From 13 to 16 February 2019, BIOFACH will bring the international organic community together for the 30th time to kick off the new year of organic trade shows. At the next round of the leading international fair for organic food, the sector will be putting the spotlight on the connection between organic food and health at the BIOFACH Congress. As one of its four principles, the international organic movement among ecology, justice and care, has embedded health as fundamental to its economic activity. A holistic organic system is beneficial to fertile soil, clean water and healthy animals and plants. And it therefore favours an environment in which people can live more healthily. In addition, organic farms deliver products that are good for human health. When discussing organic food and health in the sense of an extended concept of health, the debate needs to focus on aspects like biodiversity, soil fertility, clean water, strong plants, animal welfare and nutritional diets.
The way farmers do business and the way foodstuffs are produced will determine whether the ecological limits of our planet will be respected or whether ecosystems will be damaged for our generation and subsequent generations. Currently, the health of our ecosystems is at risk due to harmful practices in agriculture and food production, which in turn jeopardise human health. People fall ill due to hunger if not enough food is available. And more and more people who actually can get enough calories are eating unhealthily. Harmful nutritional choices are leading to an increasing number of diet-related illnesses, well-being is diminished and health costs are exploding.
“Organic agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal and human as one and indivisible.” This is one of the four fundamental principles of the global organic agriculture movement, and the basis on which organic practitioners operate. A system of field to plate, which benefits future generations and is healthy for both the environment and human beings, is about strengthening health through a healthy System.
Healthy eco systems as the basis for good, healthy food
The organic system can make an important contribution to health at many levels: In agriculture, where it relies on closed systems and keeps pollutants away from people and nature. In processing, where harmful additives are taboo and ecological raw materials are gently processed to produce high-quality foodstuffs. And at the level of consumption, because people who eat organic food are not only more likely to have a smaller ecological footprint, they also prefer freshly prepared food to convenience products and eat less meat. Organic food encourages the healthy diets recommended by nutritionists. And organic food ensures healthy eco systems that continually deliver good and healthy food, and in which people can live healthily.
Focus on the connection between agriculture, processing, nutrition and health
As part of the BIOFACH Congress 2019 the connection between agriculture, processing, nutrition and health will be put under the spotlight. The idea is to show where the organic movement is at, what potential it has for public health, and what development tasks lie ahead of the entire food sector and the organic segment in particular, and also to explore the contribution made by organic food to more sustainable diets.
Spotlight topics within main congress theme
Every year, the main congress theme is determined by the German Federation of Organic Food Producers (BÖLW) as national supporting organisation, along with international patron IFOAM – Organics International and the fair organisers. This time round, the spotlight topics to be discussed within the main theme include:
- Comprehensive view of health: What do agriculture and the food industry have to do with public health?
- Nutrition – not focused enough by health policy. What consequences need to be drawn from the prominent role played by diet-related illnesses?
- Organic food and health: Healthy soil – healthy human – what's the connection?
- Best Practice: How is organic food changing eating habits, for example in the home and in the catering industry?
- How can policymakers use the organic system to reduce health costs and environmental damage?
- What influence do cultivation and processing methods have on the health quality of foods?