IFOAM, European partners support development of alternative food networks

Around the globe, organic farmers, consumers and facilitating organizations have been developing alternative and complementary tools to third-party certification such as Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiatives.

PGS and CSA are similar in their overall objectives of improving livelihoods of organic producers and increased access to safe and nutritious food for consumers.
Both PGS and CSA enhance transparent and shared decision-making processes prioritizing a solidarity approach where the responsibilities for implementing sustainable agriculture practices are shared by the community.

In the spirit of Organic 3.0, IFOAM – Organics International aspires to ensure transparency and integrity beyond third party certification, recognizing innovative solutions to guarantee fair and organic standards implemented by the very farmers and consumers they serve, encouraging direct participation and the sense of collective ownership.

For this reason IFOAM-Organics International has recently started a project, with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, to develop and test a new pedagogical program for adult learners focused on building truly sustainable short value chains through PGS and CSA approaches in a European context. The program - EATingCRAFT- Education Towards the Creation of Alternative Food Systems - is done in cooperation with URGENCI, Nature et Progrès (FR), Miramap (FR), Pro-Bio Liga (CZ), TVE (HU) and Agroecopolis (GR).

The partners of the project met in Prague from the 9th to 11th of October to discuss the way forward, to strengthen and disseminate the synergies between PGS and CSA, two movements that have been developing in parallel rather than jointly and have a lot to learn from each other.

URGENCI, Nature et Progrès, Miramap, Pro-Bio Liga, TVE, Agroecopolis and IFOAM - Organics international met in Prague to discuss the synergies between PGS and CSA approaches.

Europe does not have a regulatory environment conducive to PGS and only third party certified products are allowed to be labeled ‘organic’. Nevertheless, PGS initiatives are spreading also in Europe. Moreover, many groups of producers and consumers pursuing more meaningful relationships between production and consumption are looking at alternative systems of certification for local markets.

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can join the workshop organized by URGENCI at the OWC2017 on the 10th of November: Participatory Guarantee Systems Meet Community - Supported Agriculture or write to pgs@ifoam.bio.

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