Rozane Marcia Triches, Associate Professor, Brazil
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

In the southern region of Brazil, where I live (state of Paraná) there is a large production of commodities for export such as soybeans and maize. Essentially, they are produced in conventional food systems and with GMO seeds. Few products for internal consumption are organic. So, where I live, unfortunately, the food system is industrialized with few organic foods.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

Currently, I have been working with sustainable diets. In this theme, I have studied the environmental impact (water, carbon, and ecological footprint) of the food served in university restaurants and school meals (public food procurement). I have also done research aimed at understanding the role of social and professional actors who work in school meals in relation to their knowledge, concerns, and actions in relation to food and sustainability. In this sense, I also conducted research on the purchase of organic products in schools in the state of Paraná, the difficulties in this process, how the municipalities have made these purchases, and the role of social actors in this process. Another work that I have been doing is on the conservation of traditional and native food, enabling biodiversity in traditional populations as remnants of Africans (quilombolas in the state of Paraná) and riverside people (ribeirinhos, in the state of Pará).

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

In 2019, the governor of the state of Paraná (Brazil) signed a decree regulating Law 16.751 / 10, which institutes organic school feeding throughout the state’s educational system in Paraná. The goal is to gradually include organic food in the school feeding from more than 2,000 state schools until reaching 100% of the total in 2030. It is not recent news, but it is very important for a state like Paraná, which, as I said, essentially produces conventional foods.


Dr. agr. Wahyudi David, Assistant Professor, Universitas Barkie, Indonesia
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

In the city where I live (Depok, Indonesia) is relatively closed to organic production. The organic production in the region is still very small in comparison to the conventional production. The agricultural production is dominantly operated by traditional and semi-traditional farmers. The food supply chain already integrated the modern supply chain companies that can distribute the food nationwide. Organic food consumers dominantly live in an urban area (Jakarta and surrounding cities, including  Depok, where I live).

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

I have been working with organic food quality and food culture. In this theme, I have studied the impact of processing on nutritional and food safety. The research has also analysed which type of processing is suitable for human need both nutritional as well as sensory properties. In the recent finding, the dilemma between nutritional and sensory properties is an obstacle, wherein most of the time the nutritional is high and the sensory acceptances is low. In this sense, I have developed an application that can connect producer, processor and consumer and share information about organic production and processing. This application aims to have a better understanding of how and why particular processing influence the nutritional value of the product. Detail project here

3. What would you like to tell blog readers? 🔊

Organic food as defined by consumers is healthier compared to conventional food. However, in a food system processing plays an important role that lead to increasing and decreasing the essential nutrients. By giving the correct information and education, a consumer may have a choice and make their decision not just on sensory ability but also appropriate knowledge about the product. In a system, consumers perceptions and expectations are important to create a sustainable organic food system.


Susanne Bügel, Prof., Deputy Head of Department – education, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Member of the OFSP Steering Committee

  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

I am living in a rural part of the Southern part of Zealand, just 70 km from the Capital Copenhagen. The Organic share of the total food production in Denmark is 11.3%, however in my commune the organic share is among the lowest with less than 5%. However, I do have my own pesticide free garden with where we are almost self-sufficient with fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables. We buy most meat (organic) directly from farmers or from a box system (Kødbilen – The meat car).

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

The Organic food systems programme (OFSP) and projects related to OFSP. Questions like: What is a sustainable, organic diet? My main interest is related to the intake of minerals and vitamins and how and which diets can provide sufficient amounts of minerals and vitamins for the population.

Ongoing projects:

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

That when it comes to diet, nutrition and health, they have to be critical and not listen to self-appointed experts. That for the diet to be sustainable, we in high-income countries need to cut down on meat, eat more vegetables and throw away less food. Therefore we need to rethink our diets and make the vegetables the main dish and meats the side-dish.


Dr. Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, Research director INRAE, Nutritional Epidemiologist, Paris, France
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

I’m a French Researcher and I’m linving in an idnustrialised system. However conversion about organic is increasing rapidly.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

I’m the supervisor of sustainable food system topic in my lab (nutritional epidemiology research team) and I am leading the BioNutriNet project, which aims to collect and describe the consumption of organic food as part of the diet in a large French sample (about 35000 participants). Regarding organic food consumption we also study environmental and health impacts.

