The EU organic awards were launched as a yearly celebration to acknowledge excellence in the organic value chain. They are presented on or around EU organic day on 23 September.
Watch the full recording of the second EU organic awards ceremony that took place in Brussels on 25 September 2023.
Meet the winners
The EU organic awards comprise 8 awards across 7 different categories. They acknowledge different actors along the organic value chain that have developed an excellent, innovative, sustainable, and inspiring project producing real added value for organic production and consumption. These awards are non-financial.
The awards ceremony was organised on 25 September 2023, as one of a range of activities and events to mark EU organic day on 23 September. The winners were invited to an event in Brussels to collect their awards. This event involved representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe. Providing examples of best practices, the winners were able to explain their project to a broader public.
Clara Benito Pacheco (Entrelobas) – Serrada de la Fuente, Spain
Clara Benito Pacheco runs an extensive organic goat farm in Serreda de la Fuente, Spain, where autochthonous breeds feed exclusively on native grass. While producing healthy meat and high-quality milk, her herd also contributes to restoring an ecosystem dominated by pyrophilic shrubland, regenerating grasslands, improving carbon sequestration, and increasing biodiversity.
Thanks to virtual fence technologies, and the use of GPS collars, adult animals can graze freely as no physical fences are needed.
Thomas Moschos (Moschos Farm) – Kastoria, Greece
Thomas Moschos is an organic livestock farmer based in Kastoria, Greece, specialised in raising sheep and producing dairy products.
He runs a family farm and works on improving the soil and increasing circularity. The farm uses the manure of the sheep and from neighbouring farms to fertilise its fields, improving soil organic matter and ensuring higher yields.
The regional government of Burgenland in Austria has become a role model on the organic reconversion scene thanks to the scientific implementation of the "Bioland Burgenland" strategy. This strategy aims to increase the share of agricultural land farmed organically to 50% by 2030.
The region has established an organic conversion funding mechanism and increased organic food in regional canteens, buffets, and schools to 100%. It is also working towards enhancing the complete organic supply chain from among other protecting fertile soil, to training young famers.
Stadt Wien, Austria
The Austrian capital city of Vienna has developed a far-reaching organic “farm to fork” concept for its inhabitants. It manages around 44,000 hectares of forest and agricultural land. The organic agricultural products from these city-owned fields sold to the population at an affordable price.
This ensures a secure food supply and provides affordable high-quality organic food for inhabitants, also strengthening the local economy via the regional value chain.
Organic production in the bio-district of Idanha-a-Nova has grown substantially, making it the Portuguese municipality with the largest area of agricultural land under organic farming. The eco-region supports projects that reinforce short supply chains and increase the offer of organic products.
This includes the Food4Sustainability Collaborative Laboratories that were founded with the aim of creating and sharing knowledge focused on the sustainability, regeneration, and circularity of agri-food production.
The Merry Mill – Vicarstown, Ireland
The Merry Mill is a family-run organic farm producing a range of organic gluten-free foods in Ireland.
The family operates a closed-loop system on their organic farm. They grow organic oats and have constructed a purpose-built oat mill on their farm, the first organic gluten-free mill in Ireland. They manage the whole process from start to finish to ensure that no cross-contamination of other grains occurs. All milling bi-products and waste are used on the farm as animal feed and animal bedding.
Category 6: Best organic food retailer
The objective of this award is to reward an SME food retailer selling organic products. This award is organised by the European Economic and Social Committee.
Gut Wulksfelde (Bioland) – Tangstedt, Germany
Based in Tangstedt in Germany, Gut Wulksfelde (Bioland) operates a 600 m² farm shop selling produce from its own organic farm. It farms 450 hectares of land with over 50 varieties of vegetables. Besides selling more than 8,000 organic food products, it processes meat, produces eggs, and runs a bakery. Its restaurant has been awarded a green Michelin star for its 'vegetarian first' concept.
Gut Wulksfelde is one of the leisure destinations in the area and teaches over 7000 children each year about healthy nutrition and organic farming.
Category 7: Best organic restaurant/food service
The objective of this award is to reward an SME restaurant/food service restaurant (standalone or part of a hotel) and/or food service (caterer or canteen) proposing organic certified references in their menu. This award is organised by the European Economic and Social Committee.
