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EDITOR'S NOTE - 11th January 2015: In the original posting of this article we made some mistakes, amended in the current version.
It's already the most developed country in the world with regard to the trade of organic products, but that's not enough for Denmark: the Danish government has come up with a plan - of more than 53 million euros only in 2015 - to double the country's organically cultivated areas by 2020.
Organic farming in Denmark is already ahead of its time: the national organic brand will celebrate its 25th anniversary, and 97% of citizens know its meaning. This is a record, as is the fact that 8% of organic products that make up the country's total food expenditure. This is in addition to the fact that the export of Danish organic products has increased by 200% since 2007.
A 67-POINT DOCUMENT TO GET A RECORD
The government is working on two different fronts: one is give a boost to turn traditional farmland into organic, while the other is to stimulate increased demand for organic products. Regarding the former, the aim is to double the agricultural land cultivated with organic methods by 2020 (compared to 2007), as the 67-point document explains, drafted by Økologiplan Danmark, the Organic Action Plan for Denmark. Not only will land belonging to the government be cultivated using organic and biodynamic methods, but the government will support and finance those working and investing in this sector, to develop new technologies and ideas that help promote growth. And we're not just talking about fruits and vegetables, but also livestock - particularly pigs. Let's move on to the second aspect: promotion. Who will lead the change? Once again the public authorities, naturally. The ministry, regions and cities have joined forces, and all institutions must lead by example: the first organic target is 60% of food served to the public. Schools - starting from nursery schools - as well as hospitals and non-privatized cafeterias must respect it. National public institutions serve approximately 800,000 meals a day, that will be increasingly "green".
ENVIRONMENT AND EDUCATION: NOT JUST A MATTER OF FOOD
Though the Økologiplan Danmark initiative is led with force by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, other departments have lined up with enthusiasm: the Defense department has said that it will move to adjust the 1.1 million kilograms of food each year served at bases and in the other related cafeterias (though in the western part of the country, 40% of the food that the military eats is already organic). The Ministry of the Environment is committed to converting many of the areas that it manages into organic farming, which means working proactively to seek out organic producers who will rent land, making it easier for farmers and ranchers to make the transition to organic - and this means, among the other measures, increasing the duration of leases for land, and making the approval procedures of stables and special breeding systems, etc. more streamlined. The Ministry of Education is definitely playing its part, and will primarily act in schools, but also by addressing farming institutions and professional farmers associations. Children and teens will learn about the importance of organic farming in school, and the reform of the educational system looks to not only invigorate nutrition-based education, with specific courses dedicated to food as well as organic farming, which be will studied in science classes. A whole country and all of its institutions are marching together to build an organic future.