Youth and organic agriculture: making an impact fo..
Youth and organic agriculture: making an impact for a more sustainable Europe
Start date: Jan 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2016
The project "Youth and organic agriculture: making an impact for a more sustainable Europe" brought young people closer to sustainable&organic agriculture; encouraged them to reflect on the importance of sustainable&environmentally friendly food production as part of an active EU citizenship, a contribution to various environmental challenges and a contribution to a healthy lifestyle. We furthermore demonstrated to young people how important it is to get actively involved in important EU policies, be it at national or European level. Four volunteers from different EU countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Czech Republic) interested in agriculture and environmental issues joined the office of IFOAM EU (the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) in Brussels from May 2015 for one year in order to learn more about sustainable agriculture and food production. Starting from IFOAM EU core issues (sustainable food and farming, climate change, resource efficiency, protection of biodiversity), volunteers could further develop their major interests and concerns in the specific working area of IFOAM EU that they chose and where they were able to develop and be responsible for their own project. To complement their learning experience, a set of interactive training courses about IFOAM EU's working areas and the most important EU policies relevant for the field of organic/sustainable agriculture, seminars, conferences and study visits to European Institutions were organised. A stay of 1 week at an organic farm in Belgium was scheduled for summer 2015, where volunteers got to know the practical side of organic agriculture by being actively involved in farm work.
Furthermore, the volunteers worked together in setting up a seminar session for young people (from the EVS network and beyond) focusing on the topic of climate change and agriculture, focusing on causes and effects of climate change, counter measures and the process of political negotiations. The volunteers organised the whole session themselves and took responsibility for all the steps of the preparation, implementation and possible follow-up with IFOAM EU staff supervising and helping them whenever needed.
The combination of these activities enabled the volunteers to gain a broader overview of the agricultural movement, enhancing at the same time their language and practical skills and their personal awareness of the European Institutions’ role. The volunteers were part of a young, multicultural team, and supported by experienced office staff. Volunteers received both individual and team tasks, with a constant supervision, assistance and final evaluation. As a group of four volunteers, they learned how to work together synchronizing their synergies but also work on an individual basis.
In the long run, we hope that the volunteers will find the knowledge and skills gained during their stay at IFOAM EU useful for their future and might get engaged in a movement for sustainable agriculture or an environmental movement and can raise awareness amongst more young people about the importance of these issues. We also expect that both through the promotion of the project through IFOAM EU, the sending organisations and the volunteers, more young people are interested in joining the EVS programme and new possibilities of cooperation arise for the organisations involved in the project.
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