Luftburg - Kolarik im Prater – Vienna, Austria
Luftburg – Kolarik im Prater is a restaurant located in the Austrian capital city of Vienna. It is the largest fully certified organic restaurant in the world and has ecological and social sustainability at the heart of its philosophy. A winner of several Austrian prizes, it uses renewable energy and aims to minimize its environmental footprint wherever it can.
It publishes annual sustainability reports on its activities: water-saving, food-waste prevention, and tree-planting.
- News article
EU Organic Day: Highlighting excellence across the organic value chain through the second EU Organic Awards
The Commission announced today the eight winners of the second edition of the EU Organic Awards.
Reasons to apply
Do you want to contribute to the greater public awareness of organic production in the EU? Do you want to contribute to the greater affordability and/or accessibility of organic products in the EU? Have you developed and implemented, or are you still implementing, an excellent, innovative, sustainable and replicable project for this purpose? Do you want to make this project better known to the public?
If the answer to any of the above questions is 'yes', you should consider entering for the next edition of the EU organic awards. If you win, you will receive a non-financial recognition award and greater public visibility for your project. So whether you are:
- an organic farmer
- a city or region serving organic meals to patients or pupils or otherwise promoting organic production
- a business in the organic food chain with a unique approach
- you should think about entering the EU organic awards.
The process and selection criteria for the 2023 edition were supported by the following rules.
Applications were welcomed from any actor or institution along the organic value chain with a noteworthy project contributing to the greater affordability and/or accessibility of organic products in the EU can apply. Project promoters were required to be established or residents in the EU. Applications needed to be submitted in one of the official EU languages and the projects EU based.
Applications for the EU Organic Awards had to meet the following eligibility criteria:
a) The starting point to apply for one of the awards was the EU organic awards webpage, which linked to the online application forms for each of the awards during the required period. Applications needed to be submitted by 14 May 2023, 23:59:59 CEST at the latest.
Only complete applications (all sections filled in) submitted via the online platform by the deadline were considered.
b) Applications needed to be in one of the official EU languages.
c) Applicants were required to be legal or natural persons established or resident in one of the 27 Member States of the EU.
d) The project submitted had to be EU based and refer clearly to one of the 7 award categories/8 awards. The same project could not be submitted for several award categories/awards. Each applicant could only apply for one single award. The maximum number of applications per award was one.
e) The winners of the 2022 edition could not re-apply for the 2023 edition. The non-winning finalists of the 2022 edition could re-apply for the 2023 edition.
f) The project was required to either have been fully implemented already or be in a sufficiently mature state so as to enable the jury to assess it (i.e. physical implementation was to be advanced enough to demonstrate the achievement of the objectives).
g) Specific eligibility criteria for each award category:
- Best organic farmer (female) and Best organic farmer (male): Certified accordingly to the Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of 30 May 2018 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007;
- Best organic region: No specific eligibility criteria;
- Best organic city: No specific eligibility criteria; in case the city operates one or more organic farms or stores, proof of their organic certification needed to be provided. This proof had to be a valid certificate at the moment of submission;
- Best organic "bio-district": A “bio-district” was defined as a geographical area where farmers, the public, tourist operators, associations and public authorities enter into an agreement for the sustainable management of local resources, based on organic principles and practices;
- Best organic food processing SME: Enterprise certified according to Regulation (EU) 2018/848, and having 100% organic production and complying with the SME definition (an enterprise employing fewer than 250 persons, with an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and /or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million). Cooperatives were understood as enterprises. Processing was understood as defined by Regulation (EU) No 852/2004;
- Best organic food retailers: Enterprise certified according to Regulation (EU) 2018/848 and having 100% organic certified references on sale (excluding non-food products or food products for which there was no organic availability) and complying with the SME definition (an enterprise employing fewer than 250 persons, with an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million). Cooperatives were understood as enterprises;
- Best organic restaurant/food service: Enterprise having 100% organic certified references in their menu, where possible and complying with the SME definition (an enterprise employing fewer than 250 persons, with has an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million). Cooperatives were understood as enterprises.