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

We recently published a paper in Nature food with the objective to optimized diet with low environmental pressure and high proportion of organic food under nutritional constraints. Please have a look at the abstract : https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-021-00227-7


Jakob Sehested, Director of ICROFS – International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems, Denmark
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

The organic sector in Denmark is in a positive and consumer-driven growth. Denmark has the world’s largest organic share of total food sales, and the trend continues to increase. Total organic retail and online sales in Denmark increased by 14% in 2020 and exceeded DKK 16 billions in 2020.

I live in a village in Central Jutland surrounded by farmland. Farm shops and food markets offers good opportunities for purchase of organic food of local, regional and international origin.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

CurrentlyI’m focusing on the national programme ‘Organic Research, Development and Demonstration’ which is coordinated by ICROFS and funded by Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. We have the past years experienced a noticeable increase in the number of applications within a broad area of research, which indicates a growing interest in organic research in Denmark.

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

We must continue to invest in research, development and innovation to further strengthen the contribution of organic agriculture to society within areas such as environment and climate, biodiversity, drinking water protection, animal welfare and health. Denmark is at the forefront internationally in terms of prioritizing research that aims to strengthen sustainable organic agriculture and sustainable food systems and we are experiencing a positive and consumer-driven growth based on sustainability, consumer confidence and innovation. The organic research has contributed to making organic products marketable, secured increase in agricultural productivity and strengthened the sustainability. Without this basis, the market for organic products in Denmark would not be as diversified, competitive and attractive as it is today.  


Rodolphe Vidal, ITAB – Institute of Organic Food and Agriculture, France
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

I am working at national level so organic share is not so high (just above 6%) but with many disparity amid regions. We still have a great job to do to reach 25% organic land and share.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

We are working on core organic project called ProOrg to deliver best practices and assesment framework to organic operators. We are also coordinating a national network dedicated to organic food processing and are trying to set up regional food system programm to relocate and link food producer; processors and consumer at local scale.

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

Organic farming has a big opportunity to achieve climate change mitigation but we have to do it all together and keep the sector with strong values and a step forward.


Sebastian Kretschmer, Department of Organic Food Quality & Food Culture
Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, University of Kassel, Germany
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

I try to buy 100% organic products, but few of them come from a 100 mile radius. As everyobody else I am partaking in the global food system, of which organic is a nested element.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

SDG Drivers in Food Systems (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2021.536620/abstract)

The Organic Mindset (https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/9/4724)

Food Hubs (https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/9/4724)

City Region Food Systems (https://orgprints.org/id/eprint/36201/)

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

The Organic Mindset, much like the Sustainability Mindset, developed by Kassel & Rimanoczy (2018), encompasses “a way of thinking and being that results from a broad understanding of the ecosystem’s manifestations, from social sensitivity, as well as an introspective focus on one’s personal values and higher self, and finds its expression in actions for the greater good of the whole” (Kassel & Rimanoczy, 2018, p. 7), or as the Japanese organic farmer and author Fukuoka (2009, p. 65) puts it “the ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”


Susanne Braun, Managing Director of the Research Center for Bioeconomy at University of Hohenheim, Germany
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

I live in the German city of Stuttgart. While the city is relatively large with over 600,000 inhabitants and characterized by highly innovative companies such as Daimler, Porsche or Bosch, Stuttgart is also home to 200 farmers who till their soils within the city boundaries. With over 2,500 hectares of fields, vineyards and meadows, Stuttgart puts a lot of effort into helping farmers stay local and foster direct supply chains to meet the needs of the city´s population. While many farms are still run conventionally, the awareness for shifting towards organic agriculture steadily increases on local, as well as on national level.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

My team at the Research Center for Bioeconomy and I do our best every day to provide answers and solutions to the big questions facing today’s food system. We do this mainly by engaging ourselves in EU projects dealing with sustainable food production and short food supply chains. Not only are we tackling issues such as fertilizer or pesticide usage but also investigating the acceptance and production of plant-based food alternatives for meat. Yet, those undertakings can only be mastered and solved collectively. Therefore, I am intensively engaged in several networks such as FOODforce, SCAR-AKIS, SUSFOOD2 ERA-net, or as national representative at ISEKI.

