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LIFE Fosters Sustainable Excellence: EU Organic Day and Awards

First launched in 2021 by the then Slovenian Presidency, European Organic Day marks the autumn equinox on 23 September and is coordinated by LIFE-funded IFOAM Organics Europe. 

As European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski remarked, the twin celebrations are ‘a great opportunity to raise awareness of organic production and promote the key role it plays in the transition to sustainable food systems.’ 

IFOAM Organics Europe receives a LIFE operating grantEN••• specially designed for non-profit organisations which ‘are involved in the development, implementation and enforcement of Union legislation and policy and which are primarily active in the field of environment or climate action, including clean energy transition.’  

In 2023, LIFE granted more than EUR 15 million to 34 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the funding programme. IFOAM Organics Europe is one of them and is helping the EU progress towards its goal of 25 per cent organic farmland by 2030. The organisation is also campaigning on other issues, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), biodiversity, soil and water health, climate change, and animal welfare. 

IFOAM Organics Europe also coordinates more than 30 activities being held across Europe throughout September, ranging from Latvia’s 10-Day Bio Challenge to Farm Open Days in Austria.  

The prestigious European Organic AwardsEN•••, co-organised by IFOAM Organics Europe, recognise organic excellence in seven categories. They include the best organic farmer (female and male), city, region, bio-district, food processing SME, food retailer and restaurant or food service. 24 finalists from eleven Member States have already been announced.

‘This year marks another inspirational selection of candidates who showcase the European organic movement’s contributions to the European Green DealEN•••,’ says Jan Plagge, IFOAM Organics Europe’s President. 

Both the awards and the European Organic Day were launched as part of the EU’s Action Plan for the development of Organic ProductionEN•••. In turn, the Action Plan aligns with the European Green DealEN••• and the Farm to ForkEN••• and Biodiversity StrategiesEN•••, aiming to boost consumer demand for organic produce, stimulate the conversion of farmland to organic production and strengthen environmental sustainability.  

As Plagge points out, ‘the increasing number of heatwaves, droughts and heavy rainfalls show that the EU should prioritise farming methods that preserve the climate, biodiversity, soil and water.’

Source : CINEA

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