On 23 September, representatives of a pan-European collaboration handed out the first EU Organic Awards. Eight winners within seven categories received their award in a ceremony hosted by the European Commission and held on Brussels. The event marked the second celebration of the EU Organic Day launched last year by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission.
First EU organic awards
The awards ceremony was organised on the EU Organic day on 23 September 2022. The winners were invited to an event in Brussels to collect their awards. This event involved representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe. Providing examples of best practices, the winners were able to explain their project to a broader public.
“They come from all over the EU, showing that organics is alive everywhere, and that organic excellence can be found everywhere”
“I have been impressed by each and every one of the stories behind the winners. These are incredibly committed people, organisations and institutions, who have promoted organic production long before it became popular, often in very difficult circumstances. They come from all over the EU, showing that organics is alive everywhere, and that organic excellence can be found everywhere. In this sense, they give me much hope for the further development of organic production and the benefits it can bring for our farmers, rural communities, and society as a whole,” said EU Commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, presenting the prizes at the award ceremony.
Meet the winners
24 shortlisted finalists were announced in July 2022 for 8 awards in 7 categories. They were chosen from a pool of over 200 submissions from 26 Member States. Coming from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden, the winners represent the growth and innovation of the European organic sector and value chain, and its contribution to reducing agriculture’s impact on the climate and the environment.
- Best female farmer to Ms Nazaret Mateos Álvarez in Spain. Ms Mateos Álvarez runs an organic mushroom production site in the north of Spain. She developed a unique cultivation method maximising product quality while minimising input and cutting drastically the consumption of water.
- Best male organic farmer to Mr David Pejić in Croatia. Mr Pejić runs the oldest organic farm close to Zagreb, in Croatia, growing over 60 different crops. The farm is engaged in education, training and advisory activities with an on-site bakery and a restaurant as well.
- Best organic region to Occitanie in France. Organics is a priority for the development of Occitanie, in the south of France. Currently, 19% of all agricultural land is under organic farming, involving 608 285 hectares and 13 265 farms. The target is to achieve 30% of all agricultural land under organic farming by 2030. A comprehensive approach is taken, involving an inclusive regional governance and the complete value chain from production to consumption.
- Best organic city to Seeham in Austria. This city, located in the northwest of Austria, is a member of is part of the “Organic Cities Network Europe”. Public canteens in the city, kindergartens and schools cook and serve 100% organic food. There is also an intensive collaboration with touristic infrastructures, bringing organics to gastronomy and hotels.
- Best organic bio-district to Associazione Bio-Distretto Cilento in Italy. The Cilento bio-district invests in the sustainable and local production of food, linking as well tourism initiatives like bio-beaches and bio-trails to it. This benefits job creation, social cohesion and the revitalisation of the area.
- Best organic SME to The Goodvenience.bio in Germany. With its ten employees, this enterprise produces handcrafted and organic broths, soups, sauces, spices and oils. It puts a strong emphasis on sustainable, circular and innovative production and promoting healthy diets via a recipe blog and cooking videos.
- Best organic retailer to La ferme à l’arbre de Liège in Belgium. This small-scale supermarket located on a farm, sells organic products such as meat and flour from across the region since 1978. With a strong focus on sustainable and circular production, the company also uses green energy, avoids packaging and limits transport emissions by focussing on local procurement.
- Best organic restaurant to Lilla Bjers in Sweden. Located in Gotland island in the Baltic sea, Lilla Bjers is an organic farm and restaurant operating under the ‘seed-to-plate’ concept. 300 different crops are grown on a farm which preserves biodiversity and is free from fossil-fuel. The restaurant has become a hub for training young organic farmers and chefs.
The winners represent the growth and innovation of the European organic sector and value chain
The Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production adopted in March 2021 takes the approach that, in order to stimulate organic production, consumer demand for organic products should grow. This requires, amongst other things, increased public awareness of the characteristics and benefits of organic production. For this purpose, the Action Plan includes the launch of annual awards recognising excellence in the organic value chain.
Further information available at www.agriculture.ec.europa.eu
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