Every year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day! This year’s theme is “Invest in the Planet”. What better way to do so than investing in organics!
On Earth Day, we are reminded of our interconnectedness with the planet and our responsibility to protect it. Unsustainable agriculture harms the Earth by degrading soils, driving biodiversity loss and accelerating the climate crisis. We need to start producing food in a way that does not cost us the Earth and that places greater emphasis on equity, social justice and inclusion. Investing in organic agriculture can do this.
Invest in our planet, invest in organic farmers!
According to Pippa Hackett, organic farmer and Ireland’s Minister for Land Use and Biodiversity, “Supporting sustainable agriculture and food production like organics is one of the most important interventions we can make for our world’s future.”
Farmers around the world are showing interest in farming organically but often lack the knowledge, training and resources to take the first steps. The good news is that there are many ways to support farmers, from subsidies that favour organic farming practices to training in organic farming and alternative certification schemes such as Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS).
PGS open up opportunities for small-scale farmers, who cannot always afford the services of third-party certifiers, to label and sell their produce as guaranteed organic, at local markets. Thailand, for example, has seen a steady expansion of organic agriculture which can be attributed to the rise of Thai PGS initiatives. The focus has been placed on replacing harmful monocultures with a more diversified crop production system, combined with sustainable farming practices, to help make farming areas and communities more resilient.
Invest in our planet, invest in organic training
In 2018, Vic Jason Kristoffer Tagupa left his job at a bank to work on his family’s organic farm in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, the Philippines. While helping on the farm, he also began to learn more about organic farming practices and their benefits. Thanks to support from the Philippine government, the family farm provides training to farmers on how to grow rice, raise chickens and more. Inspired by the success of the family farm, Jason decided to focus his efforts on training young farmers by setting up SAFE Young Organic Farmers to show the younger generation how they can make a living from farming in harmony with nature. Now a member of IFOAM – Organics International, SAFE Young Organic Farmers has received funding from a variety of sources, enabling them to train the next generation of organic farmers.
Invest in our planet, invest in organic policies
One of the most effective ways to invest in the planet is to spend public money in ways that benefit both people and the planet. There are a number of avenues that policy can take to support this, such as public procurement policies that put organic food on the menus of schools, hospitals and other public kitchens. A great example of this is in Copenhagen, where kindergartens use up to 90% organic ingredients in their kitchens. Organic Denmark honoured for its work in making this happen with the One World Award.
These are just a few examples of how investing in organics is a smart investment in the earth. You can find out more and support the planet by becoming a member of IFOAM – Organics International!