Sustainable Food Trade Action Council Proposes Organic Strategies to United Nations Food Systems Summit
Washington, DC, September 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The Organic Trade Association’s Sustainable Food Trade Action Council (SFTA) has identified four key strategies to enlist organic in the fight to end the hunger and protect the planet, in a landmark United Nations-sponsored global brainstorming session on how to achieve a globally sustainable food system.
“Organic offers a host of benefits for the environment and for human well-being and longevity in general,” the organic sustainability council said in its official report to the United Nations. “Organic farming practices create and promote healthy soil, mitigate climate change, conserve water use, reduce pesticide consumption / exposure, increase pollinator populations, enable long-term self-sustaining agricultural viability to meet the growing needs of our planet and are ultimately more resistant to extreme weather conditions.
The Council of Professional Associations has identified four critical areas on which to focus to reap the benefits of organic, extend the organic model, and enable organic to help create a sustainable global food system:
Federal policies: The council highlighted several US federal policies that should be improved to promote the development of fair trade organic food systems. These included reform of subsidies to incentivize sustainable agriculture; crop insurance reform to provide an adequate safety net for organic farmers; increased support and funding to help farmers throughout the transition process; capital increase and technical assistance for organic; and more research dedicated to organic farming.
Inclusion and Accountability: The sustainability council noted that although organic farming has been proven to boost rural and local economies by providing a profitable farming option and creating more jobs in the farming community, the opportunity is organic farming is still out of reach for many, and especially for marginalized farmers. He recommended including more farm workers, indigenous cultures and non-white people in the conversations to identify solutions; increasing financial and technical assistance to marginalized communities; and develop local food centers to give schools and communities access to local and organic food and create markets for local farmers.
Consumer education: All over the world, consumers have significant power to influence the direction of agricultural and food policy. The council, however, observed that consumers need to be better informed about the benefits of organic so that they can more effectively advocate for a clean, environmentally friendly and sustainable food system through their purchasing decisions. The council recommended that consumer education focus on the benefits of organic for the environment and human health and that the ability of organic to help mitigate climate change be emphasized. He recommended that the history of regulation and organic monitoring be elevated to educate consumers about the trust and integrity behind the organic seal.
Global Responsibility and Connectivity: The Organic Sustainability Council stressed the importance of engaging with international communities and business partners, and encouraging global partners to adhere to organic practices. Decisions about the transport, packaging and use of water must be directed towards the goals of sustainable development; a national and international database on organic integrity to encourage transparency and fair trade should be established; and a network should be designed to share global information to enable farmers around the world to achieve sufficient and consistent yields without using GMO seeds.
Organic sector aligned with UN goals
The first-ever United Nations Food Systems Summit, to be held on September 23, reflects a year of active participation by hundreds of farmers, producer groups, academics, scientists, governments, associations in nonprofits and indigenous communities around the world who shared their ideas for transforming food systems. The summit was created by United Nations General Antonio Guterres to draw attention to the critical issue of food insecurity and to make progress – through a food systems approach – on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. United. Called the SDGs, the goals aim to make major strides in reducing poverty, hunger, inequality and other challenges by 2030.
Following the process established by the United Nations for summit participation, the Sustainability Council and the Organic Trade Association held a dialogue in May on “Organic as a solution to meet growing consumer and market demands. global, to address environmental pressures, and to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The event brought together 57 diverse stakeholders to examine how organic can help fight hunger, poverty, climate change and inequality. Six small breakout discussions were held to ensure a deep dive into separate issues, and formal feedback was then provided to the UN.
Paul Schiefer, Senior Director of Sustainability at Amy’s Kitchen and Chairman of the Organic Trade Association’s Sustainable Food Trade Action Council, led the global dialogue.
“The board and the Organic Trade Association are fully aligned with the UN sustainability goals, so it was an incredible opportunity to make organic part of this critical conversation,” said Schiefer. “The problems that the United Nations is tackling are urgent. Looking only at food insecurity, 26 percent of the world’s population is food insecure and 21 percent of children under 5 are stunted due to malnutrition. Organic farming practices can help turn the tide.
Schiefer encouraged continued involvement: “We have to actively create change. I urge other Dialogue organizers to engage the next level of stakeholders in your network in the conversation, so that we can align more groups around common goals for widespread success.
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The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the member-based trade association for agriculture and organic products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for organic commerce in the United States, representing more than 9,500 organic companies in 50 states. Its members include producers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. The OTA board of directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect organic with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to market.
CONTACT: Maggie McNeil Organic Trade Association (202) 403-8514 [email protected]