Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Report on the IFOAM World Conference

On October 3-5 the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), in conjunction with the Organic World Conference, met in Seoul, South Korea to set the top priorities for IFOAM and elect the World Board.  During the Conference, IFOAM restructured their organic guarantee system to include five parts:
  1. Family of standards – draws the line between what is organic and what is not, includes all standards and regulations that have passed an equivalence assessment.  At the GA, it was announced that the NOFA Organic Landcare standards had been accepted into the Family. 
  2. Best Practice Standards – to stimulate innovation and continuing improvement
  3. Participatory Guarantee Systems – based on community organizing, a way for small farms that cannot afford certification, to group together to provide a credible organic guarantee for use in local markets.
  4. IFOAM’s Global Organic Mark –a universal logo now available for a fee.
  5. International Organic Accredition Service (IOAS) - provides Accreditation to organic certification agencies.
IFOAM also elected a new world board and concluded that it is time to move away from discussions of standards and regulations since their role has been established, so IFOAM can shift to carbon, biodiversity, energy use, and developing local markets. 

Prior to the conference, the Agricultural Justice Project gathered to meet about organic and fair trade, and the relationship between organic certification, participatory guarantee systems (PGA – an alternative to organic certification that involves active the active participation of stakeholders in order to assure quality assurance), and CSA programs.  The participants of the meeting called upon IFOAM to create a task force on fair trade, a resolution that was later confirmed during the conference.  This task force will make recommendations on incorporating social justice principles in organic standards. 

To read the full report, please visit here

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