The Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production adopted in March 2021 takes the approach that, in order to stimulate organic production, consumer demand for organic products should grow. This requires, amongst other things, increased public awareness of the characteristics and benefits of organic production.
For this purpose, the Action Plan includes the launch of annual awards recognising excellence in the organic value chain.
Watch the full recording of the inaugural EU organic awards ceremony that took place in Brussels on 23 September 2022, as one of a range of activities and events to mark EU organic day.
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 the EU Organic day on 23 September 2022. 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.
Nazaret Mateos Álvarez runs an organic mushroom production site without support from the common agricultural policy.
She has developed a unique cultivation method maximising product quality while minimising input and cutting drastically in particular the consumption of water.
Against a fair retribution, local elders help pick mushrooms, which helps them keep social contacts in a depopulated area.
David Pejic runs the oldest organic farm in Croatia.
He grows over 60 different crops on 22 hectares, with the help of 39 employees, operating the region’s largest no-dig/no-till bio-intensive garden while focusing on energy self-sufficiency and water retention.
The farm is heavily engaged in education, training and advisory initiatives, notably for small and young farmers, and it includes an on-site bakery and an own organic restaurant, under a comprehensive farm to table concept.
The region of Occitanie in France has crafted the Region’s Green deal and Organic Plan to make organic food and farming a priority for its development.
Currently, 19% of all agricultural land is under organic farming, involving 608 285 hectares and 13 265 farms. The target is to achieve 30% of all agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.
A comprehensive approach is taken, involving an inclusive regional governance and the complete value chain from production to consumption. Currently 33% of regional aid for agriculture goes to organic farming. 8% of all food procured by the region in high schools is organic, and 6% is both organic and local. The region is part of the “Territoire BIO engagé” label.
The municipality of Seeham is part of the “Organic Cities Network Europe”. The “Biodorf Seeham” involves 33 organic farms, organic local suppliers, organic producers and an organic dairy.
All local schools and kindergartens serve organic lunches and 100% of the food in the city’s public canteens is organic and 70% is local.
The local organic shop is a key partner that enables the city to procure regionally and seasonally, delivering food in electrical vehicles. The town developed a bee adventure trail through 3 000 sqm of flowering areas and a community garden. An important focus is raising awareness about healthy and quality food and creating local jobs.
Category 4: Best organic bio-district
This award recognises a bio-district. A bio-district is a geographical area where farmers, citizens, tourist operators, associations and public authorities come together to sustainably manage local resources, based on organic principles and practices. The award is organised by the European Committee of the Regions.
The Cilento bio-district is a pioneer and a model for other bio-districts at international level. It brings organic producers and processors, consumers, tourism operators and public authorities together around common initiatives.
It also supports the development of short supply chains, local markets and green public procurement, increasing the consumption of locally produced food. It links all of this to tourism initiatives (bio-beaches, bio-trails) benefiting both coastal and interior areas, and ultimately benefiting job creation, social cohesion and the revitalisation of rural areas. It has inspired the INNER network of bio-districts.
The Goodvenience.bio GmbH SME, which employs 10 people, produces handcrafted and organic broths, soups, sauces, spices and oils. It puts a strong emphasis on sustainable, circular and innovative production: energy-efficiency, carbon neutrality, waste minimisation, processing of invasive species (e.g. crabs), short supply chains, and promoting healthy diets.
It is a socially inclusive company training and employing people with special needs and paying above average wages.
This is a small-scale supermarket on a farm selling organic products such as meat and flour, not only from the farm itself, but also from organic producers across the region since 1978.
There is a strong focus on sustainable and circular production (the animals' feed comes from the farm and from the organic waste produced) and processing (homemade cold cuts of meat).
The supermarket employs 25 people, uses green energy, avoids packaging and limits transport emissions by focusing on local procurement. It works with schools and universities on education and Research and Development.
Lilla Bjers is an organic farm and restaurant operating under the 'seed-to-plate' concept. The farm is free from fossil fuel and grows 300 different crops, which helps preserve biodiversity.
The restaurant collaborates with local farms. Fish is not served given the depletion of the Baltic Sea, instead wine-rock snails are cultivated. Energy is produced with wind and biogas. Packaging and food waste are avoided.
This restaurant has become a hub for training young organic farmers and chefs. Guests can obtain extensive information about the crops, the raw materials and the organic method.
The Commission unveiled the eight winners of the first ever EU organic awards to celebrate excellence and innovation along the European organic value chain.
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.
Applicants for the 2022 EU organic awards were asked to:
- read the different sections of this website, in particular the eligibility criteria and the selection criteria;
- choose the award category they wished to enter;
- apply online from 25 March until 8 June 2022;
- provide answers to closed guiding questions (some relating to the four principles of organic and the sustainability pillars), to help the jury to obtain more information about the applicants.
