The biodynamic agricultural movement is part of the large organic family that is represented by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) with which it shares a common goal: caring for the earth in order to care for human beings. Every three years IFOAM organises a large Organic World Congress, each time in a different country. Four years ago a delegation of over 60 biodynamic farmers from across the globe took an active part with many contributions at the World Congress in Dehli, India. This was an unforgettable experience for the participants! This year IFOAM returned to its roots and organised the World Congress from 6 to 10 September in Rennes in Brittany. It was in France in 1972 that a few pioneers from five countries decided to band together to create what, fifty years later, has become a federation of around 800 associations representing the entire organic sector, from production via trade to certification, in over 100 countries.
The organisation of this congress by IFOAM was a great challenge for France, particularly due to the difficulties caused by the pandemic. But it also helped to strengthen the French organic movement: we become stronger through shared efforts.
The situation unfortunately meant that, of the 1,800 participants, only 400 were able to be present physically while the remainder took part online to listen to over 450 very diverse contributions in six different fora (science, culture and education, farmers and advisers, supply, stakeholders, and leadership).
A congress of this type is always an opportunity to take the pulse of the organic movement and to recognise the challenges and ideas for the future. While, thanks to the commitment of the Indian organic movement, the 2018 congress in Dehli granted farmers an important place with a large forum, the congress in Rennes went a step further with a culture and education forum which enabled an exchange of views and discussion about the roots of the organic movement and its cultural, philosophical and spiritual values. The tagline of the congress "From its roots, organic inspires life" supported this aspiration. The biodynamic movement was well represented in the different fora with numerous contributions.
If the organic movement wants to become a powerful lever for respect for living organisms and the survival of humanity and our planet, it needs to be based on the power of civil society, particularly on the farmers of the world and the whole sector, and increasingly also the consumers. This is necessary in order to become a true alliance for life that, given the environmental and climate crisis, enables an acceleration of the essential transformation. The biodynamic movement wishes to make its contribution to this.
The next IFOAM congress will take place in 2024 in Tunisia, a country that belongs to a part of the world that is under extreme threat from climate change, in particular through extreme heat and drought.