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New report from the English Organic Forum provides a case for organic

New report from the English Organic Forum provides a case for organic

The case for organic has never been stronger. Retailers and producers have seen the organic market rise by 12.6% compared to 2019.

The organic approach delivers many of the environmental benefits presented as public goods in future UK policy proposals. And these same benefits to the environment, animal welfare and the biodiversity fulfil the public’s appetite for healthy and sustainable diets.

This new report from the English Organic Forum (EOF) makes the case for organic and includes how organic land management must be integrated into England’s agricultural policy through the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.

The organic approach in principle and practice delivers on multiple environmental public goods such as improved soil quality, reduced climate change impact, greater biodiversity, protection of wildlife and reduced pollution. These are all in line with the ambition of government policies such as the Agriculture Act and the Environment Bill.

There is widespread recognition of the need for an agroecological transition. In the UK, in Europe and around the world organic is the most comprehensive, well-defined and regulated model for agroecology. The organic market continues to grow in the UK, in Europe and globally, and has a proven track record commercially and environmentally on a wide range of farms and in the marketplace. It is described and defined in law and is supported by a comprehensive inspection, certification, and information system.

Organic meets the requirements of consumers, citizens, farmers, producers, retailers and policymakers.

As such, it can realistically be a powerful pivot for system change, responding simultaneously both to the aspirations, as well as the concerns, of a significant proportion of consumers and citizens and the environmental challenges we collectively face.

Taking account of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and our commitments to COP26, achieving a sustainable and resilient food supply is a pledge that we must make, alongside other advanced economies. Consequently, the UK must ensure its low ranking in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Food Sustainability Index is urgently improved. Enabling organic is one way to contribute to this.

The challenges

Despite the well-evidenced public goods that organic presents, organic land area growth in the UK remains static, and there is still minimal budget provided for research and development for agroecological farming practice.

The opportunity

This report presents a convincing case for how, and why, organic land management should be integrated into agricultural policy, including in the Environment Land Management scheme. Considering its many public benefits, organic farming merits financial support and a positive policy framework. Read more in the new ‘Why organic – contributing productively to future farming and food policy’ report.