19 Jun 2008

The 16th Organic World Congress (OWC) ‘Cultivate the Future’, organized by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), kicked off in Modena, Italy, on Monday.

From June 16-20, through a series of conferences, workshops, seminars, round tables and forums, the OWC will serve as a platform for discussions on the four cardinal principles of organic agriculture: health, fairness, ecology and care.

Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food International, is attending, supported by Vandana Shiva, vice-president of Slow Food International, Roberto Burdese, president of Slow Food Italy, and Piero Sardo, president of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity Onlus.

Reflecting yesterday on current attitudes in the agricultural sector, Petrini stated, ‘To those who want to implement industrial agricultural production, our answer is that organics is fundamental’.

Vandana Shiva stressed the need to abolish industrial agriculture, adding that, ‘We began with a few small steps, but now we are a reality … The political system is based on food fascism, but it’s the democracy of food that grows from the soil upwards that should triumph.’

IFOAM is the worldwide umbrella organization for the organic movement. It unites over 750 member organizations from 108 countries and is of enormous importance for the future development of organic agriculture.

It recently established the Principles of Organic Agriculture which state ‘Agriculture is one of humankind’s most basic activities because all people need to nourish themselves daily. History, culture and community values are embedded in agriculture. The Principles … concern the way people interact with living landscapes, relate to one another and shape the legacy of future generations. We consider organic aquaculture as one of these basic activities whose history, culture and values inspired the Principles and contributed to improving Organic Agriculture in general’.

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Victoria Blackshaw

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