International Forum on Innovating Alternative Markets towards Food Security and food Sovereignty
Message from the International Forum organizing team
International Forum on Innovating Alternative Markets towards Food Security and
Bangkok, 21 May 2013
Dear all resource persons, participants and sponsors,
The International Forum on Innovating Alternative Markets was held, by now, more than a week ago in Bangkok, 7-12 May 2013. We still would like to thank you all sincerely for your determination to travel from far or break away from work nearby and join the process of exchanging experiences on “the alternative food movement” in Asia, and exploring collaboration towards the future.
In particular we would like to thank our sponsors; and all staff and volunteers who helped to make the event a success. Sponsors included CCFD-Terre Solidaire (France), Chula Global Network, the Indian Studies Centre of Chulalongkorn University, the Green Market Network, the Organic Agriculture Innovation Network (OAIN), as well as Iona Foundation and Nature and More, both from the Netherlands.
For us, enabling exchanges between the global IFOAM PGS Committee, URGENCI Asia, La Via Campesina South and East Asia, the Asia Pacific Network on Food Sovereignty (APNFS) and the Towards Organic Asia Steering Committee – with our partners from the Mekong region + Bhutan, all together 13 Asian countries and 10 outside Asia – plus a very interesting diversity of participants including representatives of the Asian Development Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific), was a challenging and unique co-operative experience. It turned out to be an important opportunity for us to strengthen our engagement with “the alternative food movement” in Asia in a global context, mutually learn more on Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS), and on empowering small-scale organic farmers’ interaction with mindful consumers.
In light of the 40th anniversary of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) last year, it was good to re-discover the Asian roots of IFOAM and URGENCI – the international Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) network – and celebrate that this year both URGENCI and IFOAM established Asian chapters. The resonance with our La Via Campesina colleagues (Indonesia, Nepal, Korea, Thailand) was remarkable and we all benefit enormously from their well-grounded advocacy, upholding the value of “solidarity” with the peasants of Asia.
We hope the combination with our “Green Fair 6 – community organic” and the “Organic and Natural EXPO” of the Thailand Ministry of Commerce contributed to the insight that we are living in a period of unprecedented opportunities for progress of the organic agriculture and agro-ecology movements in Asia, notwithstanding the enormous obstacles we also face. The input of so many young and future leaders was very encouraging.
Our keynote speakers Andre Leu (Australia), President of IFOAM, and Pablo Solón (Bolivia/Thailand), Executive Director, Focus on the Global South, inspired us to re-new our commitments and join hands to strengthen our common efforts.
Thank you all very much again,
International Innovation Forum Team Suan Nguen Mee Ma social enterprise Towards Organic Asia (TOA) team School for Wellbeing Studies and Research secretariat