Principle and practice: stopping the erosion
ORC research team reports from IFOAM/ISOFAR in Modena, Italy.
The Big Tent environment was not ideal for the inspirational plenum speakers at the 16th IFOAM Congress (incorporating the 2nd ISOFAR Conference) at Modena, Italy, in June. The imagery had to be pumped up to compensate – Vandana Shiva, for example, exhorted us to improve the quality of cow shits and farts as a major research objective. Carlo Petrini likened the competitive activities of the ‘organic industry’ against the major food corporations to a child playing games with a sports professional. The best solution is to run off and start another kind of game – at the local scale, with a systems approach.
These themes cropped up repeatedly – first, the need for more research and innovation to push the ecological quality of organic farming forward, together with the need to ensure a clear distinction between the delivery of organic agriculture against the often improving standards of non-organic, pushed by the rapidly increasing costs of synthetic inputs.