All eligible applications were assessed by the EU Organic Awards jury against the following horizontal award criteria:
- Excellence: The awardee was required to have developed an excellent initiative producing real added value for organic production. This meant good results and impact of the project in relation to its initial objectives. Projects needed to demonstrate their impact on the area and territory concerned and show their results against the initially set targets and objectives.
- Innovative character of the project in the selected award category: Projects could not be "business as usual", but had to demonstrate new approaches, new organisational methods, or the development of new (or significantly) improved results for organics. The criteria for measuring the innovative character for each category were described in more detail in the dedicated section of the category.
- Sustainability pillars (environmental, social and economic) of the project: Projects needed to demonstrate their sustainability and their future as a self-standing initiative, or how they met each pillar of sustainability in 3 different sub-sections.
- Transferability and possibility to replicate the project elsewhere in the EU: The project needed to demonstrate that it represented good practice in a wider (EU) context and that it inspired or could inspire other places. The project also needed to show good ways of communicating its goals and results.
The applicants were asked to answer guiding questions, developed in relation to the four principles of organic agriculture and the sustainability pillars, as well as a project summary. These questions helped the applicants to better structure their statements and the jury to obtain more data about the applicants.
The jury deciding on the final winners comprised representatives of:
- The European Commission,
- The European Economic and Social Committee,
- The European Committee of the Regions,
- IFOAM Organics Europe,
- The European Parliament and
- The Council of the European Union.
- 25 March 2023
Launch of the application period for the awards
- 14 May 2023
Deadline for the submission of applications: 14 May 2023, 23:59:59 CEST.
- June/July 2023
Awards evaluation decision
- 25 September 2023
About the EU organic awards
Increases in organic production contribute significantly to reducing the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and antimicrobials and have positive effects on our climate, the environment, biodiversity and animal welfare. That is why organic production has been identified as playing a key role in achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and the Biodiversity strategy. For this reason, the Commission has defined a target of 25% of EU agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture.
The Commission has adopted the Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production in March 2021, including the launch of annual awards. They aim to reward the best and most innovative organic actors, contributing to the reduction of agriculture’s impact on the environment and climate.
Organic farming, aquaculture and food in the EU
Regulation (EU) 2018/848 states in recital 1 that “Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that combines best environmental and climate action practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources and the application of high animal welfare standards and high production standards in line with the demand of a growing number of consumers for products produced using natural substances and processes”.
Organic production is increasing in the EU. In 2019, 8.5% of EU agricultural land was under organic farming. This equalled 13.8 million hectares, up from 9.5 million hectares in 2012, a 45.8% increase. The countries accounting for most of the EU agricultural land under organic farming were Spain (2.4 billion hectares, 17.4% of the EU total), France (2.2 billion hectares, 16.2% of the EU total), Italy (2.0 billion hectares, 14.5% of the total) and Germany (1.3 billion hectares, 9.4% of the EU total) as per Eurostat organic farming statistics.
Across the entire value chain, almost 344,000 organic producers and over 78,000 organic processors were active in the EU. Organic farmers benefit from the price premiums that organic products fetch on the market and the rapidly growing final consumer demand for organic products. In 2019, the EU market accounted for 38.8 billion euro in a global market of 106.4 billion euro, second after the US market accounting for 48.2 billion. Large markets in the EU are Germany (12.0 billion) euro and France (11.3 billion euro), as per FIBL statistics.
Per capita consumer expenditure on organic products is highest in Denmark (344 euro, equivalent to 12% of grocery shopping) and Luxembourg (264 euro, equivalent to 8% of grocery shopping), as per FIBL statistics.
Consumer awareness of the EU organic logo is increasing. In 2020, 56% of Eurobarometer survey respondents recognised the logo, compared to 27% in 2017. 80% of survey respondents believe that organic products are more environmentally friendly and respect higher animal welfare standards.
Food for Europe podcast episodes
A selection of the Food for Europe podcast episodes are dedicated to organic farming in the EU, as well as the launch of the EU organic awards in 2022 and the 2023 awards ceremony. All the episodes of the "Food for Europe" podcast are released in English, French and German.
29 September 2023
24 March 2022
1 April 2021
18 March 2021
11 March 2021
4 March 2021
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