Tag Archive: training

Sep 28

International Organic Inspectors Association: Working to Make Organic Agriculture the Norm, not the Exception

Inspector at Work

The International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA) is the professional organization of organic inspectors and offers training and networking world-wide for crop, livestock, and processing inspectors. IOIA was founded in 1991 and started training inspectors in 1993. Now, 20 years later, the IOIA Training Institute trains hundreds of inspectors through dozens of on-site or web-based internationally-recognized training events annually. IOIA operates globally with nearly 250 inspector members in more than a dozen countries. IOIA provides a critical voice for inspectors regarding policies that impact inspectors and organic certification without losing sight of what matters most— growing sustainable agriculture and earth stewardship.

We provide quality training wherever it is requested, foster regional inspector organizations, and improve availability of local inspectors. IOIA trains consultants, educators, and policymakers. Members of IFOAM since 1994, we collaborated with them to produce the IFOAM/IOIA International Organic Inspection Manual, which is the basic manual for all IOIA inspection courses. We respond to requests from around the globe by working with cosponsors and a multi-lingual staff of 24 trainers located worldwide. For example, in 2010, we provided producer workshops in South Africa. In 2011, we delivered organic aquaculture inspection training in a Hong Kong classroom via webinar with a regional cosponsor, a Canadian trainer, and an expert presenter from the USA. We are a partner of the IFOAM Academy to support the first Organic Leadership Course training in the USA, scheduled for March 2013. This training aims to strengthen organic leadership and help build the organic leaders of tomorrow. Each training event in a new region provides a nucleus for generating a new branch of a truly sustainable agricultural network.

South Africa Producer Workshop with Lisa Pierce, IOIA Trainer

Both inspections and inspector training must be rigorous to guarantee organic integrity to the consumer.  Inspectors are typically the only persons on-site annually to verify organic practices for both private and governmental certification bodies. IOIA fills an essential niche to make sure organic really means organic! Thank you, and best wishes to IFOAM. We will continue to value you as a working partner in growing sustainability, so that organic becomes the norm, not the exception. Happy Anniversary!

Margaret Scoles
International Organic Inspectors Association