Earlier this month eight cities, along with a number of influential agro-ecological organizations, formally signed an agreement in Paris to launch a major new food and farming initiative, the Organic Cities Europe Network.

The eight cities – Paris (France), Nuremberg and Lauf (Germany), Vienna and Seeham (Austria), Correns (France), Porec (Croatia), Växjö (Sweden) – are eachl pioneers in organic food and catering. By coming together to form a formal network they hope to deepen public engagement with organic, expand organic farming, and strengthen organic supply chains at the city level.

The initiative is being backed by the European Commission, MEPs, IFOAM and the United Nations Development Program, along with national certifiers and standard setters in France, Austria and Italy.  Speaking about the new initiative, Célia Blauel, Deputy Mayor of Paris, said:“The objectives of this association in 2018 will be to give a voice to cities and to influence European decisions in favour of organic farming.”

Magnus P Wåhlin, chairman of Sweden’s Green Party in Växjö, says that sharing experiences and learning from others will be a key benefit of participation. “Växjö Municipality has high goals around the food and has come a long way, but here we can find out what others are doing. For example, it can be about reaching our goals about Växjöborn’s consumption and how we can work more with our residents. There we can learn a lot about how others have done.”

The new EU network will be led by an association located in Brussels, with membership open to all European communities, professional networks, associations and research centres. A separate Euro-Mediterranean network is headquartered in Rome.

Picture: The Paris launch of the Organic Cities Europe Network