You find me writing from home, at careful distance from my team colleagues at IFOAM – Organics International and my social contacts. At the same time though, I feel very much (inter) connected with the global organic movement and our earth. And thanks to modern technology, a lot of us can communicate virtually which can help emotionally and professionally bridge the imposed distance.
For me, this is also a time of reflection. I have thought about what is really important in life and also how to focus on what we can directly influence to contribute to impactful change. Times of crises such as these often help us realize the importance of vibrant, sustainable (local) food systems and the women and men who keep on working to make sure we do not suffer from hunger.
I observe that authorities and citizens alike are following advice from scientists on how to act, behave, what to do and what not do. People are refraining from travels, meetings, shopping and leisure activities to protect each other, their loved ones and themselves.
I hope we continue to listen to science when it comes to the state of our soils, biodiversity and climate change. Now in a time where many of us are experiencing a slowdown in life it gives me hope to think that we can all manage to live within planetary boundaries. Together, we can make choices that will not harm us and yet facilitate an improvement in the living conditions of families living in poverty.
As you may know, together with our French partners, we are preparing for the world wide gathering of the organic movement, the Organic World Congress (OWC), planned for September 21 – 27 in Rennes, France. We have had several questions on how where things stand given COVID-19.
At this stage, the official information available does not justify the postponement or cancellation of OWC. That said, the exceptional circumstances we now face and the uncertainty about how things will progress, mean we will look into other options for the OWC. We hope to get back to you by mid-April to update you on possible changes to the format of the OWC. Of course, we will postpone the deadline for early bird registrations accordingly.
Meanwhile we will keep on working toward real sustainability in agriculture, inspired by the Principles of Organic Agriculture, ecology, health, fairness and care.
I wish you, your family and colleagues peace and good health.
Executive Director, IFOAM - Organics International