Inspiring youth for a greener future

The IFOAM EU EVS project ‘Organic Agriculture – Inspiring youth for a greener future’ (co-financed by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education and Culture) offers 5 volunteers a one-year learning experience within an international organization, promoting organic food and farming in Europe.

They have written about their experience during this year on their blog


May 28, 2014 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

Become an active Steward for our Soil – Join the Summer of Soil in Sweden!

According to the FAO 90% of our food comes from our soil and 25% of this soil has already been degraded to the level where it can no longer support food production. We are losing 10 million hectares of fertile soil each year – that is 30 soccer fields per minute. Agriculture is responsible for 75% of soil degradation. The FAO, European Commission and others recognise the importance of soil and warn of the negative influence of unsustainable agricultural and soil management practices on the health of our soils and food security.

What is the Summer of Soil?
Inspired by this urgency, Imagineers Sweden AB is organising the Summer of Soil from 7 July – August 9, 2013 in Järna, Sweden. Summer of Soil is a 5-week, multi-disciplinary accelerator program designed to awaken and inspire a collaborative movement to rebuild and maintain living soils. The program will include a series of hands-on soil-related courses, an exhibition of regenerative growing practices and the 5-day Living Soil Forum for bringing conversation to action.

Hands-on Experience: Select your favorite Course
The courses offer a variety of opportunities to explore and experience different aspects and ways of working with soil and food production. In addition there will be keynote events, excursions and film screenings to deepen the understanding and for building capacity to become active stewards of the soil. Current course topics include Cooking a “Diet for a Small Planet”, Preserving, Wild Food Harvesting, Introduction to Organic Agriculture, Introduction to Biodynamic Agriculture, Forest Gardening, Permaculture Introduction & Design Course, Regenerative Agriculture, Seed saving, Ecological Recycling Agriculture, Urban Gardening, Aquaponics & Beekeeping (subject to change).

The exhibition aims to give insight into the amazing substance soil really is, as well as showcasing and illustrating different growing practices which promote soil regeneration in both rural and urban environments. It includes a pavilion with small scale “Do It Yourself” solutions, Ekoleden – an eco-tour around the local sustainable food society, a “2000 square meter project” – showing our food-footprint per person on the planet, and more!

Experience famous Speakers

The Living Soil Forum is a 5 day conference, aiming to accelerate the international collaborative movement to steward our soils by bringing together farmers, retail, government, academia, civil society & youth from 22 July – 26 July in Kulturhuset i Ytterjärna, Sweden. Confirmed contributors are Prof. Håkan Wallander (Lund University), Dr. Regine Andersen (Oikos Norway), CEO Patrick Holden (Sustainable Food Trust), CEO Volkert Engelsman (Eosta BV & IFOAM World Board), CEO Helmy Abouleish (SEKEM), John D. Liu (Environmental Education Media Project), Dr. Vandana Shiva (Navdanya), Dr. Artur Grandstedt (BERAS), CEO Johan Ununger (Saltå Kvarn), Ronald Vargas (FAO) & more.

The Living Soil Forum Objectives

● Inspire concerned consumers and especially youth to become active soil stewards
● Build an inclusive, global soil movement
● Promote soil awareness throughout the entire food system
● Exchange ideas and initiate real projects and campaigns to leverage soil acupuncture points across the globe.
● Showcase inspirational centres of agricultural production, living soil conservation and regeneration.

Summer of Soil is organised in collaboration with local partners Kulturcentrum Järna, Skillebyholm and Kulturforum AB in association with BERAS Implementation, Saltå Kvarn, Nature & More, Global Soil Partnership (FAO), UNCCD, European Commission, NEXUS Foundation, Sustainable Food Trust, Sweden International Agriculture Network Initiative (SIANI), Slow Food Youth Network, SEKEM, CEMUS, Heliopolis University, International Youth Initiative Program (YIP), Navdanya, Soil & More, Eosta BV, Small Planet Institute,
Skilleby Trädgård, Biodynamiska Föreningen, Omställning (Transition) Järna, Permakultur Stjärnsund, Youth Future Project, Young Organics, Bauckhof and a growing list of other partners.

Co-Founder & Communications Manager: Pieter Ploeg
+46 73 78 52136, pieter@summerofsoil.se

Source: Summer of Soil Press release



April 24, 2013 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

Young Organics BioFach Camp 2013: “Connect inspire act – Share your actions for a future organic world!”

 YO action
Inspired by the BioFach key theme “Shared values. Action for a future world” Young Organics warmly invites all young-minded people to the BioFach Camp 2013.

