The Soil Association launched a new vision to make organic food affordable and accessible for all society at their Organic Trade conference in London on 2 November, highlighting the three pillars of action and encourage all players across food and farming to get behind the campaign.
The conference, attended by a mix of retailers, businesses and NGOs, opened with their bold new ambition of Organic For All, which closely aligns to Sustain’s Bridging the Gap programme. Their vision takes inspiration from across Europe, where access to organic is much wider and more inclusive, with a speaker from Denmark sharing their approach to taking organic to the masses.
The Organic for All approach is based on a theory of change that covers three pillars of engagement:
- Motivation: of policymakers, retailers, the public and economic system to engage with organic through well evidenced and understood messaging.
- Capability: policy support, farmer training support and knowledge sharing, effective standards and regulation, and innovation support.
- Opportunity: widening availability in retailers, public settings, local communities and sufficient supply chain infrastructure.
Sarah Williams from Sustain commented “we are delighted to see this alignment of our vision for Bridging the Gap with this great new ambition for Organic for All, which takes a sector by sector approach to achieving the ambition and gets behind the call that organic should not be for a privileged few”.
Other speakers at the event included:
- Keynote speaker, Prof Tamsin Edwards, Professor in Climate Change at King’s College London, who set out the need for actions to increase demand and shift diets to more balanced and sustainable low waste options, alongside improved and sustainable crop and livestock management and carbon sequestration in agriculture.
- Daniel Zeichner MP, Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, reflecting on areas where policy could make an impact, including low uptake of ELMs, and emphasising how a possible future Labour government would improve ELMs, use the power of public procurement to boost production, and reinstate a horticulture strategy and make, buy and sell more in the UK.
- Mads Sejersen Vinther from Organic Denmark who gave examples of how historical policy support and collaboration with discount supermarkets has championed organics, showing the importance of interventions at all levels of the system, to meet the goals of healthy citizens and planet as we face down the challenges of the climate emergency.
Speakers also acknowledged the higher ambitions of the EU, where there is commitment for 25% organic land use, as well as Scotland where there is a bigger drive for organic. For the UK this highlights the need for the food and farming movement to advocate and show how critical this is for food security and for climate and nature friendly farming, with it being one of the most cost-effective ways to reach net zero.
Published 7 Nov 2023
Bridging the Gap: Bridging the Gap to climate and nature friendly food for all.
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