Organic Food


Organic agriculture is considered a forerunner to a sustainable food system. Organic farmers use only natural substances and comply with natural processes when they produce food. Consequently, they preserve ecological balances, enhance soil fertility and carbon sequestration, and maintain biodiversity, as well as water quality.

They are also required to meet certain animal welfare standards; the use of antibiotics is heavily regulated, and the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) is forbidden. There is even evidence that organic products may have health benefits compared to non-organic products. The European Commission's Farm to Fork Strategy, which is part of the European Green Deal, prioritises the development of organic farming. The plan is for organic land to account for 25% of EU agricultural land by 2030. To boost the consumer demand for organic food, the EU’s Organic Action Plan aims to promote organic canteens and increase the use of green public procurement as well as reinforce organic school food schemes.

Some of the tools presented here comprise new procurement criteria alongside explorative and supportive measures for the organic market and its farmers. Others target caterers by providing organic labelling and guidance on how to document organic food shares. Most of the tools recommend training for kitchen professionals, education in schools, and raising awareness of the benefits of organic food in organisations as inspiration as well as for contextually adapted implementation.

Further Information

Tools in the Organic Food Gateway

Diet for a Green Planet is a five criteria concept with a system perspective that offers framework and tested tools to support sustainable meals.

How can organic food be procured when there is no well-developed organic food supply chain? This tool can help by showing how to map local organic farmers and other organic producers.

Caterers planning to use EU or national eco-labels to promote their organic meals have to ensure that they contain a high share of organic ingredients (at least 95%), leaving no room for a transition phase. Learn how to establish a national or local eco-label specifically for caterers, who may use differing amounts of organic food in their meals.

To promote the benefits and increase the acceptability of organic food among different stakeholder groups in public institutions, lectures by scientists or other experts can be organised by the public administration.

The upskilling of kitchen professionals may be necessary to help increase the number of plant-based meals in public institutions. This tool provides an approach for organising such training.

This tool provides schools and municipalities options for incorporating organic food criteria into the procurement of catering services.

This tool provides ideas for generic marketing materials to promote organic labels or certificates for public catering facilities and restaurants. This should help raise customer awareness and motivate other caterers to modify their menus and apply for the label/ certificate.

This tool helps to make regional organic agriculture more visible for young people and offers strategies to get more regional organic food onto their plates. It encourages closer links to regional organic farmers, the provision of educational material, and changes in the menu.

This tool provides a framework for setting up a school garden and it into the curriculum, providing a highly practical approach to sustainable food education.

The use of organic food may be minimal or even non-existent in public catering facilities. This tool suggests how public meal providers can start to use organic food and become supporters of this market.

How can we get everyone in a public institution on board for more healthy food and sustainable diets? One way is to provide a training program for all interested employees that includes cooking exercises, workshops and lectures.

This tool aims at including criteria for sustainably produced palm oil in public procurement.

Set measurable goals on products your organisation wishes to decrease and increase and keep track of your purchases of specific food items.

Do you want to help ensure high-quality, organic, fresh, regional, seasonal, tasty, and yet economical public meals? This tool provides a concept for a training and networking program for kitchen professionals in public catering facilities.

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