A selection of ongoing projects can be found below:

CO-FRESH https://co-fresh.eu/
SMARTCHAIN https://www.smartchain-h2020.eu/
FIELDS https://www.erasmus-fields.eu/home/
BIOCARB-4-FOOD https://www.biocarb4food.eu/

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

I am firmly convinced that a change to organic agriculture can only succeed in the long term if as many different stakeholders as possible participate and collaborate. To this end, the European Commission is increasingly fostering citizen participation, in which many stakeholders can jointly develop concepts and solutions. Perhaps many people do not even know how and where they can get relevant information, or how they can engage themselves in such topics. For more information, I highly recommend a look at our homepage:

https://rc-bioeconomy.uni-hohenheim.de/


C.K. Ganguly (Bablu), Chairperson at the timbaktu collective, Andhra Pradesh, India
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

I live in a small intentional community called Timbaktu and I work for my organisation, the Timbaktu Collective, in the surrounding villages with a radius around 70 kms. We work with about 24,000 families of which around 2,000 are members of a farmers’ cooperative that we initiated. They are small holder farmers, who own about 12,000 acres of land, all of which is organic. We also grow food ourselves in Timbaktu and another farms nearby. We have also promoted a cooperative of landless agricultural labourers who rear sheep and goats using ethnovetinary practices. So, almost all our food is organic.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

Well, other than the Timbaktu Collective, I have recently begun managing the 100 acre Biodynamic farm near Timbaktu called Kailasam. Here we have planted 18 acres of horticulture, 2 acres of vegetables, 5 acres of rainfed grains, 15 acres of forest tree species. We have also left around 30 acres untouched by human hand (in the last 30 years) as a Bioreserve. Here we also have started a small School for Regenerative Agriculture. It’s a residential school with 17 students, who are children of the farmers we have been working with over the years. Organic, Biodynamic and Permaculture is part of the two years experiential learning course.

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

Please spread the message that “Organic farming cannot feed the world” is all hogwash. We have as good if not better yields on our farms than conventional farms. Our food is tastier and lasts much longer. We look after our environment and use principles of regeneration. The other message is “please support small holder farmers”, buy their products and share the risks that all small holder farmers take.

Contact: www.timbaktu.org, bablu@timbaktu.org / timbaktu.collective@gmail.com

 

Flavio Paoletti, retired – former senior scientist at the Research centre for food and nutrition of the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics – CREA in Rome, Italy

Member of the OFSP Steering Committee

  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

I live in the Italian city of Rome. Despite being a big city, agriculture plays an important role in Rome. The agricultural area in the municipality of Rome is about 58,000 hectares corresponding to the 45% of the total surface of the municipality (about 130.000 hectars). Unfortunately, organic share is only 5%. However, Rome is in the Lazio region, where organic agriculture represents more than 23% of the agricultural surface. Morevoer, Italy is one of the countries in the world with the largest area of organic agricultural land.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

Currently I am working on the CORE Organic Cofund project ProOrg (www.proorgproject.com) that aims to develop a guideline that can help organic food processors in the evaluation and selection of technologies and innovations in line with the organic agriculture principles. I am also involved in the establishment and development of a so-called “biodistrict” or “organic district” located few kilometers north of Rome. All these activities are related to the OFSP.

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

Organic can give an important contribution to the food system sustainability, but organic alone is not enough. We need to radically change our behaviours. We need to adopt a healthier lifestyle and healthy and sustainable diets. We need to reduce the food waste.


