Category Archive: The Stories

The Stories include all blog posts presenting one of the 40 stories from our Organic friends.

Dec 21

IFOAM. The 40th Anniversary.

Practice what you preach in all respects and live a sustainable lifestyle.

In those forty years the wheel has turned full circle. In the beginning, of my life anyway, self sufficiency and sustainability was a necessity of a post world war scenario where scrimp and save were the order of the day and that is where I learned the skills and wisdom of working in the natural world and became a student of horticulture at tertiary level. As globalization with the attendant industrialization of food production based on technology gained sway so the concept of horticulture or garden culture became an anachronism and the wisdom of old became forgotten and chemical farming took over as the conventional wisdom.

So it was that Rachel Carson as early as 1962 sowed the seeds of doubt in the minds of the people and by the mid 70’s on the back of the energy crisis a new environmental awareness was born and what was left of the traditional wisdoms of land management rose from the old literature and the renaissance of the organic movement began.     For me in New Zealand in 1976 it was the beginning of the Biological Husbandry Unit [BHU] on the campus of an organic unbelieving Lincoln University. Out of sight out of mind, it was a matter of creating the new organic tomorrow based on the old biological science and doing it for all to see while educating the young and subverting the existing paradigm through infiltration into the minds of the students that there was another pathway to follow. Over the next 20+ years hundreds of students were challenged to rethink their pathways into life in the broadest way.

Today 36 years later the BHU survives as a dedicated ORGANIC COLLEGE attached to Lincoln University demonstrating and teaching organics in both a theoretical and practical way helping many to relearn the science, wisdom and practice of a more holistic lifestyle on the journey to a very different economic paradigm in the future.

The Christchurch earthquakes from 2010 until today have destroyed much of the City and suburbs and created the kind of disaster that has stimulated the populations understanding of the need for greater self sufficiency and sustainability and has resulted in a renaissance of need for basic knowledge of how to tend the land for productivity. Horticulture once again has relevance, the wheel turns full circle and grass lawns get turned into productive areas.


Bob Crowder
73Ashgrove Terrace, Christchurch. New Zealand.
Board of Directors IFOAM 1989-97

Dec 19

Ensuring Food Security from the very Beginning

IFOAM is turning 40, and our company, CCPB, is turning 25. We would like to share with you our story as a certification body: food safety has always been our main aim.
When our company was founded, in 1988, health threats, particularly caused by pesticides, were a big issue in Italy. We thought that organic production would be a fascinating solution to this problem, even if at that time this production process was almost unknown. There was no culture for organic, only rich and health oriented people used to buy organic products.
Through our certification service, we wanted to guarantee high production standards, and try to create a new market, making organic food affordable for a much wider range of consumers.

We welcomed European legislation in 1991 as a strong basis to go forward on this way.
Furthermore, we believed that only large agrifood companies would have been able to make a significant change in the market, so it was important to involve them in organic production.
After all these years, we can happily say that we have made it.  We joined IFOAM in 1995, and we have shared the same vision ever since. Our CCPB Global Programme is the certification scheme for organic products that we set up to certify compliance with the IFOAM standards. Now we are also able to certify agrifood, textiles, and cosmetics.  And we are focusing our efforts towards sustainability programs.
For the future we would like to spread the idea that technology could help organic farming in order to provide a better and sustainable production system. We would like to weigh up the balance between nature and technology!
Organic can still be improved, but for CCPB it’s the best solution available for sustainability.

Fabrizio Piva

Dec 17

A Vision of a Social and Economically Just Society

The Institute for Integrated Rural Development (IIRD) is based in Aurangabad of Maharashtra and its work is primarily focused in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. IIRD was started with the vision of empowered rural communities that strive for a social and economically just society while preserving and conserving the environment.

The intervention of IIRD is based on the philosophy of People’s Education and Action for Community Empowerment (PEACE). This involves an education that empowers communities to take actions for better rural livelihoods and social justice. During the past two decades, IIRD has worked with the communities to identify their challenges, acquire and share relevant traditional knowledge, and take individual and collective actions. This process has led to sustainable practices in farming, rural enterprises, and other livelihood activities, particularly among the small and marginal farmers.

The challenges of small and marginal farmers are manifold – lack of water, increased cost of cultivation, small and fragmented lands, difficulty in access to markets, and many more. IIRD and its key partners at the grassroots believe on the path of organic farming towards sustainable livelihoods. Since its inception, IIRD has been promoting organic farming and has established alternative markets for the small and marginal organic farmers called the Organic Bazaars.

