality Shiraz grapes with small berries and an incredibly low yield of 2 tons per hectare. This exclusive, handcrafted wine is an ode to the late Chris du Toit, for his love of wine, his passion for the wine industry and first generation owner of Waverley Hills.

Waverley Hills is also very proud of their MCC 2012 achieving a silver award.

Waverley Hills wines are growing from strength to strength scooping up top awards consistently, highlighting again that organic wines can compete against conventional wines at the highest level.

For enquiries please contact info@waverleyhills.co.za
These wines can be purchased online on www.waverleyhills.co.za
Twitter: @WaverleyHills
Facebook: /waverleyhills


V Juice's Delizum is an organic vegetable juice.

The rise of fast food businesses has choked the consciousness of many to eat healthy foods. In fact fewer and fewer people eat vegetables these days …. So why not drink it………

Research has shown that drinking vegetable juice is more effective and healthier than any other juice; other juices have more sugar and/or acidity in it whilst vegetable juice contains fibre and has healthy nutrients. Drinking vegetable juice and making it part of your daily diet can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.

V Juice's Delizum carrot juice has no preservatives and no added sugars and tastes awesome. Kids will love it. It is important to remember that it is not just about the taste or just a thirst quencher; it is about the medicinal benefits all year round.

Available in a 200ml vacuum-sealed glass bottle in cases of 24. It has a 3 year shelf life - no need to refrigerate.

Delivered to your doorstep. Order via:
SMS - 0767576949 OR
www.vjuice.co.za OR


Organic Beekeeping Enjoys International Backing

The importance of honeybees to agriculture and thus to human survival is well known. Nevertheless, the honeybee as a species is in danger of extinction but we still have time to prevent this. In order to encourage organic beekeeping and contribute to saving the honeybee, IFOAM – Organics International has therefore established an Apiculture Forum.

The new forum pools the interests and experiences of beekeepers, traditional honey collectors, farmers, civil society and other organizations involved with bees and organic beekeeping. Its establishment is the result of a joint initiative by IFOAM – Organics International, Naturland (Association of Organic Agriculture), FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), Coopsol (an Argentinian beekeeping co-operative), ECOSUR (a Mexican research institute for sustainable development), Demeter (Association for bio-dynamic agriculture) and APICON (a beekeeping consultancy).

The founding members elected Manfred Fürst, team leader of the international department of the organic association Naturland, as group co-ordinator. the first major task for the forum will be the organization of the World Conference on Organic Beekeeping.

In the words of Manfred Fürst, co-ordinator of the IFOAM Apiculture Forum, “Argentina is one of the world’s leading producers of GMO crops, so we shall obviously have to deal with the problems caused by genetic contamination. We will though also focus on the contribution which organic beekeeping makes to rural areas and I am confident that this will galvanize the organic movement in Argentina.”

The impetus for the establishment of this new forum came from the World Conference in Mexico in 2012.

The main aim of the IFOAM Apiculture Forum is to advance the development of organic beekeeping and to encourage the traditional practices employed by sustainable beekeeping. The tasks to be tackled are many and various. One of them is to expand the current organic beekeeping standards, which so far have concentrated on quality aspects of honey and other beekeeping produce, to give added weight to the species-appropriate needs of bees. At a time when beekeepers the world over are suffering from the severe depletion of their bee colonies, the forum also sees its job as a lobby and platform designed to raise awareness of the need to combat practices that damage the environment and are harmful to bees and, last but not least, to guarantee beekeepers a sustainable source of income.


Sustainable Foods Summit North America Agenda Unveiled

London – The North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit (www.sustainablefoodssummit.com) will cover clean label developments, sustainable packaging, environmental footprints, and the impact of new technologies on food ingredients. For the first time, the agenda comprises four sessions and two workshops over three days. Organized by Organic Monitor, the summit will be hosted in San Francisco on 20-22nd January 2016.

The summit will begin with a keynote on plant-based proteins. With the United Nations declaring 2016 as the international year of pulses, a pioneering meat alternatives company will make the sustainable case for pulses. Why is the future of sustainable foods inter-linked with that of proteins? Daniel Imrie-Situnayake, Co-Founder of Tiny Farms, will discuss the potential of edible insects to meet the looming ‘proteins gap’.

The role of new technologies in creating sustainable ingredients for the food industry will be featured. Josh Hahn from MycoTechnology will show how ‘mushroom technology’ can change the profile of grains, sweeteners, and related ingredients. He will explain how myceliation can produce clean label ingredients, such as gluten-free wheat, as well as remove bitter compounds from coffee and cocoa.

The marketing session will showcase developments in the free-from foods market. A research agency will present the latest market data on gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and related products. Greg Steltenpohl, CEO of Califia Farms, will share his experiences in building distribution of almond milk in mass market retailers. Steltenpohl will give insights into the importance of innovation in the non-dairy (free-from) sector. An update will be given on GM labeling in the US. With the food industry fiercely divided on GM labeling, Just label It! will give some predictions for 2016. In the absence of mandatory labeling, what developments are on the horizon with voluntary schemes? Other topics include consumer insights into food labels, transparency for packaged foods, and retailing for sustainability.

Sustainable packaging solutions will also be featured. Metrics will be given on the packaging life-cycle of food and beverage products. Victor Bell from Environmental Packaging International will show how changes in design and materials can significantly change packaging footprints.

For the first time, the summit will have two interactive workshops. Amarjit Sahota, President of Organic Monitor, will host a workshop on the global market for eco-labeled foods. With organic, fairtrade and other eco-labels now a regular feature of the food industry, an update will be given on market & competitive developments.

The program of the 6th North America edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit aims to tackle some of the major sustainability issues faced by the food industry. As well as giving a comprehensive update on eco-labels, the summit will cover major developments in sustainable packaging, new technologies for food ingredients, clean labels, as well as environmental impacts.


EU: two thirds of EU-States reject GMO Crops
by Editor  

Two thirds of EU states have requested to be allowed to ban the growing of genetically modified crops in their countries, choosing the “opt-out” clause of a European Commission rule that allows members to override EU-wide GMO approvals. Nineteen European Union member states have requested opt-outs from the acculturation of genetically-modified crops for all or part of their territory, the European Commission announced.

The Commission rule, passed in March, allowed its 28-member states to abstain from growing GMO crops, even if the specific GMO strain had already been authorized to be grown within the union. Even though GMOs branded as safe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are allowed for use and cultivation in the EU, the states were given the October 3 deadline to decide on an “opt-out” option.

Belgium and the UK asked for the opt-out mechanism to be applied to only part of their territories, while Germany requested a partial opt-out, hoping to pursue more GMO research. The full opt-out requests were made by Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, and Slovenia.

The opt-out states de facto are requesting that biotechnology companies exclude their territories from GMO seed sales. Brivio says that requests are being communicated to the companies, which have a month to reply.

The potential use of GMO in Europe has been a widely-debated subject, with environmentalists claiming that it would damage biodiversity. Monsanto, whose Roundup herbicide packed with glyphosate was labeled by the World Health Organization’s as a “possible carcinogen,” has led a campaign against the environmentalists ahead of the deadline, claiming that the ban “contradicts and undermines the scientific consensus on the safety of MON810.”


Organic Life Event
by Editor  

Less than a year old, Rodale’s Organic Life announced its first signature event during harvest season, from the 24th to the 25th of October. The two-day Farm2Fork Festival will be held in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tickets to the three events, a harvest festival, slow down dinner and farm feast brunch, range from $65-$110.

Brooklyn has become the hub for embracing local and sustainable ingredients, with chefs and restaurants leading the organic way. The festival will feature three food-focused experiences, as well as demonstrations on everything from canning to windowsill gardening. Consumers will spend the weekend living and breathing all of the aspects of healthy living that Organic Life is built on, rather than just reading about it. The ability to see, smell and taste that food is an invaluable factor for the new brand, and a very attractive experience for its marketing partners.

Organic Life is expecting around 700-800 attendees total throughout the course of the weekend, with each individual event pulling in different numbers. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Slow Food NYC, a non-profit organization founded to counteract the culture of fast food. Organic Life is already looking into different ways to expand the festival, and taking it on the road to other markets is definitely a possibility for the brand.


Switzerland investing in research for organic food production
by Editor  

Conventional farming is on the decline in Switzerland while organic is steadily growing, with 12% of all Swiss farms now certified as organic producers. But there is a knowledge gap.

An important source of know-how is the FiBL Research Institute for Organic Agriculture. FIBL tests new technologies and passes the findings on to farmers. FiBL is one of the world’s leading research institutes for organic farming, receiving many visitors from abroad, and has seen a growing interest in its work from India, Japan and China. The institute is also involved in international projects.

One such effort is Feed no Food, which looks at dairy cattle. The project was drafted for a three years. Cows naturally graze on grass, but in conventional farming they are given concentrated feed made of cereal and soy.

Another project looks at alternative plant nutrition to replace mineral fertilisers, which are mainly produced by exploiting non-renewable natural resources. For many consumers, organic products are still a luxury. But for farmers in poor countries organic farming could provide new hope.


The expansion of the Fresh Thymes Stores
by Editor  

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is expanding to Naperville, Crystal Lake and Chicago with grand openings scheduled at 7 a.m. Oct. 14 at each location. The first 250 customers will get a grocery bag stocked with $50 to $70 worth of food. Sherrell said lines begin forming as early as midnight, turning to large crowds in the hundreds by 5 or 6 a.m.

The openings are part of a phase of growth for Fresh Thyme that began when the chain opened its first store in April 2014 in Mount Prospect (Ilinois). The new Fresh Thyme stores are in addition to others in Deerfield, Downers Grove, Joliet and Fairview Heights.

CEO Chris Sherrell said Fresh Thyme's ideal customer is someone who wants to transition to a healthier lifestyle focused on natural and organic products that previously might have seemed too expensive. Fresh Thyme stores are roughly 30,000 square feet. They have purposely a smaller size to help with efficiency while still providing dairy and grocery items, a deli, a bakery, bulk foods, vitamins, supplements, beer and wine.