In an innovative discussion forum you are invited to contribute visions, ideas and actions for a (future) organic and fair world. What are the actions you want to take now and in the next years to drive the (Young) Organic Movement forward? What is needed from leaders, companies or organizations to make trade fair and to grow food ecologically responsible? Which impact do you want your consumption to have?

These are only a few of the topics to be discussed in the open space forum during the BioFach camp. Three young keynote speakers will talk about their visions and concrete actions on the topics food waste, young farmers in Europe and sustainable development of the organic food sector. In addition all participants are invited to get active and initiate their own discussion group in one of the time slots during the open space.

The expected outcome of the Camp is to provide a list of focus topics and actions for the young organic movement. These topics can be referred to in other workshops and activities in the next year.

The Young Organics BioFach Camp takes place on Thursday, 14th February from 12:00 to 17:00 in Room Seoul (3rd floor of the congress building). Visitors will find a continuously updated pin board agenda at the congress info desk on the second floor.



12.00- 12:30 Film: Future Farmers in the Spotlight Joris van der Kamp, Juliane Haufe
12:30- 13:00 Opening session:

  • What is Open Space and how does it work?
  • Gathering topics for group discussions
13:00-13.45 Session I
Group Work Track 1 Group Work Tracks 2-3
Keynote topic: Sustainable Development of the Organic Food Sector.Sebastian Huisman, Agricultural domain Juchowo-Radacz-Kadzielnia Your Topics:(come to the camp and discuss your own topic)
14:00-14.45 Session II
Group Work Track 1 Group Work Tracks 2-3
Keynote topic: (Farm) Succession: Young vs. older generation?Joris van der Kamp, Juliane Haufe, Future Farmers in the Spotlight Your Topics:(come to the camp and discuss your own topic)
15:00-15.45 Session III
Group Work Track 1 Group Work Tracks 2-3
Keynote topic: Food Waste.Flavia Castro, Young Organics Your Topics:(come to the camp and discuss your own topic)
16:00 Closing session
Market place: Vote for your favorite topics and actions!

Facilitation: Anna Wissmann, Zoe Heuschkel

 Young Organics Organization Team: Daniel Mühlrath; Jörg Schumacher; Katrin Seidel; Eva Jaci; Tobias Bandel

Share ideas at or;

More information

January 22, 2013 at 10:57 pm Leave a comment

Let´s help Ban Ki-moon find out how to work with and for Young People (organically…)!

After RIO+20, most of us were left with a feeling of frustration. A void declaration, with vague references to goals and to sustainability… But the buzz from the streets and the social media could not be ignored. It is obvious that we need to keep pushing for our voices to be heard, in all possible ways, especially using social media and internet.

Well, apparently the UN has also acknowledged the need to reach out for young people via internet, in order to plan better and more effective ways of working with and for this and the future generations.

A System-Wide Action Plan on Youth is now being developed. This Action Plan will have an impact on how the whole UN system will approach youth in the coming years. It will focus on the five priority areas:

– Employment

– Entrepreneurship

– Education, including education on sexual and reproductive health

– Citizenship and protection of rights

– Political inclusion

So even if the priority areas have already been set, the details for the development of the plan are expected to emerge from a consultation with youth, youth-led organizations and anyone who would like to join. How? Though an online questionnaire! How simple does it sound, right?

Maybe a bit too simple… But it´s worth giving it a try and using it as tool to voice our concerns as Young Organics!

It took me about 20 minutes to go through the questionnaire. It´s pretty straight forward and there is also room for adding input whenever you feel that the options provided do not correspond to your answer.

For example, I felt that a link with food security and sustainable food production/consumption was missing overall (duh!). So I added some detailed thoughts on how involving young people on policy development and decision making  for Food Security is fundamental. I also added a few things about recognizing the importance of vocational and informal education, involving more young people in food production and rewarding professional choices that contribute to sustainable food production and consumption…

You can contribute to the System Wide Action Plan on Youth Survey. Check the links below and share your thoughts with Ban ki-moon!







August 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment

Young Organics Fourth Pioneer Dialogues held at Lebensbaum

Young Organics visited the headquarters of the organic company, Lebensbaurn, in Diepholz, Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) for their fourth Organic Pioneers Dialogue.