Organisers, selection criteria, finalists
In this section you will find information about the proceedings for the 2022 edition of the EU organic awards.
The EU organic awards are jointly organised by the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions, COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe.
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.
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 must be established or residents in the EU. Applications must be submitted in one of the official EU languages and the projects EU based.
Applications for the EU Organic Awards shall meet the following eligibility criteria:
a) Applications were submitted from 25 March to 8 June 2022 23:59:59 CEST
b) Applications must be in one of the official EU languages.
c) Applicants must be legal or natural persons established or resident in one of the 27 Member States of the EU.
d) The project submitted must be EU based and refer clearly to one of the 7 award categories/8 awards of 2022. The same project cannot be submitted for several award categories/awards. Each applicant can only apply for one award. The maximum number of applications per award is one.
e) The project should either have been fully implemented already or should be in a sufficiently mature state so as to enable the jury to assess it (i.e. physical implementation should be advanced enough to demonstrate the achievement of the objectives).
f) Specific eligibility criteria for each award category:
- Best organic farmer (female) and Best organic farmer (male): Certified accordingly to the Regulation (EU) 2018/848 on organic production and labelling of organic products;
- Best organic region: No specific eligibility criteria;
- Best organic city: No specific eligibility criteria;
- Best organic bio-district: A bio-district is 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 SME: An enterprise certified according to Regulation (EU) 2018/848, complying with the SME definition (an enterprise that employs fewer than 250 persons and has an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and /or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million) and having 100% organic production (to be understood as organic products or in conversion);
- Best organic food retailers: An enterprise certified according to Regulation (EU) 2018/848 and having 100% organic certified references (to be understood as organic products or in conversion) on sale (excluding non-food products or food products for which there is no organic availability);
- Best organic restaurant: Having 100% organic (to be understood as organic products or in conversion) certified references in their menu, where possible (in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/848).
All eligible applications were assessed by the EU Organic Awards jury against the following horizontal award criteria:
- Excellence: The awardee must have developed an excellent initiative producing real added value for organic production. This means good results and impact of the project in relation to its initial objectives. Projects shall 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 shall not be "business as usual", but should 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 are better detailed in the dedicated section of the category.
- Sustainability pillars (environmental, social and economic) of the project: Projects shall demonstrate their sustainability and their future as a self-standing initiative or project.
- Transferability and possibility to replicate the project elsewhere in the EU: The project shall demonstrate that it represents good practice in a wider (EU) context and that it inspires or could inspire other places. The project should also show good ways of communicating its goals and results.
The following finalists were selected for the first edition of the awards.
Category 1: Best organic farmer (female) and Best organic farmer (male)
- Katharina Lichtmannsperger (VLG Obervetterbachgut) - Thalgau, Salzburg, Austria
- Sara Vezza (Azienda Agricola Sara Vezza) - Localitá Castelletto, Monforte d’Alba, Piemonte, Italy
- Gianpaolo Mancini (Il Sentiero del Riccio) - Sicignano degli Alburni, Salerno, Campania, Italy
- Tom Kass (Kass-Haff S.àrl) - Rollingen, Luxembourg
Category 2: Best organic region
- Centre-Val de Loire, France
- Comunitat Valenciana, Spain
Category 3: Best organic city
- Municipality of Troyan, Bulgaria
- Stadt Wien, Austria
Category 4: Best organic bio-district
- Association Biovallée - Eurre, France
- Centro Municipal Cultura e Desenvolvimento de Ihanha-a-Nova - Centro region, Portugal
Category 5: Best organic small or medium enterprise (SME)
- Gino Girolomoni Cooperativa Agricola - Isola del Piano, Pesaro and Urbino province, Italy
- Labonca Biohof GmbH - Burgau, Styria, Austria
Category 6: Best organic food retailer
- Ecoveritas SA - Barcelona, Spain
- Bio MERCATO, seiVital GmbH - Kempten, Bavaria, Germany
Category 7: Best organic restaurant
- Trattino - Lyon, France
- Kolariks Freizeitsbetriebe GesmbH Restaurant Luftburg - Prater, Wien, Austria
- 25 March 2022
Launch of the application period for the awards
- 8 June 2022
Deadline for the submission for applications for the awards: 8 June 2022, 23:59:59 CEST.
- September 2022
- 23 September 2022
About the EU organic awards
Increases in organic farming, aquaculture and food contribute greatly to reductions in the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and anti-microbials 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 the achievement of 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, which includes 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 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.
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