Supporting the Spanish-Speaking Organic Stakeholders
by Editor  

In recent years, the presence of Spanish-speakers in the organic community has grown. In 2014, USDA-accredited certifying agents certified over 27,814 organic operations, one-third of which are located outside of the United States. 42% of international operations with USDA organic certification are in Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean.

USDA organic trade data also show that Latin America and the Caribbean countries play a central role in the U.S. organic market, particularly in filling demand for products such as coffee, fruits, and vegetables. Internal organic markets are also expanding within Latin America. In response to this trend, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) is providing the organic community with easy access to the National Organic Program’s (NOP) resources, to help producers and processors understand and comply with the USDA organic regulations. AMS held its first Spanish-language certifier training in Costa Rica and has translated 17 certifier training modules into Spanish.

AMS is also part of the Inter-American Commission for Organic Agriculture (ICOA), an inter-governmental organization that supports organic agriculture. AMS’ participation in ICOA’s work, which is also carried out primarily in Spanish, enables ongoing exchange of information about the NOP and the USDA organic regulations for our counterparts in Latin American and the Caribbean.


EU Legislation: Parliament vote on Organic, but still obstacles
by Editor  

Today’s vote in the European Parliament’s Committee of Agriculture (AGRI) significantly amends the Commission’s proposal for a new organic legislation. This follows the sector's concern in many areas and is further recognition that the original proposal would hinder sustainable growth of organic production in Europe.

5-year period of legal uncertainty is completely unacceptable "IFOAM EU supports the Committee’s rejection of the Commission proposal to introduce a decertification threshold for non-authorised substances and its suggestion to better harmonise investigation procedures in cases of contamination. This will strengthen process-based inspections and follows what IFOAM EU has been requesting since the beginning", highlights Christopher Stopes, President of IFOAM EU. "However, the clause to review the issue again in 2020 threatens the potential for success. A new 5-year period of legal uncertainty is completely unacceptable for the organic sector and must be excluded from a new regulation”, adds Marco Schlüter.

"In the area of organic control the Parliament sent a very clear signal about its value in the supply chain and the role of annual inspections in maintaining consumer confidence in organic", says Vice-President Sabine Eigenschink. "Maintaining the obligatory annual control, keeping the specific control requirements in the organic regulation and rejecting the excess of administrative burden for shops selling pre-packed organic food were core issues for the organic movement". "We welcome that that the Agriculture Committee calls for an improved administrative structure and better supervision of implementation of the regulation", remarks IFOAM EU Vice President Thomas Fertl.

"It is good that the committee recognised the reality of organic actors and ensures a certain flexibility in implementation in Europe. This especially important for countries where organic is less developed, especially in new Member States", mentions Albena Simeonova, IFOAM EU Board Member from Bulgaria.

"Unfortunately, on import the EU Parliament fell into the trap of trying to enforce EU standards throughout the world, instead of recognising that regional standards can deliver added value to European citizens. European consumers, organic processors, as well as developing countries will all lose out because of this decision. In particular, small-scale farmers in developing countries will have to work according to EU standards not suited to their situation. On the other hand, recognising regional standards as equivalent would have provided the opportunity to address issues that are ignored by the EU regulation such as child labour, animal welfare and deforestation", points out Bavo van den Idsert, IFOAM EU Board Member.

"All the ingredients for the trialogue are now there. However, a lot of obstacles must still be overcome if a consistent organic regulation that supports the further growth of organic in Europe is to be reached. One thing is clear: European citizens wants more organic not less", outlines Board Member Jan Plagge.


Waverley Hills release their Merlot No Added Sulphites 2015

Waverley Hills is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon No Added Sulphites wine. To keep up with demand, we have doubled bottle production of our new 2015 vintage. This wine is available to purchase from the cellar and select retail stores. It boasts delicious white chocolate and red berries on the nose with smooth ripe tannins and fresh berry flavours.

Further exciting news from the cellar includes the release of our Merlot No Added Sulphites 2015 which is being labelled this week. This wine is sure to be a show stopper. With its great pricing at R65 per bottle (cellar price) paired with a remarkably smooth and complex palate for its vintage, it is sure to be another hit for Waverley Hills. This wine is vegan friendly as no animal by-products were used in the production. Due to this wine having no preservatives, it is recommended that it be kept chilled and enjoyed immediately.

To find out more about the Waverley Hills No Added Sulphite range, please contact info@waverleyhills.co.za or call 023 231 0002.


International Biodynamic Conference
The Earth -- a Global Garden?

International Agricultural Conference of the Section for Agriculture

3rd to 6th February 2016 – Goetheanum, Dornach (near Basel, CH)

Reality and Task

Our Earth – a global Garden“ describes an objective reality and at the same time a great challenge.

Whereas in the past the garden was a protected and well cared for place in the midst of an otherwise „wild nature“, the Earth as a whole is nowadays a place intensively worked on by humans. The Earth has become our common garden.

To cultivate and care for the Earth in a dialogue with nature, thereby producing healthy food and beauty is a challenge to be taken on to an ever greater extent.

Nowadays the Earth is often treated solely as a resource to be used, or worse it is degraded into a dump. The dramatic consequences for external nature and for the inner nature of man become more and more evident every day.


Proliferation of Ethical Labels in Cosmetics Industry

The number of ethical labelling schemes in the cosmetics industry is proliferating. Growing consumer demand for eco-labelled products is behind this trend, however there are questions about the long term implications.

Most label developments have been in the natural & organic cosmetics market. There are now over 30 symbols and labels that represent natural and organic cosmetic standards.

Ecocert and NaTrue have gained most international traction, with the Ecocert logo now present on over 12,000 cosmetic products.

Adoption rates of natural & organic cosmetic standards vary considerably between regions. Western Europe has the highest adoption rate where almost 3% of all cosmetics are now certified.

Proliferation is occurring as eco-labels cross over from the food to cosmetics industry. Fairtrade, the second largest eco-label for food products, is becoming popular in parts of Europe. The Vegan Society and Vegetarian labels are also migrating from food products to cosmetics. The Rainforest Alliance seal – highly evident on food commodities – has also recently been approved for use on cosmetic products.

Other labels represent some environmental or ethical aspects. In Scandinavia, the Nordic Swan and EU Eco-flower are well-established, representing cosmetic products with low environmental impacts.

The Halal label is possibly the most prospective. Unlike other labels, it appeals to religious beliefs - and not environmental / ethical concerns - of consumers. With 1.5 billion Muslim consumers, it is getting interest from exporters in the west, as well as Asian and Middle-Eastern brands. Halal certified cosmetics contain no ‘forbidden’ ingredients.

As will be shown at Sustainable Cosmetics Summit Europe, there are concerns about the ramifications of this label proliferation. First, most labels are adopted on a national basis, with few having a significant regional presence.

As a consequence, multiple logos and symbols are appearing on cosmetic products. As has already been seen in the sustainable food industry, this development leads to consumer confusion. Whilst standards assure consumers that certified products meet some ethical requirements, the plethora of symbols and logos has a counter effect. A wider question is: does a truly ethical product need multiple ‘badges of honour’?


Future of Green Surfactants with Novel Materials

The future of green surfactants for personal care and home care products is with novel materials. This is one of the key findings of a new Technical Insights report on green surfactants and emulsifiers.

Green surfactants are now widely used; they include alkypolyglucosides, plant-based saponins, amino acid derivatives, and betaines. However, the future appears to be with materials made from renewable feedstock by new technologies.

As will be shown at the Sustainable Cleaning Products Summit, advances in enzyme technology are spurring bio-surfactant production. Bio-fermentation routes for the production of important surfactant building blocks, such as amino acids, organic acids, carbohydrates, ethylene and acetic acid (from bio-ethanol), are expected to become the norm in the future.

Green surfactants from waste biomass and agricultural raw materials are gaining popularity as companies look to move away from petroleum feedstock. More companies are expected to use sustainable sourced materials.

Personal care and home care companies are looking at alternatives to synthetic surfactants and emulsifiers because of growing pressure to use sustainable materials. Consumer demand for natural & organic products, as well as growing awareness of the environmental & health impacts of contentious chemicals are driving this change.

The range of green emulsifiers remains comparatively limited. Naturally derived materials, especially nonionics and blends are most commonly used in natural skin care products. Interesting developments in this area involve oleosomes from plant oils.

The range of green materials is expected to widen, however questions remain over price and performance. Research finds few materials are cost-effective compared to conventional emulsifier and surfactant systems. Advances in green surfactants & emulsifiers, as well as their applications, will be featured at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit and Sustainable Cleaning Products Summit...


Organizations reject genetically modified (GM) potatoes in South Africa

The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) welcomes the recent decision made by the Minister of Agriculture, Water Affairs and Fisheries and an Appeal Board rejecting the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) potatoes in South Africa.

The ACB with the support of the South African public, vigorously campaigned over a number of years against the Agricultural Research Council (ARC's) bid to bring GM potatoes, also known as "SpuntaG2," to the South African market. The potatoes were genetically engineered to produce a toxin to kill the potato tuber moth. The ACB has always contended that the GM potato posed unacceptable risks to human and animal health, the environment and the farming community. GM Regulators in SA, the Executive Council: GMO Act, agreed and rejected ARC's application in 2009, citing a long list of biosafety, health and socio-economic concerns. These were challenged by the ARC in an appeal, which they have now definitively lost.

Executive Director of ACB, Mariam Mayet said, "we have waited several long years for this decision and are extremely pleased that smallholder farmers will not be saddled with this unwanted and risky technology". The research into the "SpuntaG2" potatoes was bankrolled by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU) and ARC. It was touted as a "home-grown" solution to challenges faced by smallholder potato farmers. However, smallholder farmers reported that the potato tuber moth was not a high priority in their production systems. Ex-ante studies carried out by the project itself, found that the GM technology would be of no benefit to either small or large scale farmers, as it was rather a "solution in search of a problem". The Executive Council stated in its decision that more pressing challenges for smallholders included access to water and availability of seed.

