The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) is a Swiss foundation that makes grants to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
The organic farming sector is currently stagnating and even shrinking in Poland due to a number of factors: lack of long-term R&D programmes, bureaucratic barriers, inadequate advisory bodies to improve production, inadequate use of subsidies by funding bodies, lack of strong representative and lobbying organisations, lack of stakeholder dialogue, lack of organic seeds and lack of promotion and information on the sector and its products to Polish consumers.
Several formal organisations and informal groups are already engaged in networking, advocacy and campaigning for organic farming, organic education, community supported agriculture and consumer cooperatives. These groups are working to influence policymakers to make key changes for the survival and development of a strong, united and sustainable organic sector.
However, there is currently no umbrella organisation that can bring these stakeholders together and act as a force-multiplier to engage effectively with policymakers and ensure that the interests of the organic farming sector are considered. Existing advocacy and campaigning organisations have limited human and financial resources for advocacy and networking as their primary source of income is their farm or enterprise. The European Common Agricultural Policy has not been the organisations’ main focus, primarily because they do not feel they have any political influence on the shaping of this policy. The organisations recognise the importance of CAP reform and agree on the need to strengthen their voice to influence policy makers and political decisions. The Coalition that will be established through this project will deliver this.
Long-term goal: Establish a Coalition of organisations focused on promoting food sovereignty through sustainable farming production and supply (with a progressive transition from industrial farming to agroecology and other sustainable agriculture practices) and lobbying reforms in the Common Agricultural Policy in this direction.
We plan to create a Polish branch of the “Good Food, Good Farming” movement, which we hope will become a strong and lasting movement. We intend to draw on the potential of the existing organisations and use their knowledge and materials. Over the coming months, in a series of workshops, the initial partners will work to create the Coalition, preparing its name and manifesto as well as campaigning and advocacy strategy. These organisations will use their contacts and invite a variety of local actors like farmers and their organisations, networks of food sovereignty, cooperatives, local food movements, environmental organisations, consumer organisations, actors of nonformal education, to shape the coalition. We plan to work closely with other European organisations united in the Good Food Good Farming Coalitions, building on their expertise and analysis. We will translate many of the texts, but also contribute to the materials, to provide information on the Polish context.
The partners will present and launch the Coalition during the “Good Food, Good Farming, European Day of Action” using their own funding. We plan to invite national decision makers and election candidates to these events, and try to work with policy makers throughout the year.
Short term goal: In the coming year we will lay the foundations for the Coalition by:
1. Recruiting the Coordinator and establishing an initial Core Working Group (CWG) involving representatives of the initial partner organisations and independent experts recruited in outreach.
2. Deciding on the Coalition’s name, manifesto, advocacy and communication strategy through a series of working meetings and workshops involving the CWG and other actors recruited in outreach, using documents produced by the same kind of platforms in other countries.
3. Establishing contact with all potential partners and inviting them to the Coalition.
4. Starting a promotion and information campaign, using existing materials from partner organisations. Elaborate and translate materials informing about the Polish and EU Coalitions.
5. Launch the Coalition during an event organised for the Polish “Good Food, Good Farming” European Days of Action.