Dr. Gouri, CEO Association of Indian Organic Industry (AIOI), Delhi, India
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

You are aware India is a country that is bestowed with indigenous skills and potentiality for growth in organic agriculture. Although India was far behind in the adoption of organic farming due to several reasons, presently it has achieved rapid growth in organic agriculture and now becomes one of the largest organic producers in the world. Therefore, organic farming will have a great impact on the health of our country, India by ensuring sustainable development. In the background of current situation of organic food systems in India, the awareness was always there about organic food but now people are  becoming increasingly aware about the significant impact of food on health, they are seeking information about where the organic  food they consume comes from and how it is grown. This has given rise to a growing demand for organic food products, the size of which has nearly quadrupled in India in the last three years. Secondly now, because of the pandemic Organic food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, are now a regular feature under the box scheme supplies, weekly markets, supermarkets and   also sold extensively online. New Delhi, where I live, is not far behind with this organic initiative and has its own farmers’ markets all through the year. The government has taken initiative to promote the organic farming as traditional way of farming in the city as part of the Central  government sponsored scheme. The villages adjoining the cities have been grouped into clusters with each cluster containing 20 hectare (Ha) or 50 acres and having 20-50 farmers in a cluster. The development department has formed 500 clusters and 1,000 more are to be created. The groundwork on the project was kicked off six months ago. Several awareness programmes such as dissemination of latest technologies and experts’ workshop have been organised.  “NGOs, or regional councils roped in to impart training and monitor the development have already organised exposure trips where growers are given a demonstration.,”. As part of the scheme, cultivators are also being provided with agricultural equipment and subsidy to purchase seeds. “They are given the training to prepare bio-fertilisers and herbal spray to protect their crop. All possible help to prepare good quality, natural manure from cow dung is being provided. “Delhi farmers, who are part of 500 clusters, are planning in making certified organic products by 2022.  This will help to bring down retail prices of organic products including vegetables in Delhi, which presently come from the neighbouring states such as Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. To extend the maximum benefit to the farmerstie-ups with big retail chains, are being initiated to ensure the best price to the farmers. Presently there are around 60 stores and organic markets in and around Delhi.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

I am presently working on entrepreneurs and skill developments in organic farming for empowerment of young graduates and post graduates in organic industry. The organic Industry needs skilled manpower in various area specific to organic operations to cater to the needs of the organic Industry. The Association of Indian Organic Industry (AIOI) where I am working as a executive Director and CEO have taken an initiative in alliance with Telangana State Agricultural University (The Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU)  to  start an online  short term  digital certificate course  from October 2021. This course will be career and market oriented   for   graduates, post graduates in agriculture, food technology, and environment sciences and applied sciences.

This course has been designed by experts for an excellence means to enhance the skills in Organic products for   progressing organic job market.  The information, guidance, practical training and course completion certificate will provide the participants with several opportunities in placements in the organic industry like auditors for assessment of organic programmes, opportunities for organic certifications, as quality assurance executives /quality managers/food mangers, position in new product development, organic agriculture consultants and many more. For more details visit AIOI website.  http://www.aioi.org.in.

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

Food quality and safety are two vital factors that have attained constant attention in common people. Eating healthy has become a growing concern amongst urban Indians. On the other hand, farmers are burning in the agony of agrarian crisis even as the privileged we continue to have access to their goods. In such a scenario, organising organic farmers’ markets in cities have become a win-win situation for both sides. By eliminating middlemen, and encouraging organic farming, these markets ensure a good quality of life for not just us but also to farmers by delivering them a fair share price for their produce.

Delhi isn’t far behind with this organic initiative and has its own farmers’ markets throughout the year. These markets also go a step beyond than just selling fresh produce of fruits and vegetables. They also inspire sustainable lifestyle through many of their activities hosted by farmers, environmentalists and fitness experts from different parts of the country. These markets have become a popular spot for Delhi’s weekend calendar as consumers become more and more conscious of the source and quality of their products. Here is a list of 5 of our favourite and trustworthy markets in Delhi!


Dr. Peter O. Mokaya, Organic Consumers Alliance OCA, Nairobi, Kenya
  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

I am from Kenya but spend approximately 50% of my time in and around Nairobi and the other 50% of my time in Kampala Uganda and environs. The predominant food system in both East African countries is conventional farming with organic (and traditional farming) contributing less than 10% to the food systems value chain and food supply network.  Uganda is doing better than Kenya, in all aspects of the Organic Food Systems,  including in pro-agroecology and policy changes.  We have observed, with the advent of COVID-19,  that more people are turning to safer foods and related nutritional sources. This has contributed to an increased number of people consuming organic foods hence triggering a demand for organic produce, especially vegetable and herbals. 