South Africa was an early adopter of GM crops, commercialising GM cotton, maize and soya more than a decade ago. However, promised results such as addressing hunger and decreasing agrochemical use have not materialised. The South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES) published by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in 2013 found that one in four South Africans go to bed hungry every night. In addition, the advent of GM crops in South Africa has dramatically increased the use of the herbicide glyphosate - recently categorised as a "probable human carcinogenic" by the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC).

Contact: Mariam Mayet mariam@acbio.org.za


Announcing the first Sustainable and Ethical Food and Catering Workshop in South Africa

Chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers and their patrons are starting to question where their food comes from. Sustainable and ethical food has become an international trend. Food professionals know they need to comply, but they aren't sure how. There has been virtually no training in South Africa on what "green" catering entails. Conceptualised by three leading South African thought leaders and specialists in the field, Lorraine Jenks, Caroline McCann and Robyn Higgins, the workshop has been devised to address this need.

The workshop will be held on 13 October 2015 at Prue Leith Chefs' Academy in Centurion. In addition to a range of talks by industry experts professional chefs and students will prepare the food two plates of food for each delegate in the Academy's state-of-the art Electrolux Kitchen. One plate with only sustainable and ethical foods and drink and the second plate with cheap supermarket, industrially produced examples.

13th October 2015 - 10am to 3pm - Prue Leith Chefs Academy, Centurion
For further information regarding the workshop or to book your seat, please email workshops@hotelstuff.co.za
Places are limited and booking is essential!


Fair trade milk for British dairy farmers?
by Redaktion  

The recent high-profile campaign for fairer prices by UK dairy farmers has brought the attention to producers, who are struggling in a deteriorating market. The Fairtrade Foundation has responded to calls to put the fair trade mark on milk – saying it supports the general concept. Nevertheless the Foundation claims that they are not necessarily the right organisation for this job, since the work would also need to take in account sustainable agricultural practices and high animal welfare standards.

British farmers face similar challenges to farmers from developing countries but UK’s agronomist have more options to act, according to Barbara Crowther, director of policy and public affairs for the Fairtrade Foundation. Ms Crowther added that UK dairy farmers were able to take their protests into supermarkets, lobby their MP’s directly or have their voice heard through farmers’ unions.


California EPA to Label Monsanto's Roundup as a Cancer Causing Chemical
by John Vibes  

It was announced this week that the California Environmental Protection Agency is planning to label Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide as a cancer-causing chemical. This is just the most recent warning that has been leveled against the chemical by environmental and health groups around the world. In the past year, government agencies have finally caught up with activists who have been protesting against Monsanto and their dangerous products for years.

In a statement released earlier this year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp, is “probably carcinogenic.”

This week, the EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment in California released a “notice of intent” to label the product as a carcinogen. Meanwhile, the issue is up for discussion for California residents, who have until October 5th to speak their mind on the measure. Due to a law passed in the state in 1986 called Proposition 65, the state is required to publish a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer birth defects or reproductive problems.

Nathan Donley, staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco said that this is a major victory in the fight against dangerous pesticides.

“California’s taking an important step toward protecting people and wildlife from this toxic pesticide. It’s nearly impossible for people to limit exposure to this toxin because it is just so widespread. That’s why we need much tighter controls on its use,” Donley said.

“More than 250 million pounds of glyphosate are used each year in the United States, and the science is clear that it’s a threat to public health and countless wildlife species. It’s long past time to start reining in the out-of-control use of glyphosate in the United States,” he added.

For years, government environmental agencies have denied that these chemicals were dangerous, but now with official proof on record, activists are vindicated and are now able to point to scientific evidence to back up what they have been warning about all along.


Enhancement of organic cotton through fair-trade
by Editor  

Fairtrade Australia New Zealand has put the spotlight on Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW) to push fashion labels to do better for cotton farmers in their supply chains.Research has shown that 91 percent of fashion labels in Australia still do not know where their cotton comes from. That same organisation suggests that 90 per cent of farmers in cotton production are based in developing countries. The switch to Fairtrade could change the way trade works for the 100 million households involved in cotton production worldwide.

This cotton is currently produced through around 26 producer organisations in nine countries and reels in an estimated sales income of $10.4 million annually. Fairtrade works with around 60,000 cotton producers globally and aims to ensure a strong system of socially, economically and environmentally responsible production and trade.


Development of the India Organic Food Market until 2020
by Editor  

According to recently published TechSci Research report entitled "India Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2020”, the organic food market in India is projected to register growth at a CAGR of over 25% from now until 2020. The main factor for the increasing demand of organic food products in India is the growing health consciousness. Other factors driving growth in the market include higher income levels, improving living standard, and favorable government initiatives aimed at improving the current scenario of organic farming in the country by providing financial and technical support to organic farmers.

This report has evaluated the future growth potential of India organic food market, and provides statistics and information on market structure, size, share and future growth. Moreover, increasing popularity of organic products has significantly expanded the availability of organic food in retail stores over the last few years. With organic food becoming easily accessible, the market is expected to witness remarkable growth over the forecast period.

TechSci Research is a global market research and consulting company with offices in Canada, UK and India. It provides market research consulting services in six verticals. The report is intended to provide cutting-edge market intelligence and help decision makers take sound investment evaluation.


USA: Organic tobacco under criticism
by Editor  

Antitobacco activists and health groups sent a letter to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), urging it to take action against Reynolds American Inc. ’s Natural American Spirit cigarette brand for advertisements with the phrases “additive-free natural tobacco” and “organic tobacco.”

More than two dozen groups signed this letter, including the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Legacy Foundation. The criticism comes as growth of Natural American Spirit accelerates. Sales last year totaled $658 million, more than double the $289 million in sales reported in 2009. Reynolds said last month that Natural American Spirit’s share of the U.S. cigarette market is now 1.8%.

The main criticism resulted in the brand’s advertisements in magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, violates the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act by suggesting that Natural American cigarettes are less hazardous than other cigarettes.

Natural American Spirit is one of the top 10 cigarette brands by sales in the U.S. It is priced higher than other cigarettes because some of its cigarette styles use organic tobacco and additive-free blends that include only tobacco and water. Brands like Camel use additives such as glycerol and corn syrup to flavor the cigarettes.


Organic Cacao from El Salvador
by Redaktion  

The national project Alianza Cacao is developing an ecological process that is taking off in Salvador. It aims at reviving the cultivation of cacao and improving the future of 10,000 small farming families. Since December the Alianza Cacao El Salvador has brought together cooperatives and farmers from different regions, including these women who have become experts in making artisan chocolate.

Over the next five years, the Alianza Cacao aims to generate incomes for 10,000 cacao growing families in 87 of the country’s 262 municipalities, with 10,000 hectares planted in the crop. The idea is to generate some 27,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Although cacao plantations practically disappeared in modern-day El Salvador due to pest and disease outbreaks, hot chocolate remained a popular traditional drink, and for that purpose cacao was imported from neighboring Honduras and Nicaragua.

The final product has to be high-quality and organic, because the goal is to promote sustainable development. Planting cacao trees is an ecological activity in and of itself, because it creates forests, when the cacao trees are full-grown.


Biocoop: premier driving force in France
by Kai Kreuzer  

Despite the existence of several successful network and franchise systems in the organic sector, Biocoop remains the biggest association of independent retailers in France. In 2014, turnover increased by 13.4 % to € 657m.


Organic Trumps Conventional Across the Board: Highlights from The Rodale Institute's 30-Year Report
by Rodale Institute  

The Farming Systems Trial (FST)® at Rodale Institute is America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture. Started in 1981 to study what happens during the transition from chemical to organic agriculture, the FST surprised a food community that still scoffed at organic practices. After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system. Over time, FST became a comparison between the long term potential of the two systems.

As we face uncertain and extreme weather patterns, growing scarcity and expense of oil, lack of water, and a growing population, we will require farming systems that can adapt, withstand or even mitigate these problems while producing healthy, nourishing food. After more than 30 years of side-by-side research in our Farming Systems Trial (FST), Rodale Institute has demonstrated that organic farming is better equipped to feed us now and well into the ever changing future.

Click to read the 30-year report


Montreal a playground for urban agriculture entrepreneurs
by Redaktion  

Urban agriculture projects are often non-profit, but the entrepreneurial spirit is also thriving in this sector. The success of Lufa Farms, for example, illustrates the possibilities for urban rooftop gardens with its greenhouse farms. These greenhouses are a showcase of year-round vegetable production using sustainable methods, biological pest control and water conservation.

A project called Urban Barns launched recently in Mirabel is taking indoor food production to another level. Housed in a 1,500-square-metre building that is described on the company’s website as the “world’s first commercial scale Cubic Farm (patent pending),” the technology of the site allows row after row of plants on vertical conveyor belts to grow in a hydroponic mix of nutrients, bathed in 12 hours of light from an elaborate LED installation.

In Montreal West, a small enterprise called Bio-cyclette has uncovered a horticultural treasure along the edge of the railway tracks. Looking for more space to grow vegetables for their commercial urban farm. In addition to producing vegetables for sale, they help homeowners set up vegetable gardens in their back yards, and offer environmental friendly lawn care, all accomplished with the aid of bicycles with attached trailers.


Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms
by Redaktion  

A powerful new technique for generating “supercharged” genetically modified organisms that can spread rapidly in the wild has caused alarm among scientists who fear that it may be misused, accidentally or deliberately, and cause a health emergency or environmental disaster. The development of so-called “gene drive” technology promises to revolutionize medicine and agriculture because it can in theory stop the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria and yellow fever, as well as eliminate crop pests and invasive species such as rats and cane toads.

However, scientists at the forefront of the development believe that in the wrong hands gene-drive technology poses a serious threat to the environment and human health if accidentally or deliberately released from a laboratory without adequate safeguards. Some believe it could even be used as a terrorist bio-weapon directed against people or livestock because gene drives – which enable GM genes to spread rapidly like a viral infection within a population – will eventually be easy and cheap to generate.

