The European Commission has unveiled the winners of the first ever EU Organic Awards, awarding Seeham the prize of Best Organic City.
Seeham, located in the northwest of Austria, is a founding member of Organic Cities Network Europe. Public canteens in the city, kindergartens and schools cook and serve 100% organic food. There is also intensive collaboration with tourism infrastructure, bringing organics to gastronomy and hotels. At a ceremony on 23 September 2022, Mayor Peter Altendorfer received the award from MEP Simone Schmiedtbauer.
Presenting the prizes at the award ceremony, EU Commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski said: “I have been impressed by each and every one of the stories behind the winners. These are incredibly committed people, organisations and institutions, who have promoted organic production long before it became popular, often in very difficult circumstances. They come from all over the EU, showing that organics is alive everywhere, and that organic excellence can be found everywhere. In this sense, they give me much hope for the further development of organic production and the benefits it can bring for our farmers, rural communities, and society as a whole.”
The EU organic awards acknowledge different actors along the organic value chain that have developed an innovative, sustainable and inspiring project resulting in real added-value for organic production and consumption. They 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, with the involvement of the European Parliament and of the Council in the jury for the awards. The winners in the other categories were:
- Best female farmer: Ms Nazaret Mateos Álvarez in Spain
- Best male organic farmer: Mr David Pejić in Croatia
- Best organic region: Occitane in France
- Best organic bio-district: Associazione Bio-Distretto Cilento in Italy
- Best organic SME: The Goodvenience.bio in Germany
- Best organic retailer: La ferme à l’arbre de Liège in Belgium
- Best organic restaurant: Lilla Bjers in Sweden
The action plan for organic production in the EU sets out the way forward to achieve the target of 25% of EU agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 and a significant increase in organic aquaculture. More organic production means less use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and anti-microbials and positive effects on our climate, the environment, soil, water, biodiversity and animal welfare, all key objectives of the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and the Biodiversity strategy.