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DDRN group: Organic Agriculture for Sustainable Development (OASD)

Organic Agriculture for Sustainable Development (OASD) is a Working Group uniting researchers and practitioners who share an interest in the capacity of organic agriculture to contribute driving agriculture, consumption patterns, rural areas and society at large, along environmentally sustainable development pathways. The group is formed at a time – autumn 2007 - with increased attention paid to the development potential of organic agriculture, environmentally, socially and economically.

Promoter
The committee ‘Organic Denmark Global Organic’ coordinates the work within the Global Organic Network within the organization of organic farmers and consumers in Denmark called ‘Organic Denmark’. The Committee consists of: Bjarne Larsen (chair), Mette Vaarst, Inge Lis Dissing, Sven Jensen, Birthe T. Jacobsen, and Henrik Platz.

Background

Organic and agro-ecological agriculture is an area of R&D in which Denmark has a strong research record, e.g. research coordinated by the International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS). In Denmark, both the public and the private sector embody vast institutional experiences in relation to releasing the developmental potential of organic agriculture, beyond research and into the social fabric – including the market. COOP and other supermarket chains supplies Danish consumers a wide choice of certified organic products from the global South. The principles of organic production also include the use of agro-ecological agricultural methods, also when they are not certified by e.g. European certifying bodies (which organic products for export normally are). Organic agriculture emphasizes the importance of producing healthy food for people at the local markets throughout the world. This means farming to the principles of health, ecology, care and fairness. Living organisms all have equal rights to food, and the access to produce and control the food system must be owned by the people who are living and eating in a given area. This means that food should be produced in accordance with the local needs, traditions, culture and owned and be under the control of the people who lives in the area where the food is needed and produced. Creating agricultural and food systems in accordance with the principles of health, ecology, fairness and care means that seeds, breeds, food, land and water is a right of as well as owned by the people in any local community, and that animals and environment should be protected and taken care of by the way in which we farm.

Objectives
The objectives of the OASD working group is to jointly explore and promote conditions under which organic agriculture can be the strongest possible driver of environmentally and socially sustainable development in the North and in the South.

Given its composition and objective, this working group, therefore, is addressing the core objective of DDRN in making available to the Danish Development Research Network, a comprehensive foundation of knowledge, agencies, actors and agents in Denmark and abroad, of relevance to Danish development assistance.

Target group
Members of the working group include farmers, advisers and researchers working with organic agriculture, organic farmers associations, government staff and civil society change agents and staff of development agencies with an interest in the transformative or development potentials of organic agriculture as well as other stakeholders in the organic sector. It also includes companies producing and trading certified organic products.

Activities
The group wants to support the organisation of meetings and conferences with relevance to R&D of organic agriculture in a development perspective. The group have supported the following conferences:

November 9, 2010: 'Cooperation between Danish research and NGOs about development of sustainable organic agriculture' held at Organic Denmark, Aarhus, Denmark, was organized by Organic Denmark, University of Aarhus, ICROFS and Dan Church Aid and supported by DDRN. Documents from the conference are available here.

May 2009: ‘Organic Agriculture for Improved Food Security in Africa – Recommendations to future development’ was organized in conjunction with the First Organic African Conference in Kampala, Uganda, and financially supported by DDRN. A report on the workshop can be downloaded here.

May 2008: ‘Hvordan ulandene kan få gavn af det voksende økologiske marked’. The organisation ‘Organic Denmark’ was the primary organizer with financial support from DDRN.

An email list was established in 2008 and has not been very active; we give it a new try from June 2010, where the coordinator  of this working group (Mette Vaarst) will send links and interesting information when relevant, related to the topic and from various sources of information. To be added to this email list, pls. send an email to Mette Vaarst (Mette.Vaarst@agrsci.dk).

Links and resources

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