SOFI – Smart Organic Food Initiative
Raising awareness of agriculture’s impact on climate change and initiating further climate actions addressing citizens, consumers, and farmers as well as multipliers and municipalities.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Germany
12/22 - 03/25
Educational institutions, Public sector, Civil society, Consumers, Private sector, Local governments, Associations
According to the latest report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), agriculture is responsible for 26 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, if organic and more biodiverse with no usage of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, agriculture can become climate friendly. In Croatia, only 8.3 per cent of agricultural land is cultivated organically. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the agricultural sector is characterised by low productivity, insufficient technological equipment, dependence on imports, and little use of smart organic agricultural production. The majority of farmers and other actors along the food chain in Southeastern Europe are not aware of alternative, ecologically, and economically feasible ways of producing and consuming organic agricultural products. Though possessing much potential to shift its production towards organic food production, currently organic agriculture has no significant impact on overall agricultural production. Unleashing the potential of organic farming contributes to realising a new approach to climate action.
In accordance with national authorities in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina – such as the Ministries of Agriculture, Economy, Development, Education and Science –, and farmers’ associations, the project carries out educational and networking activities to increase the knowledge on agriculture’s impact on climate change. As achieving climate neutrality is impossible without involving local agriculture, the project addresses producers like small farmers or landowners, consumers, and municipalities in the cities of Krizevci (Croatia) and Travnik (Bosnia and Herzegovina). By providing spaces of dialogue and education, the project helps them to create climate action plans for their cities. This includes research on the impact of local agriculture and the potential of organic agriculture for having a positive impact on climate change and biodiversity. The project team uses these climate action plans to incorporate the topic of smart organic production into local development strategies. Through the method of peer learning, the project’s network – consisting of municipalities, national organic farmers associations, producers, and consumers as well as academics and scholars – aims at increasing awareness and calling for climate action in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also creates a green education programme to be implemented in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which supports the development of climate-friendly agricultural businesses and family farms. To increase public knowledge on the topic and make data accessible, all project-related outputs – green education programmes, educational materials, financial indicators, and videos, among others – are made publicly available. Workshops, conferences, Eco Feria festivals, and the supporting website additionally disseminate information on sustainable food production.