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Soil, Soul and Society - Not without Strong Women! The SDGs, Organic and Regenerative Agriculture

The panel discussion of these amazing women happened on the second day of the 5th World Organic Forum. Speaking Vandana Shiva, Founder of Navdanya, Christine von Weizsäcker, President of the European Network Ecoropa, Janet Maro, Co-Founder and CEO of SAT and Ana Digòn, President of Asociación de Agricultura Regenerativa in Spain. These ambassadors of the organic, regenerative, sustainable movement, gave their experience and knowledge to the audience at the World Organic Forum in Kirchberg.

The panel discussion was opened by Janet Maro introducing SAT (video https://youtu.be/1Q0-8a2nrPM). Followed by Ana Digón, Co-founder and Coordinator Regenerative Agriculture Association Iberia who said the time is mature to connect and join forces. She continued: "There have been so many decades of work done by so many wonderful people. We are talking about regenerative agriculture in Iberia because we feel that we need life back, we want to bring life back to the soil, back to the community, back to farmers` lives.


Vandana inspires people by talking about her ideas of SOIL - SOUL - SOCIETY

The regular visits and seminars of Vandana at Mallorca caused an amazing impact on Iberia.

While the regenerative movement gained power unfortunately the word organic lost power because it is not talking enough about life, explained Ana. Therefore she was very glad to hear at the WOF about the definition of "organic" and that it includes soil, plants, animals, humans and planet, all in one. "That´s it! You know, simple, straight", Ana added.


The meaning of Iberia as a role model

Iberia has so many climatical regions: from lush green to exploited agri-industrial areas to deserts and areas suffering from desertification. "Many masters of regenerative agriculture have come to Spain over the years to train us because the Iberian peninsula is a kind of agricultural hotspot. We have to stop desertification and recover and regenerate the soil. After 10 years of work we can say, yes, it works! " Ana showed examples of regenerative managed and extractive used land by agri-industry. "That´s what the Regenerative Movement has done all these years: to train, to connect, to participate in science, to build communities and by now we are mapping the regenerative areas and farmers in Spain and we are working on a standard for regenerative agriculture.

Video by Karin BiOReporterInternational


Let´s turn from extractive to cognostic knowledge.

Christine von Weizsäcker said: Do not only talk about traditional or indigenous knowledge, believe also in innovation and scientific experience and use it. It is good not to be called back-warded. A lot of knowledge is embodied in practical work, too.

Christine von Weizsäcker explained the difference between extractive and cognostic knowledge: extractive knowledge like Vandana explained earlier is extracted from many common resources and nothing given back meanwhile cognostic knowledge is shared with people, plants, soil, animals and the planet. We need to move from extractive to cognostic knowledge. SDGs shouldn´t be the only master plan but localizing and harmonizing SDGs from the bottom up is the work to be done by each of us.



The audience and panel at Schloß Kirchberg. Photo by FilmKrug


Vandana explained that it was right what Christine von Weizsäcker said about the SDGs - it is necessary to create a practical plan and define each single SDG goal in a concrete way, e.g. what means "no poverty" and so on.

A second argument is that we definitely need a new definition and system of economy and economics, the traditional economy is about extraction - but the ecological and regeneration movement are creating more food and more livelihoods, we help rural areas etc. She added that it is a very important moment to fight the existing criminal system extracting our planet and society, committing ecocide and causing desertification.


Vandana Shiva, photo by Karin Heinze


SDGs are an unfinished project but the best what we have and we have to work with it

Christine von Weizsäcker informed that it was finally prevented that all the good biodiversity goals of the Rio Convention from 1992 were not re-confirmed it would have been lost in favour of some greenwashing commitments. But there is a renaissance of genetic engineering methods that are destroying the Rio goals if not avoided.

Rudolf Bühler said that the SDGs are the best international concept that we had for decades and that localizing for him means adapting the SDG goals to the needs of the organic farmers.

Christine von Weizsäcker agreed with Mr Bühler that the SDGs are the best we have and "we have to do with it" but we in fact need a bottom-up harmonisation by localization.



Rudolf Bühler, Photo by FilmKrug

Finally, Janet Maro explained: For me localizing means going from the global level to the country level to the district level to the farmers' level. "But I´m afraid that we will not achieve the goals as we talk too much and don´t start doing it!

Vandana Shiva added that we have to reclaim the "authentic meaning of real sustainability as the regeneration of life".


Film documentation of the World Organic Forum 2022 by FilmKrug


Author: Karin Heinze, BiO Reporter International









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