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Kiwi elected to IFOAM

Yellow flowers, Kaikoura Range
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Former NZ Soil & Health Association president Brendan Hoare, who was co-convenor of the steering committee for New Zealand's new organic umbrella group, has been elected to the world organic federation IFOAM. 


Mr Hoare, as the Oceana/Pacific nominee, was elected in the first round of voting from among 19 candidates to stand on the 10-member board (including four standing members) of the General Assembly of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). 


“It's great to be part of a global movement that shares similar ideals,” said Mr Hoare.


“With a mission of leading, uniting and assisting the organic movement in its full diversity and a goal of the worldwide adoption of ecologically sound systems based on the principles of organic agriculture, there is a lot of work to do.  I believe the Oceania / Pacific region has a lot to offer.”


The Oceana/Pacific region includes the largest (7.5 million ha) and some of the smallest certified producers who share IFOAM’s vision of making the world organic, Mr Hoare said.


"With this diversity, it is a great to be a part of the strategic agriculture revolution. I look forward to participating fully.”


800 Members in 100 countries 

With nearly 800 global members in 100 countries, and facilitating much of the world's multi billion dollar growth, IFOAM is a democratic organization with aims and activities such as provision of authoritative information, knowledge exchange, input into international policy forums, establishing and maintaining  international standards and guarantee systems and building a common agenda for all stakeholders in the organic sector, including producers, farm workers, consumers, the food industry, trade and society at large.


Besides coming to grips with the new Board role, he would also have the role of facilitating clear communication within the Oceania Pacific region, he said.


New Zealand, Australia & Smaller Nations
Both New Zealand and Australia have recognized national organic strategies and organizations to manage communication, but smaller nations throughout the Pacific, while progressing, have yet to get to that point, he said.


"It is not a race though, and prime importance is on getting it right and for everyone to have the courage to make the strategies work.”


IFOAM Influence
A key intent is for the Oceania / Pacific region to make use of  IFOAM’s voice at the regional and national level where appropriate, he said.


With the region’s governments lagging behind the world in their assistance for the sustained development of organics, IFOAM can provide clear evidence and successful support mechanisms adopted in other countries across the globe, that can be applied or adapted here.


Mr Hoare has been committed to organic agriculture for 23 years, the last seven of which he served as Soil and Health Association president, BioGro director and a founder/chair of the Organic Federation of Aotearoa New Zealand, which was the steering committee for the new umbrella group, Organic Aotearoa NZ (OANZ).


A National Organic Sector Board of New Zealand chair, he is also team leader for the Pacific-focused Journal of Organic Systems, audits a national participatory guarantee program and serves as Chair of the ‘econation2020 Trust’.


He is also employed as a senior academic in Sustainable Production Systems at Unitec New Zealand and is the Director of the Unitec Hortecology Sanctuary/ Mahi Whenua, a certified organic demonstration and research facility.

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