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On 31 August and 1 September 2022, IFOAM Organics EuropeFiBL and Bio Suisse hosted the 1st edition of the Organics Europe Youth Event (OEYE). The event aimed to create a platform for young agents interested and active in the organic sector to network, discuss and develop knowledge and awareness on organic amongst youth.

The participants listen eagerly as the moderator introduces the panellists of the first session © IFOAM Organics Europe

Organic and youth met at the OEYE

Young farmers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, students, and interested actors from the value chain gathered at the Research Institute of FiBL‘s headquarters in Frick, Switzerland, on the occasion of the first OEYE. The two days in which the event took place was composed of inspiring speakers and empowering interactions. These interactions provided a platform to discuss and learn about the potential and challenges of organic production and its role as a sustainable food system.

The first day welcomed the participants and offered the first moderated panel discussion that revolved around the role of market actors, politics and youth. The expert panellists from the European organic sector (Landwirtschaft mit Zukunft, Bioland, FNAB, Coop, Kündig Group) discussed transformation steps for sustainable food systems and the role of organic and youth within this development. The session was followed by another one, ‘Creating ideas for the future food system’, that focused on developing solutions and discussing our contributions to tackling the problems associated with food systems.

Rob Hopkins, the Co-founder of Transition Network delivered a powerful keynote on taking action © IFOAM – Organics International

After the exciting discussions, it was time for the inspirational sessions with young enterpreneurs, farmers and activists from all over Europe who shared their innovative organic initiatives. Prior to the regional and seasonal dinner, participants had the opportunity to informally network with each other and get to know each other better.

Youth is not the future of tomorrow, it is already the future of today!

Day two

There were many workshops happening parallel to each other on several topics, such as organic organisations, animal production and ethics; organic regulation; Plant-based food; short supply chains and direct sales; organic breeding and agrobiodiversity; soil fertility; Design Thinking; and sustainable working conditions.

The relationship between agroecology and philosophy was also addressed by two keynote addresses. During his keynote speech, Dr. Joe Slater (University of Glasgow) challenged the audience on the topic of moral obligation in relation to agriculture and sustainability; while Prof. Dr. Johanna Jacobi shared how agroecology could be one of the solutions in bringing about a transformative concept in implementing sustainable food systems.

The panelists discussing the challenges they faced in starting their individual initiatives and how they addressed © IFOAM – Organics International

At the closing ceremony, FiBL, IFOAM Organics Europe and Bio Suisse directors did a wrap-up and closing remarks. But the Organics Europe Youth Event was not over for all those who decided to join one of the additional overnight excursions. Held on September 1 and 2, they focused on the role of organic agriculture in combating climate change, chances and challenges of agroforestry systems and food waste and creating circular food systems.

The first edition of the Organics Europe Youth Event concluded with success, organizers noted. OEYE next edition will be back in 2 years.

An impression of some of the participants at the excursions © IFOAM – Organics International

This article was originally published in Bio Actual.

Bio Eco Actual is one of our media partners and is a widely regarded publisher that raises awareness about organic food, ethical consumption and sustainability. With a combined reach of 10 million impacts to readers per year, they can create a tailored campaign to share your product or brand with their highly engaged audience, through their publications in print and digital format Bio Eco Actual, Bueno y Vegano, El Botiquín Natural and Master Organic.