The efforts of IIRD and the partner communities have been recognized nationally and internationally. IIRD is the recipient of the prestigious Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Award and the Krishi Bushan award from the Maharashtra state Government in India.

IIRD is proud to be associated with IFOAM since 1994. During this association, IIRD has served as the IFOAM Asia Regional Secretariat for 3 years and Dr. Alexander Daniel, the founder of IIRD, has been in the IFOAM World Board for two terms during the past. As a network, IFOAM has facilitated participation in international events and interventions while taking lessons from the grassroots. To know more about IIRD, visit

Dec 15

Organic Life in Bangladesh. A Model for Permaculture and Sustainable Livelihoods

The fertile alluvial plain of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers of Bangladesh and Eastern India is densely populated and very rich with diversified flora and fauna having specific association and adaptation. The river systems provided great opportunities like fertile land, biodiversity, scenic beauty, ports, industries, tourists’ spots, coastal resources, mangroves, minerals and transportation. Evergreen and semi-deciduous forests, wetlands and estuaries of this tropic have wet and dry monsoons enriched with biodiversity and scope for wide range adaptation. The rural home-based multidisciplinary farming is traditionally maintained for thousands of years. Homes are specially designed as centers of all activities; having houses, cowshed, a pond, forest-grove and a garden, the basis of present “Permaculture” worldwide.

In Bangladesh, about 70% of 165 million people living in rural areas are dependent on agriculture. Villagers are simple, warmhearted but hardworking; lead nice and coordinated organic life.Multiple and multi-storied cropping culture is being maintained traditionally according to their habit, habitats and adaptation to maximize production and land-use. Vegetation covers the highest area of a home and is used for essential purposes e.g. building materials, windbreaks, hedges and fences, fruits and vegetables, drinks and spices, green manures, mastication, beverages, medicine and for beautification with an average 190 species in a single home. Short-cycle biomass recycling is practiced to maintain the soil health. WWOOF Bangladesh provides scope for the volunteers and host-farmers, can share knowledge and create bondage of organic minds.

Professor Mohammed Ataur Rahman, PhD, MSc & DIC
Coordinator, WWOOF Bangladesh


Dec 10

Ganja Agribusiness Association, a Promoter of Organic Agriculture in Azerbaijan


Ganja Agribusiness Association (GABA), located in Ganja, Azerbaijan, is a national non-governmental organization whose mission is to promote sustainable development of the country’s agrarian sector through human potential development, knowledge and resource transfer. GABA has supported small-enterprise development in Azerbaijan since 1999 by means of building the capacity of targeted entrepreneurs with the purpose of their effective social and economic growth through training, information support and resource mobilization.

GABA was subsequently founded by those scientists who assisted the newly formed government in agrarian reform and the division of Azerbaijan’s agricultural land. A predecessor organization was first formed in 1996 by these leading scientists. Three years later, working with the Eurasia Foundation and funded by USAID, Ganja Agribusiness Association was created; one year later it was registered by the Minister of Justice of Azerbaijan.

GABA is the primary organization in Azerbaijan promoting organic agriculture. In the year 2000, GABA assumed a leadership position by initiating the promotion of organic agriculture. Organic agriculture came in response to environmental issues as well as to the fact that Azerbaijani farmers were still suffering from the reorientation and restructuring process – the conversion of the land from the collective farms to individually owned land in 1996.  Access to farm resources especially fertilizers, pesticides, and veterinary products were difficult to obtain and/or expensive. Organic agriculture provided an option for the Azerbaijani farmers to develop a sustainable agriculture production system in an environmentally supportive and economically sound way.  Since its initiation in 2000, more than 2000 farmers have been trained in organic agricultural methods and 332 have advanced to the stage of applying for organic certification of their products. The last several years have been very productive for GABA’s organic initiative, multiple organic agriculture projects were initiated in 2004, GABA initiated the study of Organic Agriculture Management at the Azerbaijan State Agrarian University, and the organic certification body AZEKOSERT and soil laboratory were established in 2006.

GABA is Azerbaijan’s first NGO to pursue this quality management system. On August 13, 2010, GABA was notified that Swiss certification body SGS had certified GABA under ISO 9001-2008 system of certification.



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