The EU's Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski has announced the launch of the first-ever EU organic awards, with applications officially open.
Organic operators can apply for eight awards within seven categories, including best organic farmer (female), best organic farmer (male), best organic region, best organic city, best organic bio-district, best organic SME, best organic food retailer and best organic restaurant.
The award ceremony will be held on EU Organic Day on 23 September, organised by the European Commission, IFOAM Organics Europe, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions and Copa-Cogeca.
Jan Plagge, IFOAM Organics Europe’s President, commented: “These EU Organic Awards are a great way to showcase the innovative potential in the EU organic sector and how the sector contributes to the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies’ goals. The current crisis shows that the EU should seek to speed up its work towards an agroecological and social model which is more resilient, fairer, healthier, more knowledge-intensive and based on shorter supply chains.
'The war in Ukraine and its devastating consequences show that the agro-industrial model, which is highly dependent on global imports and exports, fossil-fuels, and non-circular inputs, is broken. The EU Farm to Fork Strategy sets the right mid- and long-term objectives to ensure food security in an uncertain and volatile world.”
Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM Organics Europe’s Director, said that the awards would 'inspire those working to make our food and farming system more sustainable'.
'I believe organic’s approach to food and farming is a good way to rethink our food production system, to make it more independent from external inputs, less input-intensive and more resilient. These awards can inspire many practitioners to make the switch to organic and be part of the solution to many crises we are facing, including food security, and the biodiversity and climate crises.”
Applications are open until 8 June. A jury consisting of one representative from each of the different organisers and one representative each from the European Parliament and European Council is responsible for shortlisting the best candidates.