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

As OCA we have been carrying out various projects in tandem with our Vision and Mission: https://organicconsumersalliance.org/. We are involved in various projects that cut across the various aspects of the organic value chain ranging from extracting, compiling, and sharing requisite knowledge on farm inputs (biofertilizers, biopesticides and organic seeds) to capacity building for different stakeholders. The stakeholders include small scale farmers, community members, bulkers and aggregators, to processors and organic outlet providers. This is in addition to engaging in various activities related to creating evidence-based awareness on the benefits of organic agroecological food systems compared to the conventional food systems. Some of our projects have included Policy advocacy: 

Here is an example of an interview on the need for safer foods and the role of various stakeholders, including regulators and policy makers.

1. We have been training organic value chain stakeholders (farmers, consumers, value add practitioners) on Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NMA)

2. At regional and continental level we have been promoting agroecological food systems at various Alliances for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) which is an Alliance of Alliances, including Organic Consumers Alliance. Apart from Policy Advocacy for mainstreaming agroecological organic food systems, I have participated in authoring a new book on use of SAFE foods that are local and diverse, mainly vegetables and herbs, to manage COVID-19, via their role in boosting and supporting the immune system to resist the Corona infection. Click here.

3. We do a monthly blog, since 2015, to promote the benefits of organic foods and related Food Systems  Click here

4. At global level, OCA has been partnering with likeminded agroecology scientists to write a book on Pesticides use/misue in Africa and the need shift food systems to agroecological organic foods systems. Click here.

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

I would like tell bloggers that I am also a blogger and we have been doing a monthly article in promotion of agroecological organic food systems and the sustainable ecosystem way forward.

Here is a link to our blog site:https://organicconsumersalliance.org/our-blog/164-the-role-of-safe-diverse-and-local-african-foods-is-this-the-forgotten-1st-pillar-of-covid-19-management.html

Here is link to our YouTube page: https://www.facebook.com/organicconsumersalliance/videos/1479634498837455/

Our blog page:https://organicconsumersalliance.org/our-blog/164-the-role-of-safe-diverse-and-local-african-foods-is-this-the-forgotten-1st-pillar-of-covid-19-management.html


 

Gillian Westbrook, CEO Irish Organic Association, Athlone, Ireland

  1. What Organic Food System do you live in? 🥦

Our experience at the Irish Organic Association is that there is increasing interest in organics amongst farmers and citizens in Ireland, from how our food is produced to what we consume. However, despite growing consumer demand for Irish organic produce both at home and abroad, organic farming at a national level is developing from a low base, currently 1.6% of the total farmland area.

Nevertheless, year-on-year demand for organic food amongst Irish and European consumers and trade customers is presenting new opportunities for Irish farmers to look at alternative business models and make the move to organics.

2. What have you been working on recently? 📚

As a non-profit organisation, owned by our members, we are always looking at ways to support the development of the organic sector in Ireland. Recently this has included:

  • A project called Maximizing Organic Production Systems (MOPS), supported by the EU’s European Innovation Partnership (EIP), where we worked with organic growers to develop collaborative approaches to tackle import substitution and increase the supply for Irish grown organic produce;
  • Ongoing engagement in the Stakeholder Consultative Committee for Ireland’s forthcoming Strategic Plan of the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy to ensure a more supportive environment for the Irish organic sector as a means of stimulating the sustainability of Ireland’s food system; and
  • Founder member of a new Women in Agriculture Stakeholder Group to increase women’s perspectives in the development of food and farming policy in Ireland. Although 25% of our association’s members are women, further inclusion and diversity is essential to transition towards a more sustainable food system

3. What would you like to tell blog-readers? 🔊

We believe that organics is a starting point for developing more sustainable food systems with organic standards and principles giving farmers and food business the reference point for furthering their sustainability credentials. Increasingly people worldwide are also calling for transformative change. In Ireland, for example, a 2018 citizens’ assembly overwhelmingly called on the Irish State to encourage the development of organic farming as part of the solution to climate action, and confirmed by the IPCC’s 2019 Special Report on Climate Change and Land.

While alternative approaches are emerging (many driven by the success of organics) the organic movement at home and abroad must be confident and proactive in articulating the role of the organic food system in its broadest sense as a means of driving sustainable outcomes and affecting real change locally and globally.