From 12 – 15 February 2020, the entire international organic food and natural and organic cosmetics sector will gather once again in Nuremberg for BIOFACH, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food and VIVANESS, the international Trade Fair for Natural and Organic Cosmetics. Dr Jane Goodall, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE), primate researcher and UN Messenger of Peace will open the next round of the biggest industry gathering for the international organic food and natural and organic cosmetics sector on 12 February 2020. Ahead of the combined exhibition, we spoke with her about her commitment, her goals, and what needs to be done for the planet now.
You dedicate your entire energy to the protection of nature and the environment and support projects ranging from biodiversity, reforestation and restoring natural habitats… Would you please describe your central and most important goal for the global community of organic food assembled at BIOFACH?
I believe the most important goals for agriculture today are, to move away from modern industrial farming, monocultures, intensive animal farming and GMOs and to work with permaculture methods, organic and small family farming and other ways of working WITH and not AGAINST nature’s way; To restore the biology of soils that have been damaged by years of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides; To restore some of the biodiversity lost through industrial farming, create habitats for pollinating animals and so on; And to move the world into a plant based diet.
This year’s motto and central focus of BIOFACH is “Organic delivers!” For example, regarding biodiversity and species protection, organic delivers positively… What is your central message to the organic food industry?
At BIOFACH, I shall be discussing in more detail some of the methods mentioned and the reasons why we need to move towards organic food grown in a sustainable way.
From your point of view, what are the most important steps needed to secure biodiversity and the survival of the species on our planet and what can be done to improve the relations between humans and nature.
As mentioned in question one, it is most important to abandon industrial farming and to heal the land that we have so abused with agricultural chemicals. We need to restore the biodiversity that creates a healthy environment and this cannot be done while we continue to spread poison on the fields. We must plant trees and save and restore forests and woodlands and peatlands.
In order to be successful in this endeavour we need a new mindset, and it is important to work with youth. The JGI Roots & Shoots movement for young people of all ages, preschool through university, is present in 60 countries – of course including Germany. Very many of the perhaps 150,000 groups are choosing to grow organic vegetables in their school gardens, to create butterfly gardens. To learn about nature – for if you do not understand you do not care, if you do not care you will not help – and we all need to do our share to undo the harms that we have inflicted. We need the natural world, we rely on it for clean air and water – we need it not only for saving wildlife, but for our own future as a species.
It is probably most important that everyone understands that each one of us makes an impact every day – and those of us lucky enough not to be living in poverty have a choice. We can ask, when we buy something, if its production harmed the environment, involved cruelty to animals, or child slave labour. We must alleviate poverty, for if you are really poor you cut down the last tree, fish the last fish – because you HAVE to, in order to survive. And we must each try to live more sustainably, leave as small an environmental footprint as we can. And we must face up to human population growth and try to help people choose to have small families. Before it is too late.
Hear Dr Jane Goodall, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) at the official opening of the combined trade fair:
12 February 2020, 13:00, Exhibition Centre NCC Ost, Level 3, Room Tokyo.