We pushed for ‘organic’ to be included in the government’s new Agricultural Bill - supporting those of you who wrote to your MPs urging them to recognise the benefits of sustainable, local and healthy food systems. We eagerly await the outcome of these crucial amendments.
We also lobbied and cajoled DEFRA - representing our members at the Organic Roundtable - a collection of organic organisations gathered to produce an organic ‘Action Plan’. Although progress has not been as immediate as hoped, DEFRA are now considering the perspective of the non-commercial grower; they are starting to listen to us.
We continue to have a presence amid government groups such as the Health and Safety Executive Pesticides Forum - where our remit is to look at pesticide usage amongst gardeners. Here, we are often a lone organic voice challenging the chemical pesticide producers, horticultural trades and government chemists. Although it is not always an easy task, we are proud to advocate organic, sustainable methods.
Without our members’ support, however, none of these achievements would have been possible. Campaigning takes a lot of time and money. The simple cost of a train fare and conference registration can add up to several hundred pounds - stretching our limited campaigning funds.
We rely on your generosity to enable us to influence those who shape the policies that affect our natural environment.
Next year, as the UK prepares to formally leave the EU, there are real concerns about trading with countries that do not share the EU’s stringent organic certification requirements.
It is essential that we take a more active role in highlighting the dangers of the ubiquitous use of pesticides, whilst suggesting practical alternatives and advice.
We need to create further resources to enable gardeners of all abilities to tend to their land organically. We must continue to show the benefits of the organic approach to all ages through community partnerships and schools programmes.
Your contributions, no matter how small, will help us achieve these goals. In return, we promise to further the organic campaign; to stand up for the small-scale grower, influence the decision-makers and make YOUR voice heard.
Thank you for being part of the positive action that is changing the UK’s growing environment into one that is more sustainable, chemical-free and healthy.
Your support is invaluable and more important than ever.