Last week the US National Academy of Sciences initiated a wide-ranging review of gene-drive technology in “non-human organisms” and in this week’s journal Science a group of 27 leading geneticists call on the scientific community to be open and transparent about both the risks and benefits of gene drives. Debates still rage over genetically modified food after nearly 20 years.


IFOAM Workshop: Engaging the Organic Sector in the Ukraine
by Redaktion  

On 24-25 September 2015, IFOAM - Organics International will be presenting and participating in a workshop of the Anti-Fraud Initiative, in Kiev, Ukraine.

David Gould, our Value Chain Facilitator, will take the stage to address the integrity of organic value chains and the credibility of organic claims through new transparency and data tools such as the bioC Global Organic Certification Directory. The agenda for the workshop spans a range of topics about best practice in organic production and guarantee systems. Other organizations partnering in the workshop with IFOAM are FiBL, GfRS, Louis Bolk Instituut, and EOCC. The event is sponsored by SECO.


Solar hotel in Paris
by Kai Kreuzer  

Exactly five years ago, an organic solar hotel was launched in Paris where you can breakfast on organic baguettes, organic croissant, organic jam, organic yogurt and organic compote. And it goes without saying that the coffee, tea and apple juice are organic products too. In the rooms there is a current edition of the consumer magazine Bio-Info and in the bathrooms you find Ecover liquid soap and shower gel. Some of the towels are made from organic cotton and a small amount of the electricity used is solar. Short-flush toilets ensure economical use of water. The aim is to save half of what is usually used.

“I come here three or four times a year,” says a woman from Guadeloupe. “The hotel is central in downtown Paris, I can get here by bus direct from the airport and it’s good value for money.” Organic and solar are admittedly not the decisive factors in her choice of hotel but she thinks they are good things to have. At 79 euros a night for a double room, the two-star hotel is indeed extremely good value when you compare it with the usual price of hotels in Paris. Although the rooms are small, they are and tidy and furnished perfectly adequately, including a television set with an eco label indicating low energy use.

The price includes breakfast for one or two people. The ingredients are sourced locally: 200 m away on one side is an organic store belonging to the Naturalia chain and on the other side is an organic bakery that supplies fresh bakery goods and bread.

Some visitors are curious to know whether the three one-square-metre panels on the facade of the hotel can produce enough electricity. Laval explains that the area of the solar panels is not actually big enough and adds that he can’t get approval from his neighbours to use the south-facing wall of the building for a photovoltaic array. “So, for the time being, it’s all about educating the public and producing enough electricity to illuminate the outside of the hotel.” Because of its east-west orientation, the roof of the building is not suitable for solar generation.

In the little garden at the back there are a number of tables where guests can sit in the summer. There are also two water tanks (1000 and 1,500 litres) that look like outsize amphorae. They are used for watering the garden and flushing the toilets in the breakfast room and day room. Guests can also make use of ten bikes, free of charge, for riding round Paris.

“Our philosophy is that everything is included in the charge per night. There aren’t any extras that the guest has to pay for.” If you want a coffee in the afternoon, that’s included as well. “This results in our guests booking on average three nights compared with the 1.8 nights that are usual in the centre of Paris,” Laval explains. It doesn’t matter if it’s one person or two, the cost of staying overnight is the same.

The hotel is heated by a gas condensing boiler, which is the most efficient type of gas central heating. Only LED and low energy bulbs are used for lighting in the rooms, corridors, day room and the breakfast room. The plan is to gradually replace the low energy bulbs with LEDs because they are more environmentally friendly and don’t contain mercury.

Art exhibitions are organized in the breakfast room, that looks out into the garden. The room is l-shaped and has ten tables for either two or four people. While the guests are enjoying their organic breakfast, or afterwards, they can gaze at the pictures on display. The exhibitions change every month and about 40 local artists organize who will present their work. Thus Laval gives twelve of them a chance each year to sell their pictures. “The artists can use all the walls at no cost and our only request is that they keep their prices affordable.” Concerts in the garden during the warmer months are another way in which he promotes the arts. He also makes the hotel available as a free outlet for organic vegetables: twice a week about two dozen paper bags filled with fruit and vegetables are deposited on a table in the breakfast room.

They used to have three bins for the separate collection of plastic, paper and glass on every floor but this has been banned by health and safety as a fire risk. “So I was forced to get rid of the collection on all seven floors and to locate this facility, including for batteries, on the ground floor near the lift.” Laval did, however, resist and told his guests and the press all about it in order to put pressure on the authorities.

“I used to drive an R4 (Renault) to Freiburg to buy sacks full of environmentally friendly detergents and cleaning materials that in those days we couldn’t buy in France,” reminisces the 56-year-old Laval. That was a good 20 years ago, a few years after he took over the hotel in 1990. Over the years he has converted everything and in 2009 he changed the name from Hotel des Voyageurs to Solar Hotel. The outcome of all that effort is the EU Eco-Label and La Clef vert (Link), The Green Key. Laval runs two other budget hotels – “I come from a hotel family” – and gradually he has converted them too. He is very keen on process regarding protection of the environment: preventing waste is better than separating waste is his credo. This is why you won’t find, apart from teabags, any individual packs (soap, shampoo, jam, honey etc.). They buy everything in bulk with as little packaging as possible.

Repair instead of replace is another principle of this thoroughbred hotelier. The furnishings are over twenty years old but have been well looked after. Normally, rooms are completely refurbished every eight years, which results in a lot of waste and furniture being thrown out. In this hotel, however, minor damage is repaired. But if something definitely has to be replaced, like carpets, Laval makes sure they are not fixed with glue but with double-sided sticky tape in order to avoid harmful vapour. “People are increasingly concerned about air pollution,” says Laval and this is why he only uses paints bearing the EU environmental logo. In order to protect guests from microwave contamination WiFi is available only in the day room. “The positive knock-on effect is that people sit together in the evening and often get in to conversation with one another,” he explains, delighted with the community spirit.


The House bill on genetically modified foods
by Redaktion  

The legislation scheduled for a vote Thursday is backed by the food industry, which has fought state labeling efforts around the country. The country's largest food companies say genetically modified foods are safe and labels would be misleading. An Associated Press-GfK poll found that two-thirds of Americans support labeling of genetically modified ingredients on food packages. So far, Vermont is the only state set to require the labels.

The House bill would derail Vermont's law passed last year. It requires labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. It will take effect in July 2016. It would also create a new certification process at the Agriculture Department for foods that are labeled free of GMOs. Organic foods would be automatically certified, since they are already required to be free of engineered ingredients. The bill would require that new genetically modified foods go through the safety process of the FDA.

Opponents of the bill are working to stop the legislation after expected House passage. Many environmental and consumer groups are fundraising off the issue.


The Battle against GMOs in the Philippines
by Redaktion  

The Philippines has become a GMO battlefield, with the small farmers and organic farming advocates on one hand and the Philippine government with pro-GMO scientists on the other hand. The Philippine government is showing its cooperation to the neoliberal agenda of transnational biotechnology corporations and the World Trade Organization. It protects the approval of the importation of 60 genetically modified plants used as food or for processing.

Despite the concerns about BT corn’s impact on the environment, it now has 750,000 hectares of Philippine land devoted to it. According to Greenpeace Southeast Asia spokesman Daniel Ocampo, no GMO application has ever been rejected. This makes the Philippines the country in Southeast Asia having the most number of genetically modified (GMO) crops approved by the government for human consumption, animal feed, propagation, and field trial, according to Greenpeace.

To further expand profits, TNCs like Monsanto have developed ‘Genetic Use Restriction Technologies’ such as ‘Terminator Technology’ and ‘Traitor Technology’ whereby sterile seeds, dubbed “terminator seeds”, can be activated to grow only by use of a chemical, and the seeds that all the crop produces will never germinate.

The international environmental group Greenpeace argued that instead of addressing the country’s problem on food security, the propagation of GMOs in the Philippines will lead to food crisis because inputs for the crops are dependent on supplies controlled by giant agro-chemical corporations


Afrisco Certified Organic now offers organic certification of game and venison

You can contact Afrisco to obtain a set of the organic standards and an application form.

Basic principles:
Management shall follow all requirements of national legislation concerning game farming, harvesting of animals, abattoir management and the storage and marketing of meat.
There shall be an annual biome analysis, so that total game numbers can be kept within the carrying capacity of the land.
There shall be active promotion of natural genetic diversification in the herds.
Game animals shall only feed from the veld.
Game animals shall be harvested in the most humane method possible.
If organic game are held with livestock, organic livestock standards shall apply.

We will be happy to discuss the issues with game ranchers and potential consumers. Note that our standards would be acceptable in foreign countries, including the European Union.

Afrisco Certified Organic, cc Pretoria
Tel: 012 361 5127 Cell: 082 6070 49 Fax: 086 511 4114


Michelin star for organic restaurant in Monte Carlo
by Redaktion  

In 2014, Elsa and its chef Paolo Sardi earned a Michelin star. That wouldn’t be news in Monaco, which, tiny as it is, boasts 17 Michelin-starred restaurants, were it not for one important detail: Elsa is certified organic by Ecocert. Sardi is, for now, the only chef in the world cooking certified-organic food to have been starred by Michelin. Here, wedged between the south of France and the Italian Riviera, the raw ingredients are among the planet’s best. Organic production only makes them taste better. Everything is regional: ham from Parma, wine from Provence, almonds from Sicily, red shrimp from the waters at the restaurant’s feet, and vegetables and herbs on the cliff ledge.


Company Raises uses bumblebees for as pesticide carriers
by Redaktion  

Bee Vectoring Technology has secured $3.1 million in financing to commercialize its patented crop targeting solution reports the online technology magazine Techvibe in Canada. The Vancouver-based agriculture-tech company, which is slated to become listed publicly on the TSX Venture, offers a solution which utilises commercially reared bumblebees as natural delivery mechanisms for their proprietary powdered organic pesticides. Bee Vectoring Technology's solution was developed over eight years and is entirely natural, harming neither bees nor humans, and also needing no water. Basically, bees walk through trays of organic pest controls before leaving their hive, which sticks to bees' legs and hair. Then, through pollination, the bees deliver a bacterium or virus to its intended destination.


OTA Launches 2015 Organic Industry Survey
by Redaktion  

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced the publication of the full results of its 2015 Organic Industry Survey, which are now available for purchase. The study provides both raw data and strategic analysis for those with an interest in the $39.1 billion (35bn Euros) U.S. organic sector. OTA revealed initial findings from the study this spring—including the fact that organic food had enjoyed a growth rate of 11 percent in 2014, more than tripling conventional food's three percent gain.

In-depth coverage of more than a dozen categories in food (Fruits & Vegetables, Dairy, Packaged & Prepared Foods, Beverages, Breads & Grains, Snack Foods, Condiments, Meat & Poultry) and non-food (Fiber, Supplements, Personal Care, Pet Food, Household Products, Flowers), and dozens of sub-categories. The Survey tracks U.S. consumer sales and growth of organic food and non-food products from 2004-2014.

The leading category, Fruits & Vegetables, continues to be the largest, accounting for more than $13 billion in sales, with a robust growth rate of 12 percent. New this year: deep dive feature articles on three issues – supply, food service and the growing fiber sector – pivotal to understanding the industry's current challenges and opportunities. A roadmap to shifting market dynamics – the study shows that mainstream retailers sold half of all organic products for the first time in 2014.

The Organic Trade Association's 2015 Organic Industry Survey was conducted and produced on behalf of OTA by Nutrition Business Journal. The survey was conducted from February 10, 2015, through April 3, 2015. More than 200 companies responded to the survey, including revenues reported in narrow ranges, sales growth, and revenue by product, and sales channel breakdowns.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 8,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA's Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members.


Celebrating Soil Congress with an Appeal to Save our Soils!
by Karin Heinze  

The clock is ticking. Across the world, every minute of every day and night fertile soil the size of 30 football fields is lost – a fact made abundantly clear by a ticker on a huge screen standing in front of the Royal Tropical Institute during the congress Celebrating Soil! Celebrating Life! that was organized by Eosta/Nature&More in Amsterdam. The numerous prominent speakers from all over the world left us in no doubt that we have to take urgent action if we are to preserve soil that constitutes the very foundation of all agriculture. The Amsterdam Declaration appeals to people to protect soils as a vital issue. We were all impressed by how cultural, spiritual and religious considerations were integrated into the event and how they made their contribution to the aim of Celebrating Soil! A Facebook campaign was launched to involve the public and within a few days there were 30,000 Likes. Per Like, the Nature&More Foundation makes available five euros to save our soils.

Experts have calculated that every year 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost, which equates to an economic loss of 1.5 trillion euros. The consequences are devastating: if soil degradation continues at this rate, in 60 years agriculture will no longer be possible. This development has to be stopped in order to ensure food for the world and to slow down climate change. Representatives from trade, politics and cultural life in general all made this point.

The range of the contributions was most impressive. The songs of Angaangaq Angakkorssuaq, shaman and elder from Greenland, the words of Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp and the Dakota chieftain Looking Horse and Miha Pogacnik’s music interpretations added a spiritual dimension to the international conference “Celebrating Soil! Celebrating Life!“ held in the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. Although there was a lot of bad news, a sense of hope shone through. “We believe that, despite everything, we can he al out world,” explained the wife of Looking Horse. The words and ceremonies of around 500 attendees on 26 and 27 June gave the campaign “Save Our Soils” a voice.

That is the aim of the Amsterdam Declaration, which was published at the end of the first day of the conference. The decisions that will preserve fertile soils for future generations have to be taken today. This is why Joszi Smeets from the Youth Food movement appealed to the participants to campaign now against the erosion and loss of soils in order to ensure healthy soils and food security in the future.

In the Declaration – backed by 200 “Save Our Soils” campaign partners – on one page not only the shocking facts are presented but also responses, possible solutions and our obligations. So we read: “Decision makers, governments and representatives of business and civil society have to recognise that organic agriculture is the best way of preserving biodiversity, rescuing the climate and ensuring food security.”

Handing over the Amsterdam Declaration, the 20-year-old Nyakallo Makgoba pleaded: “Please take care of the Earth! Take responsibility as you pass it on to us and we in turn will do the same! Please look after our soils!“

Outside the conference hall, a symbolic action on the part of the participants for the benefit of future generations: making their point with guerilla gardening, Vandana Shiva, managing director Volkert Engelsman, Götz Rehn, Sarah Wiener, Ibrahim Abouleish and other prominent campaigners planted basil in a small area of land where paving slabs had been taken up. Volkert Engelsman (Picture) who, together with the FAO and IFOAM, created the ”Save Our Soils” campaign expressed his hope and confidence: “Farmers who take care of their soil are the doctors of the future. But consumers are ultimately the people with power – things can really change only if they decide in future to buy sustainably grown products.” And he added: “What gives me hope is the fact that young opinion formers support organic and sustainable farming. So it’s up to us as the lead generation to take responsibility now.”

The “Save Our Soils” campaign (rettetunsereboeden.de) was devised by Eosta/ Nature&More and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to focus attention on the importance of healthy soils. The campaign is supported by many celebrities, including Julia Roberts, the Dalai Lama and the former Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The “Save Our Soils“ fund was launched in February 2015 and has already collected 200,000 euros to help farmers worldwide in their efforts to maintain fertile, healthy soils and to practise organic agriculture.


USA: Organic drive-through will open soon
by Redaktion  

Amy’s Kitchen is one of the nation’s top brands of natural and organic convenience foods. The company is now planning a new restaurant, which is expected to draw attention from the fast-food industry. It will be a place for all-vegetarian menu of burgers, pizza, burritos and salads, all of which can be made either vegan or gluten free. The only non-organic items on the menu are the sodas, and even they are free of genetically modified ingredients or preservatives, thus, requiring a specially designed cooling system to keep them fresh.

Last winter, Amy’s, now 27 years old, announced the restaurant would open in May. Blogs and websites later predicted a June opening. And last week, the company put out a news release saying the restaurant will start business in July. The delay was partly because of the work needed to get the kitchen just right, Rudolph said. Amy’s has built a larger food preparation area than normal for the 150-seat restaurant and is taking extra care to make sure there will be no cross-contamination that could affect those who are allergic to wheat or those who insist on strictly vegan food.


OK-Net Arable for more knowledge exchange in organic farming
by Redaktion  

The complexity of organic farming requires farmers to have a very high level of knowledge and skills, but the exchange of farming techniques is limited. The new EU funded project aims to boost knowledge exchange between organic farmers, advisers and researchers. The thematic knowledge network OK-Net Arable has three specific objectives. First of all the project partners want to create a European network of farmer innovation groups representing the best examples of co-innovation by farmers and researchers. The farmer groups are both going to exchange experiences in the area of arable crop production and test innovative end-user and education material developed in the project.

The second objective is to digest and synthesize the considerable knowledge available from the reservoir of scientific and practical knowledge in the area of organic arable farming. A subsidiary goal is to identify the best methodology in learning and knowledge exchange. Based on this the education and end-user material will be developed. Last but not least OK-Net Arable will create a platform for knowledge exchange across Europe, unique in organic farming. The platform will offer evidence-based advisory material as well as facilitating farmer-to-farmer learning. It is going to be a virtual meeting place for farmers, advisers and researchers that would otherwise not be able to meet.

In the beginning of June, OK-Net Arable launched a project website. Interested stakeholders can follow the progress of the project and learn about how the project is going to improve the exchange of knowledge about organic arable cropping.


IFOAM EU: Organic Vision and Strategies for Europe in 2030
by Redaktion  

The 9th European IFOAM Congress undertook the important task of focusing on the future of the organic industry in Europe and devising strategies for turning the vision of the organic movement in 2030 into reality. The basis for the work organized in four groups was the brochure “Transforming Food & Farming – An Organic Vision for Europe in 2030”. The brochure is the outcome of a participatory process that began in November 2013 in Brussels. The aim is, by 2030, to establish fair, environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices in production and trade on a wide scale, to ensure that a high proportion of land is managed organically and to raise the consumption of organic food.

Since the end of 2013, in various workshops and internet forums, more than 300 industry actors were involved in formulating the vision prior to the Riga Congress and the results of 35 studies were incorporated into the work. 50 % of agricultural land managed in keeping with organic principles by 2030 was probably one of the most ambitious targets. “That’s a dream that may not be achievable in the next 15 years, but we’ve got to have dreams,” IFOAM EU President Christopher Stopes insisted when he presented the 30-page summary of the results of the vision process.

Since 2013, there has also been much discussion about the strategic re-alignment of the eco sector at the global level (Organic 3.0). This now has to be substantiated and broken down to the European level. He pointed out that in the last 15 years there has been a great deal of growth and development in the organic sector. In the brochure “Transforming Food & Farming – An Organic Vision for Europe in 2030” we find examples of success: among other things, the retail sales of organic food in Europe grew by 138 % from 10.2 billion euros in 2004 to 24.3 billion in 2013 and organically managed land in Europe expanded by nearly 70 % to 11.5 million hectares between 2005 and 2013.

Stopes said that the successes had led both to new opportunities and new challenges . This was the reason why it had become necessary to take stock to ensure that the organic industry continued to be the leader in developing viable models and systems in agriculture and the production and processing of food. In the preparation phase four possible scenarios were considered covering political and economic developments, consumer behaviour, energy and technology, that can all influence the development pathway of the eco sector.

Included in the scenarios were uncertainties arising from, for example, climate change, land scarcity, water shortage, genetic engineering, concentration of power in industry, technical progress, social developments, growth of the world population, etc. However this list also contains possible opportunities and solutions to some of the challenges we face.

Examples of best practice illustrate clearly that there are very successful strategies to incorporate organic on a large scale into business models. The public canteens operated by the City Council in Copenhagen are given as a successful model. At the beginning of 2015 the proportion of organic ingredients in meals rose to 83 %. The Danish organic industry association Organic Denmark had set the ambitious target of 60 % of organic food in all public canteens. The so-called Copenhagen House of Food aspires to a massive 90 % by the end of 2015, and it’s well on the way to achieving it! Another good example of an innovative approach is the CSA movement: in 2013, Community Supported Agriculture brought together 400,000 consumers and 4,000 farms.


Rodale Institute: organic has many advantages
by Redaktion  

After 30 years of side-by-side research in a Farming Systems Trial (FST)®, Rodale Institute has demonstrated that organic farming is better equipped to feed us now and in future. The trial at Rodale Institute is America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture, which started in 1981. After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system. Over time, FST became a comparison between the long-term potential of the two systems. Carbon increase was highest in the organic manure system, followed by the organic legume system. The conventional system has shown a loss in carbon in more recent years. In organic fields increased groundwater recharge and reduced runoff.

Over the 30 years of the trial, organic corn and soybean yields were equivalent to conventional yields in the tilled systems. Wheat yields were the same for organic and conventional systems. Water leaching from the conventional system more frequently exceeded the legal limit of 10 parts per million for nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in drinking water compared to the organic systems. Atrazine leaching in the conventional system sometimes exceeded the maximum contaminate level set by the EPA for drinking water.


Organic retailer successful with social media
by Redaktion  

Retailers are often thinking if they should enter the market via social media. Answers to many questions were given in the Social Workshop at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago beginning June. Today, “It’s not ‘Why social?’ ” Cambria Jacobs, vice president of marketing and customer service at web-only retailer Door to Door Organics, told attendees. “It’s ‘Why not social?’”

The niche retailer of organic produce grew web sales to $26 million in 2013 with a web site upgrade and the use of multiple social channels. Online sales grew to $34 million in 2014 for Door to Door Organics, No. 446 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide. The successful company increased its fans and followers across social channels from about 60,000 to 300,000 in less than 18 months, Jacobs said. About 20% of new customers come from social media, according to the Internet Retailer.


USA: national GMO labelling initiative in discussion
by Redaktion  

Across America a political battle is raging over proposed state laws mandating the labelling of genetically modified food. Although the scientific community overwhelmingly agrees that GMO foods are safe, some 60 percent of Americans still have concerns. A bill that would create a federal labelling standard for foods containing genetically modified ingredients will be back up for debate this week in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. The first version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., last year.

The 2015 version has a few revisions, including details on a certification for non-bioengineered foods and USDA-accredited non-GMO certification process. Pompeo's office says the bill works to circumvent state GMO labelling laws that could ultimately create confusing standards across the U.S according to an article in Farm Futures.

According to bill co-sponsor Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., the varying standards across states could cost an average family about $500 per year. Ahead of the hearing, opposing group the Center for Food Safety is bringing attention to the 2015 bill, suggesting that it represents an expansion in regulation from the previous version by including a new provision that would make it unlawful for states to restrict GE crops. The group says the bill would weaken regulation of GE crops and "undemocratically nullify GE crop regulations that have existed in numerous counties across the country for over a decade."


Pairing beekeepers with organic farms
by Redaktion  

More than 100 organic farmers have offered use of their land to commercial beekeepers, as part of a new program facilitated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. State organic program leader Meg Moynihan said that the authorities are helping beekeepers find organic farms by creating an online resource to connect them to each other, reports Star Tribune

A healthy hive needs millions of flowers to make honey, and organic farms typically have many of them growing within the fields. Organic farms also may offer different sources of pollen and nectar that appeal to honeybees, with less risk of pesticide exposure. On organic farms, the bee colonies tend to make a little more honey, he said, and are usually stronger and healthier in the fall, enabling them to survive winter at a higher rate, compared to other locations.


Cottoning onto the lie: GM cotton will harm not help small farmers in Africa
Source: African Centre for Biodiveristy  

It took just 5 seasons of genetically modified cotton cultivation in Burkina Faso for farmers to realise that they had been sold false promises; farmers are now denouncing their contracts with Monsanto and cotton stakeholders are discussing compensation for losses incurred since 2008 due to low yields and low quality fibre. This news comes just as a number of African governments are on the brink of introducing GM cotton to their fields. While South Africa, Burkina Faso and Sudan have already commercialised GM cotton, Malawi, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda, Nigeria and Ethiopia could be next in line. Some Regional Economic

Communities (RECs) are also poised to hasten the introduction of GM cotton in their regions by implementing investor-friendly biosafety policies that will apply to all their member states. In this opinion piece, Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) shows how GM cotton has impoverished smallholder farmers due to the expense of the technology coupled with inevitable technological failures associated with GM cotton crops. African producers are already deeply disadvantaged in the current global cotton sector; Africangovernments must think twice before burdening smallholders with bigger debts, onerous crop management techniques and the risk of crop failures in a trading environment where prices are declining and smallholders remain price-takers.


IFOAM: council compromise a risk of less harmonised rules for organic in EU
Source: Karin Heinze  

National agriculture ministers are set to adopt the Council opinion on the proposal for a new EU Organic Regulation based on a new presidency text at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on June 16th. IFOAM EU highlights that the latest compromise text would lead to less harmonisation than the status quo in the EU and therefore urges ministers to come up with a more consistent approach before adopting its position.

“The Council would miss one of the main objective of the revision, to improve EU wide harmonisation if they adopt the latest Council compromise text. Undoubtedly, the Council and the current Latvian Presidency have contributed to significantly improve the initial proposal. However, the latest compromise texts tries to combine two diametrically opposed approaches on key issues. Unfortunately, as a result we risk to have a less harmonised situation for organic in EU than nowadays."

“The compromise on decertification thresholds as it now stands, is actually worse than the status quo. Instead of increasing harmonisation of implementation, member states would have legally more options than before. It is not possible to combine a process-based system with one that is based on the evaluation of end products. Additionally, the implementation can differ among member states. This would lead to an uneven playing field for operators in EU and beyond", adds IFOAM EU Vice President Sabine Eigenschink.

Another unsatisfactory compromise is on the frequency of controls, as it would allow for member states to choose whether or not to apply annual inspection. Again, there will inevitably be a lack of harmonization and an uneven playing field between farmers and operators in different countries. Annual inspections are a cornerstone of consumer confidence and we are now faced with the risk of confusion and uncertainty amongst consumers as to the nature of the guarantee offered by the EU organic logo.

Furthermore, the proposed changes to the import regime remains a major concern, as the shift towards compliance would lead to a two tier system: equivalence trade agreements for third countries with developed organic markets and full compliance for developing countries, highlights Bavo van den Idsert, IFOAM EU Board Member from the Netherlands


Expo 2015: Organic Forum at Biodiversity Park
Source: Claudia Frost  

Organic can save the planet – this is the claim that opened the International Organic Forum at the Biodiversity Park at Expo Milano 2015. At the inauguration on 16 May 2015, Vandana Shiva was present as well as Andrea Olivero, the Italian Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Duccio Campagnoli, the President of BolognaFiere, and representatives of FederBio and IFOAM, among others. The Biodiversity Park is the only area at Expo that is dedicated to organic agriculture.

The aim of the International Organic Forum is to bring together stakeholders of the organic sector with environmental groups, scientists, farmers, companies and volunteers, and also the broad public. Following the meeting with stakeholders from the organic sector, Vandana Shiva planted some local and traditional seeds together with Donne in Campo, a group of women from the confederation of Italian farmers, to underline the central role of women in feeding the planet. The next edition of Sana, which will take place from 12 – 15 September this year, will be a reference point for the Organic Forum to develop a common way forward on the Expo theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.


The Organic Effect
Source: Claudia Frost  

What happens when a family that usually doesn’t eat organic changes their diet to organic? The IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute was commissioned by Coop Sweden to conduct a small survey on whether a switch from conventional to organic food can provide a measureable effect on the level of pesticides in the body. The study was conducted with a family with three children who usually do not eat organic food. The family first had to eat non-organically grown food, followed by organic food exclusively. Urine samples were taken from the family members throughout the period and their pesticide residue content was analysed.

The results of the survey have clearly shown that some organic pesticides are absorbed into the body through diet. By choosing organics, it is possible to avoid those. Compared with the period when the family consumed conventionally grown food, the concentration of pesticide residues decreased by a large factor when the family ate organics. Especially the children had lower concentrations during the period of organic food consumption.


IFOAM call for examples of supportive government policies
Source: Claudia Frost  

The Organic Value Chain department is collecting documentation of government policies and programs (besides regulations) to support organic agriculture and markets. The aim is to compile and organize these in a Tool Kit that can assist organic advocates and governments in their dialogue on support strategies for expanding organic agriculture and markets.

Examples of such government policies and programs include but are not limited to comprehensive organic strategic plans, promotion programs, organic data collection (prices, markets, production), support for research on organic systems, training and extension, direct financial support to operators (subsidies, certification cost-share), capacity development, public procurement, export assistance.

IFOAM is also interested to include polices that remove barriers for organic farmers such as removing subsidies or tax breaks for conventional production inputs. Programs could be fully government driven, or could be based on public-private collaboration. However, they should entail some substantial government participation. IFOAM is seeking both policy documents and program descriptions in English, French or Spanish and accepts translations from other languages into any of these languages.


First franchise chain in Italy offers vegan organic food
Source: Claudia Frost  

Veggy Days is the first franchise chain in Italy that offers organic and vegan dishes. An article by Rosa Maria Bertino (Bio Bank) has recently been published in the monthly magazine Agricoltura, featuring Veggy Days, the first vegan and organic franchising chain in Italy. Red ravioli made of seitan, radicchio with a sauce made from nuts, rice with vegetables and almonds, couscous, pumpkin soup with lentils and a taste of curcuma and ginger… this is just a small choice of the large offer that is available at Veggy Risto and Veggy Burger of the Veggy Days chain..

Con.Bio. of Santarcangelo di Romagna - a company that has been producing organic vegetarian products with the brand BioAppetì for the past fifteen year - and Pinguino Viaggi Network in Pesaro – a company experienced in tourism - are promoting it. They launched Che Veg, the Pesaro-based company that is behind Veggy Days. Giovanni Pellegrini, founder of Pinguino Viaggi Network, wanted to give a hand to his sister who is a convinced vegan and intended to open a vegan restaurant. He made a quick market check on this type of restaurant in 2013 and found that it had a rich potential. After visiting various vegan restaurants in Italy, the plans for Veggy Days started. In the same year, the menu was designed and the franchising concept was laid out. In 2014, the first meetings with potential entrepreneurs took place, and in July the first Veggy Days in Desenzano del Garda opened, followed by Cesena, Florence, Latina, Pesaro and Salò. And during 2015, another ten new locations are opening in Milan, Rome, Rimini, Riccione, Modena, Trento and other Italian cities, up to Catania.

Che Veg delivers all the products expect of fruit and vegetables that are chosen by each location. Con.Bio prepares burger, basics, half-finished products for first and second courses, up to ready meals. Those too are made from 95% organic ingredients; Veggy Days has chosen to put a strong focus on vegan for now, however. About 500 products are available and can be delivered from the logistic platforms in Bologna and Forlì to all of Italy within 48 hours.


Tens of thousands of people took part in the worldwide March Against Monsanto
Source: Claudia Frost  

The third annual March Against Monsanto took place on 23 May 2015. Tens of thousands of people were involved to protest against the biotechnology giant Monsanto and its GM crops and pesticides, The Guardian reports. The march was held in around 400 towns in over 40 countries involving the Americas, Africa and Europe.

Around 2,500 people were counted in the Swiss cities of Basel and Morges where the company has its headquarters for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Close to 1,000 activists gathered in front of the European parliament in Strasbourg for a minute’s silence for the existing and future victims poisoned by pesticides, and around 3,000 protesters took part in the march in Paris.

In the USA, protesters marched in Portland and Seattle as well as in large and small cities from coast to coast. Up to 500 protesters including families with small children took part in a rally in Los Angeles. In Santiago (Chile), around 1,000 people demanded the withdrawal of Monsanto from the country and the end of production of GM foods, and in Rio, a noisy demonstration accused Monsanto of bioterrorism, according to The Guardian.


TIPI: Global Organic Innovation Platform
Source: Kai Kreuzer  

Global and European organic technology platforms present their visions and strategies for organic food and farming research on Science Day, held on February 13, 2015 at the global organic fair BioFach in Nürnberg. The Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM (TIPI) discussed the second draft of its vision and strategy for organic farming research and in particular its action plan. At the same event, the European Technology Platform Organics (TP Organics) presented its new research and innovation strategy.

On October 12, 2014, a day before the start of the Organic World Congress in Istanbul, TIPI - Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM (Internatioal Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), presented the first draft of its global vision and strategy for organic food and farming research. Organised by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), representatives from all parts of the world – Africa, South America, North America, India and the Pacific Region – expressed the necessity to improve research and better implementation of organic knowledge. At the presentation of this draft at Yeditepe University in Istanbul in October 2014, one crucial question came in the middle of the six hour session in Istanbul from a participant from Poland.

TIPI, which is targeting the worldwide organic community, has developed its vision and an agenda to advance organic agriculture through research, development, innovation and technology transfer. TIPI’s vision recognizes that current technologies based on heavy use of external inputs that are toxic and pollute the environment come with a price. Investments in ecosystem services and the development of technologies that are productive, stable, adaptable, resilient, and fairly shared are much more likely to sustain the world’s population in a rapidly changing environment. In the 60-page document, a team of authors summarizes the needs of the different countries and continents beginning with Africa, and then dealing with Asia and Middle East, then Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania. In Asia and the Middle East the general situation is described, and a couple of countries such as China, India, Iran, Korea, Saudi Arabia are highlighted, amongst others. As regards Africa, an important event was the conference “Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture in the African Development Agenda”, which was held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 2 to 4 May 2012. At this event, participants shared research results confirming that organic agricultural practices increase yields, improve livelihoods and food security, conserve indigenous knowledge, plant varieties and animal breeds, as well as sociocultural development, and provide much greater resilience in times of climate extremes, such as drought and heavy rains.

Around 80 people from all over the world came to the third Science Day, which was held BioFach on February 13, 2015. The session was opened by Andre Leu, the president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM - Organics International) and Marco Schlüter, the director of the European Union Group of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM EU). Important input to the TIPI vision and strategy was given by Dr. Manon Haccius of Alnatura, Germany, Dr. Ulrich Hoffman of FiBL (formerly United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD), and David Amudavi of the Biovision Trust. TIPI calls upon the organic community to support its point action plan to advance organic agriculture in a forward-thinking and innovative way.

Furthermore, Dora Drexler (TIPI vice president and director of the Hungarian Institute of Organic Agriculture ÖMKI) presented the results of a global survey on research needs in organic agriculture. She concluded that a large part of the world’s organic research needs could be covered by the dissemination and local adaptation of existing research results and solutions, and that on-farm research & development seem to be a successful tools. Most topics came for biological pest and disease control, and there is general need for a better system understanding, particular in in tropical and subtropical climate zones.

The new “Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for Organic Food and Farming” of the European TP Organics, presented on the morning of Science Day 2015, describes the research and innovation priorities of the European organic sector until 2020. The aim is to influence the funding priorities of EU and the national research programmes in the years to come. TP Organics recommends massive investments in research for organic farming and food systems. At least 10 percent of the European research budget of the programme “Horizon 2020“ should be dedicated to the organic sector, the organisation states.

Bram Moeskops (TP Organics) introduced the new strategy, while Cristina Micheloni (TP Organics and Italian Association for Organic Agriculture AIAB) presented the main research and innovation challenges in organic production. After the launch of the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, Hans-Jörg Lutzeyer (Directorate-General Research and Innovation) and Alina Ujupan (Directorate-General Agriculture and Rural Development) from the European Commission and Borris Haupt from the Enterprise Europe Network gave an overview of the instruments available in Horizon 2020 and Rural Development to fund research in the organic sector.


New Zealand: Nationwide launch of Anchor Organic
Source: Claudia Frost  

Fonterra's Anchor brand is making organic milk more accessible to New Zealanders with the nationwide launch of Anchor Organic. Anchor Organic milk has made been available to cafes, foodservice outlets and dairies since April and will be available in supermarkets from 18 May. The milk is sold in Anchor’s 100 per cent recyclable light proof bottles, which prevent light damaging the milk keeping it fresher for longer.

Anchor is on a mission to make organic milk more widely available at a fair price. Anchor Organic milk drinkers will be able to trace their milk from the fridge back to the farms it comes from. The organic milk is sourced from Fonterra organic farmers in Manawatu, so the farms where the organic milk comes from can be pinpointed and it can be followed from the farm right through to the supermarket shelf.

According to a survey, 72 per cent of New Zealanders claim they would buy organic milk more often if it was more affordable, and 25 per cent told the company that if it was available in their regular supermarket that would also make a difference. The total domestic organic food and beverage market is now worth more than NZ$133 million (about €89 million) and the amount of organic milk sold domestically over the past year has increased by more than 50 per cent.


Invest in this property - suitable for organic

  1. Property no 13924 Kagiso avenue, Mogale City, Krugersdorp, South Africa. On busy main road.
  2. Presently, having anchor tenant: U-Save Shoprite. It's a three storey building. Unoccupied upstairs, only Shoprite on ground floor. Size of land measures 1.8 hectares.

    A shopping mall can be completed, and offices or residential apartements upstairs.

    An investor or equity can be accepted and also selling will be considered as last option. Prices will be fowarded per agreement.

  3. It's vacant farm land. Next to a lodge. Next to boarding schools. Next to town. In an upmarket area or estate. Next to Lanseria Airport. Plenty of opportunities: farming, accommodation, planting and live stock.
Measures 22 hectares. Situated in Magalliesburg, west of Johannesburg. Gauteng Province. No 52 Golden Valley.

Contact info@Go-Organic.co.za to arrange viewing.


Spain: Organic Hub at Fruit Attraction 2015
Source: Claudia Frost  

The 7th edition of Fruit Attraction, the international fair for fruit and vegetables, will be held on 28 - 30 October 2015. The fair will occupy the halls 7 – 10 at Feria de Madrid, the fairground of Madrid. About 1,000 exhibitors and 50,000 business visitors are expected this year.

A new exhibiting area -The Organic Hub - will be hosted at this edition of the fair. On over 200 square meters, organic horticultural products will have their own space with increased visibility and promotion for the participating companies in order to underline the increasing role organic produce plays on the international markets. During the fair, various conferences will take place. Among this is also a conference on “Organic Fruit and Vegetable Market and Commercialization in Europe”.

Organic production in Spain has been developing very well since its introduction to the country in the early 80s. Spain is now the EU member state with the largest organic land area. Among its organic products, vegetables, fruit, tubers, legumes and nuts are in particular demand. In 2013, the production of those was worth close to €475 million, according to the latest data of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.


Sri Lanka: Good Market - Organic, Sustainable and Local
Source: Karin Heinze  

Sri Lanka is a small country and for a long time the people had other worries than where to buy organic products. But the Good Market project in Colombo shows that there is growing demand for organic food, natural cosmetics and sustainably manufactured products. Two years ago, the American Dr. Amanda Kiessel founded a small weekly market in the capital selling regional organic products and sustainable goods. A second market and a shop soon followed. All three outlets are thriving: the number of vendors and customers is increasing all the time.

Amanda, her partner Steve Francone and the board members of the social business organisation Good Market are convinced that we can create the world in which we live and make it better by taking well considered decisions. On their website, they say Good Market has set itself the task of making it easier “to do good” and making choices that benefit our health and our planet. Good Market offers its services as a marketing platform where organic farmers and the manufacturers of sustainable, environmentally friendly, fair trade products and natural cosmetics, etc. can make their goods available to consumers. Suppliers can apply to offer their products at the weekly markets (held on Thursday and Saturday) or to be sold in the shop.