On July  14, Lebensbaum CEO Ulrich Walter and his daughter, Maren, who works in the communications department, opened the company’s doors to Young Organics and showed how the family-run company has achieved strong growth while maintaining the authenticity and integrity of a small family enterprise.
“The company’s values are core to our work, I breathe the values with everything I do.” said Maren when asked how the values underlining Lebensbaum’s strategy and activities are implemented.
During a tour through the production facilities, visitors were surrounded by the sweet smell of the many spices packed and blended there. The visitors discussed how supply chains are monitored and logistics managed, in addition to witnessing impressive technologies, including an earth pump that provides the geo-thermal heating for the low energy building.
“We are convinced that a long-term relationship between a company and the producer is the only sustainable way to do business. Quality of the product is not entirely the responsibility of the producer, but as much our responsibility, so we will always work together to find ways to improve quality or productivity. Since we started we have never ended a relationship with a producer” Ulrich Walter said.
In the afternoon activists from a local environmental NGO, Naturschutzring Dümmer e.V.,  joined the team from Young Organics and kicked off a long-term project with Lebensbaum to count all species on company premises. For some hours the group collected insects that were identified, photographed and released; the group also identified trees and plants, finding 91 species overall, an impressive variety. An attempt to catch one of the many small fish in the pond behind the house failed.
In the evening all enjoyed the amazing hospitality of Lebensbaum’s corporate communications officer Jan Kühn’s parents, who live in a beautifully restored classic Northern German farmhouse. The house is surrounded by a garden with a vegetable patch, outdoor shower, lemon trees and a trampoline. We enjoyed a performance of Japanese dance accompanied by a french Cello player in the old barn and a BBQ organized with beautiful organic food and drinks provided by Lebensbaum.

July 26, 2012 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Frustration in the air by Rio+20 Youth

The second day of Rio+20 is about to finish, with youth demanding their voices to be heard. There is widespread frustration in the air, as the negotiating text on The Future We Want fails to set the base for the concrete actions it has promised. Youth, joined by NGO and indigenous people representatives have been protesting for at least 3 hours this afternoon, while world leaders were discussing in the Plenary.

Watch Cam Fenton from the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition shaming world leaders and 11-year-old Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Sillamon nation calling on the Earth Revolution.

June 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

David Suzuki: why use nuclear power to boil water?

There is a person that has long pioneered the idea that solutions are in our nature. And he does great in explaining the complexities of the natural world in a compelling, easily understood way. I was around in the talk of Dr. David Suzuki from the David Suzuki Foundation at Rio+20. In this short video, Dr. Suzuki makes a point why nuclear energy is a non-sense.

For more than 30 years, David Suzuki has been the voice for nature in Canada. Born in Vancouver, he was sent to a Japanese internment camp with his family at the age of six, during the Second World War. After the war, Suzuki moved to Ontario, growing up with a passion for nature. This led him to earn a PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago. Next, he moved back to Canada and started teaching at the University of British Columbia. He also started appearing on television to gain public support for science. By 1971, he had his own show right here. He’s also authored 43 books, with his latest one called “David Suzuki’s Green Guide”, a “how-to” guide to being a green citizen.

Watch the video here.

June 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm Leave a comment

Hans Herren: In Agriculture, Business as usual is not an option

I met with Dr. Hans Herren at Rio+20, to talk about IAASTD and the way forward. The 1995 World Food Prize Winner didn’t mince his words. “It will take more than just words to change the system”, he told me. According to him, food consumption is the key towards the effective transformation of food production and distribution.

How? By pricing food according to its true cost and value, and by informing consumers of what’s in the food they buy through correct labeling. In other words: ending subsidies to commodity crops, factoring the environmental, social and public health costs of industrial food production into the price tag of food items and labeling GMOs are the name of the game! Watch the video here.

June 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

Delegates at Rio+20 Have Reached an Agreement

Negotiators and delegates at Rio+20 have reached an agreement and released the final document which is to be approved by world leaders starting 20th June 2012. The document calls for “urgent action with regards to sustainable production and consumption.” Nonetheless, no, specific details or time frame has been given for the implementation of this agreement.

With regards to agriculture, the document has recognized the role of traditional sustainable agriculture practices including traditional seed systems for local communities as well as the role of women in the advancement of sustainable agriculture. In this regard, if the agreement is successfully implemented, the world will have made a giant step towards ecological and social intensification on agriculture.

The delegates have also recommended that action be taken, to improve agricultural research, extension, training and education with an aim to improve productivity and sustainability.  Let’s hope that the momentum of the draft of the paper will still be present in some weeks! and that it will reach politicians especially in Europe and the US who have not even signed the IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development).Want to learn more about the agreement? Go to

June 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm Leave a comment

Patrick Holden: United in Diversity

Patrick Holden is the founder of the Sustainable Food Trust and has been Director of the Soil Association in the UK for 10 years. In this interview, he brings news from Rio+20 and gives his insight on the necessary transitions in the World’s food systems. “Rio has born no simple solutions but it is apparent that the change is in our hands, let’s work from the ground up” he says, while reflecting on the history, the present and a potential future for the food movement.

Watch the video here.

June 20, 2012 at 8:04 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts