BLOG: Organic is a lighthouse for truly sustainable agriculture

21st October 2022

How often recently have I heard organic and non-organic growers and businesses indicate that organic doesn’t somehow go ‘far enough’. That organic growers need other ‘regenerative’ elements to fill in the ‘gaps’.

The reality is however that the organic standards are only a threshold (an absolute minimum if you like) to qualify as organic and ensure integrity.

The organic principles set out by the pioneers of the organic movement nearly a hundred years ago mean that organic farmers frequently go far beyond these standards in their mission to secure the best outcomes they can.

But the organic movement aspires to go much further.

Organic agriculture is a lighthouse for truly sustainable agriculture and agricultural production systems. The IFOAM International Organic 3.0 strategy (developed in the middle of the last decade) expands the participation options and positions organic as a modern, innovative farming system that holistically integrates ecology, economy, society, culture and accountability.

Regeneration of resources, responsibility in production, sufficiency in consumption, and the ethical and spiritual development of human values, practices and habits are concepts that guide the building of a new organic culture that can drive societal development

The strategy for Organic 3.0 includes six main features, consistently promoting the diversity that lies at the heart of organic and recognising there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach:

  1. A culture of innovation
  2. Continuous improvement toward best practice
  3. Diverse ways to ensure transparency and integrity
  4. Inclusiveness of wider sustainability interests
  5. Empowerment from the farm to the final consumer
  6. True value and cost accounting

At its heart, Organic 3.0 is not prescriptive but descriptive: instead of enforcing a set of minimum rules to achieve a final static result, this model is outcome-based and continuously adaptable to local contexts.

This strategy demands integration of organic into the development of the planet and societies rather than concentration on the perfection of the niche.

The impact of the organic movement must also be measured in the increasing adoption of organic principles in mainstream agriculture to improve global sustainability. This is achieved through growing the organic sector (certified and non-certified) while continuing to make it increasingly sustainable.

Roger Kerr, Chief executive, OF&G

This post also appears on Roger's LinkedIn pages

Further reading: Organic: the benchmark for truly regenerative farming