The Organic Food System Program (OFSP) is a significant avenue for manifesting Organic 3.0. It combines theory and practice, uniting stakeholders globally under a common framework that is built through the rich diversity of food systems intent on transforming themselves into ones that are truly sustainable models of production and consumption. The OFSP works from the bottom up by networking and developing Local Sustainable Food Societies, establishing Learning Centers in those localities, and harmonizing and improving their efforts through a coordinated scientific and research agenda.
In a 3.0 world, food chains are succeeded by food systems – inclusive societies that continually improve toward best practice based on organic principles and practices, allowing more producers better livelihoods, healthier diets for consumers, and a cleaner more sustainable planet. The synergy created through favorable policy, more enabling and credible market mechanisms, and heightened consumer awareness comes through the approach of Organic Food Systems. Sustainability works from the farm and local ecosystem outward, rejuvenating communities and strengthening the connection between rural and urban areas and fostering the mutual support and interdependence of value chains. Alongside this practical implementation is the ongoing interface with science and research to continually prove and improve performance.
7 Attributes: Core Practices and Common Values of Local Sustainable Food Societies
1. Inclusiveness – All actors are invited to move toward best practices. There are virtually no barriers to participating, only a willingness to commit to ongoing improvement and accountability. Co-creation among farmers, processors, traders, policy makers, consumers and researchers reduces barriers to participation. Producers and consumers are incentivized toward better practices. There is greater access to healthy products.
2. Gender equity – A primary consideration in all activities involves enabling women greater opportunity to participate and share in leadership so that there is greater balance between men and women.
3. True costs and responsibility accounting – Soil, water, biodiversity, energy use, waste reduction, livelihoods, product quality, and human health all must be improved. Communities together evolve and use a common framework to measure and guide paradigm change.
4. Coordination of research & innovation – The OFSP engages scientists from all over the world in the fields of agriculture, food and nutrition security, health and environment. Studies at local and regional levels are shared and coordinated globally. LSFS share experiences and learn from each other, using their systems as living laboratories. Education and research institutions partner with the OFSP and governments to set priorities based on the greatest needs identified in the given context. The OFSP aims to study, share, enrich, and describe these food systems so that their achievements may be systematized, identified and measurable. The work is simultaneously fed into relevant networks and platforms (e.g. UN 10YFP, C40, TIPI, and others).
5. Consumer awareness and healthy choices – Through school education programs, public messaging and awareness campaigns and cultural events (e.g. harvest festivals, food fairs, celebrations), consumer awareness is raised and incentivized to support healthy diets, local production, ecological stewardship, and reduce waste, as well as enhancing their experience of the preparation and enjoyment of food. Diet for a Green Planet serves as a model and benchmark for consumption.
6. Strengthening value chains and relationships – Producers, processors, distributors, and traders are preferentially linked to economic reward based on a combination of their absolute performance and continuous improvement. Institutional purchasing supports them accordingly. The natural environment is valued; farmers are paid for ecosystem srevices, taxes and subsidies incentivize practices based on a common true cost/responsibility accounting framework, and are reflective of Diet for a Green Planet.
7. Transparency – People share performance data, have equal opportunity for obtaining public resources, and there is fair enforcement of policies and regulations. There is access to credible information, opportunity for exchange, and recourse for all interested persons, for quality assurance and educational purposes.
A more detailed description of practical implementation of the above is available here.
More about OFSP's is available by visiting the Organic Food System Program website.
OFSP is also recognized by the United Nations as a Core Initiative of its 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on sustainable consumption and production:
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for more information, contact
David Gould, IFOAM - Organics International, d.gould [at] ifoam.bio
Jostein Hertwig, BERAS, jostein.hertwig [at] beras.eu