Who is behind the idea of Good Market? First and foremost Amanda Kiessel. She comes from Michigan / USA and has lived and worked in Asia since 1999. A biologist and agricultural ecologist specialising in sustainable food systems, she came to Sri Lanka in 2003 to carry out an evaluation programme for organic tea. She intended to stay for eight months but didn’t go back. A lot has happened since then: together with her partner Steve Francone – a financial expert from Arizona - Amanda created the organisation Seva Organic Seeds and the Sevalanka Foundation. Seeds Seva is devoted to preserving the traditionally very high degree of biodiversity and what it is based on, namely seeds.

All vendors have to meet the criteria prescribed by the Good Market organisation. New applications are scrutinised and selected by a committee that meets every week. When successful applicants receive confirmation, it means they can take part in all Good Market advertising campaigns.

Seva Lanka overlaps with the Good Market concept. The network is also involved in many other activities like Ayurvedic medicine, eco-tourism, renewable energy and green technologies. The aim is to develop Sri Lanka as an international model of sustainability. This includes making organics available not only for the affluent class but for everyone in society.

The shop has a good assortment and sells not only food items (dry goods and fresh produce) but also a wide selection of takeaway bakery goods, environmentally friendly detergents and cleaners, natural toiletries, sustainable products like shopping bags made from recycled saris and potting compost from coconut shells. Amanda and Steve are delighted that the shop and the markets have become so popular in such a short time. The customers are not only the well-off wives of ambassadors and foreign businessmen but also local families who value fresh and healthy food and who, at the same time, want to support this very positive venture.


Global March Against Monsanto
Source: Claudia Frost  

On 23 May 2015, a broad coalition of individuals and groups will gather in cities and towns all over the world as part of a global March Against Monsanto. The intention of this march is to raise public awareness and bring increasing political pressure to bear regarding Monsanto’s corporate farming and business practices and to fight for labelling of foods that contain genetically engineered and/or modified materials. It has been estimated that close to 40 countries spanning six continents and over 400 cities will be participating in the March Against Monsanto for a peaceful, non-violent, protest.

“Monsanto does not want consumers to know what they are eating and is continuing to aggressively fight labelling of GMOs in food. This effort is now reaching even further than blocking attempts by states like California, Oregon and Hawaii from passing labeling laws. Currently a Monsanto former lobbyist is one of the corporate representatives drafting the newest and largest international trade agreement, the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership). Non-Labeling of GMO foods is being written into the TPP,”


Denmark: Organic sales increase by 6%
Source: Claudia Frost  

The desire for foods that promote animal welfare and are free of pesticides is clearly reflected in the increased sales of organics, Organic Denmark reports. New figures from Statistics Denmark reveal that organic sales rose to DKK6.2 billion (about €830 million) in 2014, an increase of 6% on the previous year. Measured in volume (tonnes), sales even increased by 8%, as prices for most product groups fell in 2014. The increases were most visible in meat, as well as in fruit and vegetables. The largest organic product groups in Denmark are still milk, cheese, and eggs, representing 35% of the total turnover, as well as fruit and vegetables with a total of 23%.

“2015 has begun with double-digit growth for organic fruit and vegetables, dairy products and meat, and especially Føtex registered a significant growth regarding organic fruit and vegetables in the first quarter of 2015”, says Jeppe Dahl Jeppesen, purchasing director of fresh goods at Dansk Supermarked, which expects the positive trend to continue. Organic sales are also on the rise at Coop. Here, the reduction of prices (financed by Coop) had significant effects on the sales of organics in the first four months this year: “2015 has been fantastic so far. Customers have acknowledged the cost reductions we have made, putting 20% more organic products in their shopping carts.


Fairtrade at UK Coffee Week and London Coffee Festival
Source: Claudia Frost  

The Fairtrade Foundation joined more than 250 coffee roasters, cafés and other exhibitors at this year’s London Coffee Festival that took place from 30 April to 3 May 2015. It showcased a selection of coffees that carry the Fairtrade mark and ensured that coffee-lovers know how Fairtrade benefits coffee farmers. Fairtrade coffee has been available for more than 20 years, but the quality has improved significantly in recent years and, in 2014, Fairtrade coffee won 14 Great Taste Awards.

When farmers sell their coffee on Fairtrade terms, they earn at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price of US$1.40 per pound, or $1.70 per pound for organic coffee, which provides a vital safety net when market prices fall. Farmers also earn an additional Fairtrade Premium of 20 cents per pound. At least 25% of this (5 cents) must be invested to improve coffee quality, and the rest can be used to benefit their business and community, for example to build roads or health clinics.

he London Coffee Festival marked the official launch of UK Coffee Week taking place from 4 to 10 May 2015 - a fundraising initiative that celebrates British coffee culture and raises money for Project Waterfall, which brings clean water to coffee-growing communities around the world. Businesses that support the UK Coffee Week include Starbucks, which is currently celebrating five years of serving 100% Fairtrade espresso-based drinks in the UK & Europe, Middle East & Africa.


Egesun focuses on its own raw materials projects
Source: Karin Heinze  

The Morgenland brand has been established in the wholefood trade for more than 30 years and offers a comprehensive range of nuts, dried fruit, conserves and coconut products. Behind the name Egesun stands a visionary, restless spirit called Orhan Yilmaz. Long ago, he realised that using raw materials from his own projects certainly involve high costs and much effort but that in the long-run it’s an approach that proves its worth - both for the farmer on the front line and for product quality and transparency.

The Morgenland brand has been established in the wholefood trade for more than 30 years and offers a comprehensive range of nuts, dried fruit, conserves and coconut products. Behind the name Egesun stands a visionary, restless spirit called Orhan Yilmaz. Long ago, he realised that using raw materials from his own projects certainly involve high costs and much effort but that in the long-run it’s an approach that proves its worth - both for the farmer on the front line and for product quality and transparency.

The Egesun subsidiary in Sri Lanka is called Tropical Health Food (THF). The company really does deserve to be described as a success story. This respected firm, in which around three million euros have been invested, provides employment for up to 90 people in the vicinity of the firm’s headquarters and creates an income for hundreds of farming families through the cultivation of organic coconuts and tropical fruit – mainly pineapple, papaya and mango. In the factory in Kurunegale, to the north of the capital Colombo, there are, alongside the manual sorting and processing of fruit, skilled jobs in the laboratory and the administration.

Orhan Yilmaz is constantly on the lookout for new sources of raw materials that fit into the wide Morgenland brand portfolio (150 articles). He was, therefore, thrilled when about 20 years ago he discovered in Sri Lanka an “unusually delicious” pineapple called Mauritius, an old and extremely robust variety. They carried out processing experiments, and it turned out that the golden-yellow flesh of the Mauritius pineapple was ideally suited to drying and that the aromatic taste was outstanding for conserves.

Around 140 certified organic farmers, with farms of varying size and cultivating over 2,000 hectares, supply Tropical Health Food (THF). There the pineapples are processed, some as rings or chunks in jars and some as dried fruit. What’s special is the fact that the pineapples are preserved in their own juice and without the use of sugar. Dried papaya and mango are similarly important products.

“Coconuts are our end product,” says a delighted Kees Maris. Three to five containers with the products of this all-round plant are sent on their way every week to Europe. The coconut products, milk, cream, shredded coconut, crisps and oil (VCO Virgin Coconut Oil) are manufactured and filled by the partner firm under the control of managing director Sampath Anuruddha. He was previously an employee of Egesun and, with the help of the company, he set up his own firm and has now taken over the processing of coconuts. “We’re comfortable with the idea that committed individuals take the initiative here and cooperate with us,” Kees Maris explains. Alice Fridum confirms that “coconut milk from Sri Lanka is currently the best-seller in the Morgenland product assortment,” and she sees great potential in the whole coconut range.

We have to remember that for many years the people of Sri Lanka have not had an easy life – there was civil war in the north. After the war, from 2000, the country and industry were re-built.

The coconut plantations, that alongside tea and rubber are among the most important edible raw materials, had however been suffering since 1962, when they were nationalized under the Communist regime and scarcely tended. Productivity in the so-called Coconut Triangle, the most important agricultural region and found in the west of the island, declined massively. After the war, when they began to invest in looking after the plantations and production rose, climate-related catastrophes like tornados and the tsunami once again impacted production in the Asiatic region.


Nepal: OneWorld Initiative helping on the ground
Source: Karin Heinze  

The OneWorld Initiative has been active in Nepal since 1998. Peter Effenberger and Shyam Hada run OneWorld – A Learning Center, grow herbs bio-dynamically and have built up the Nepali Gardens brand (tea, incense). The farm called Land of the Medicine Buddha was lucky when the violent earthquake struck.

Although the farm is only 35 km from the epicentre of the earthquake, none of the employees was harmed. However, some have lost their houses and, because communications have been disrupted, there is still no information on the Chepang project belonging to the OneWorld Initiative that is located further away in the mountains.

Appeal for donations and specialists

Demeter partner OneWorld is now appealing for donations to set up soup kitche ns and emergency accommodation and to help rebuild houses. Food, tents, timber, cement and bricks all have to be bought.

Ralph Liebing, who is responsible for the market development of the Nepali Gardens brand in Europe and is also personally closely connected with the project, was able to acquire 300 robust family tents from the sports trade in Austria and they are now waiting to be transported to Nepal.

One tent plus air freight costs around 160 euros. Moreover, they are looking for specialists who are prepared to help with rebuilding for at least two weeks.


Small-scale farmers cool the planet
Source: Claudia Frost  

The Fair World Project has announced the release of their latest video: Small-Scale Farmers Cool the Planet. From the devastating impact climate change has already had on parts of the world, to the role industrial agriculture plays in destroying the soil and warming the planet, to the simple solution - organic, regenerative agriculture - this new video explains where we are headed if we continue on our current path, and what we can do to avert a global climate disaster.

The Fair World Project was initially launched by the Organic Consumers Association in 2010 with an emphasis on promoting fair trade in commerce, especially in organic production systems, and protecting the term "fair trade" from dilution and misuse for mere PR purposes, as conscious consumers expand the market for fairly traded products. While still guided by the principles of fair trade, they have expanded their mission to include labor justice, sweat-free apparel and family-scale farming.






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