‘Organic for everyone’ will be key Soil Association strategy aim

Making organic food accessible to everyone and encouraging policy makers to embrace organic’s contribution to sustainable food production will form two key planks of a “refreshed” Soil Association strategy.

The organic charity’s new director, Helen Browning, will unveil the strategy later this month. In a recent blog she stresses that the strategy paper due to be published in a few weeks time will be an “outline only, of the our planned work themes for the next few years”.

Browning adds: “We hope that this will help people understand our work better, and to set the framework for the much more detailed internal plans that we are now fleshing out. In today’s climate, we need to make every penny count, and to be focused on the issues that are likely to yield most benefits. We will need to prioritise, and make sure that we have the right people and skills.”

She says the new Soil Association strategy will focus on four main areas:

• First, to ensure that organic, great quality food is accessible to everyone, not just a privileged few. We want to build on the success of our Food for Life work in schools to find ways of getting a much wider audience engaged with a journey towards a healthier, sustainable diet, with organic as the destination, if not always as the starting point.

• Second, to present organic husbandry as an ’emerging technology’ rather than as just harking back to days gone by, so that while we highly value traditional knowledge, we also embrace appropriate new science.

• Third, to build a constructive relationship with policy makers, and to show just how much the organic movement has to offer, whether we are 4% or 40% of food and farming, so that investment and support will continue to yield dividends for the whole of agriculture and land use policy.

• Finally, underpinning all of this, is the Soil Association’s commitment to support the practitioners who actually make it all happen, pioneering change on the ground; our new strategy will reaffirm this commitment, and point the way to an ongoing strong relationship in which we can learn from each other, and ensure that our advocacy for the sector is based on an excellent understanding of practical realities.