The beginnings of IFOAM – Organics International trace back to a meeting in Versailles, France in 1972.

Roland Chevriot, of Nature et Progrès, envisioned the need for organic agriculture movements to coordinate their actions as well as to enable scientific and experimental data on organic to cross borders. In order to realize this vision, he invited organic pioneers including Lady Eve Balfour, founder of the UK Soil Association, Kjell Arman from the Swedish Biodynamic Association and Jerome Goldstein from the Rodale Institute to join him in Versailles to set the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM - Organics International) in motion. See Roland Chevriot's invitation letter

Four decades later, we now have over 800 members from about 120 countries and territories. The organic sector has gone through extraordinary change in phases we refer to as Organic 1.0, Organic 2.0 and Organic 3.0.

Organic 1.0

Pioneers from Around the World

Organic 1.0 was started by numerous pioneers, who observed the problems with the direction agriculture was taking at the end of the 19th century and  beginning of the 20th century. They saw the need for a radical change. 

Lady Eve Balfour was one of these pioneers. She believed the characteristics of truly sustainable agriculture can be summed up by the word "permanence".

"The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible"

Lady Eve Balfour | Soil Association

Organic 2.0

Norming and Performing

Organic 2.0 started in the 1970s when the writings and agricultural systems developed by our pioneers were codified into standards and then later into legally-mandated regulatory systems.

It marks a time where awareness  of organic farming increased considerably and the market for organic produce grew significantly.  There is more and more evidence highlighting the positive impacts of organic on a range of important issues including consumer health, biodiversity, animal welfare and the improved livelihoods of producers.

Despite increasing success, certified organic agriculture has not reached 1% of global agricultural land. At the same time there is increasing awareness that organic can be a solution to global challenges such as soil contamination, loss of biodiversity and climate change. It is time to position organic as a modern, innovative system that can bring true sustainability to food and farming systems. 

Organic 3.0

Broad Uptake of Truly Sustainable Systems

Approved by our General Assembly in 2017, the overall goal of Organic 3.0 is to enable a widespread uptake of truly sustainable farming systems and markets based on the principles of organic agriculture. 

There are six features to guide the pathway to implementation:

To stimulate greater farmer conversion and adoption of best practices. Organic 3.0 proactively combines the best traditional practices with modern innovations. It assesses practice, knowledge and innovation against impact risks and potentials.

For operators along the whole value chain. Continuous improvement covers all dimensions of sustainability: ecology, society, economy, culture and accountability.

To broaden the uptake of organic agriculture beyond third-party certification. Trust instilled by transparency and integrity develops acceptance and builds the market.

Through proactively building alliances with the many movements and organizations that have complementary approaches to truly sustainable food and farming. However, it also clearly distinguishes itself from unsustainable agriculture systems and ‘greenwashing’ initiatives.

To recognize the interdependence and real partnerships along the value chain and also on a territorial basis. It particularly acknowledges the core position of small-scale family farmers, gender equality and fair trade.

To internalize costs and benefits of external effects, to encourage transparency for consumers and policy-makers and to empower farmers as partners with rights.