Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
City of Gliwice Chapter of the Polish Ecological Club (PKE Gliwice)ul. Kaszubska 2, pocz. skr. 489, 44-100 Gliwice, Poland
Two separate, but related, health and environmental issues in Upper Silesia and other CEE/CIS countries are 1) health risks stemming from industrial polluted agricultural land (primarily with lead and cadmium) resulting in contamination of edible food crops, and 2) an undeveloped organic foodmarket and agricultural sector. Fivety-five percent of the Katowice Voivodeship's arable land is classified as Category A (safe for cultivation of all crops), 38% is classified as Category B (restricted agriculturaluse) and 7% is classified as Category C (unsafe for cultivation of all plants used for human and animal consumption) according to a classification system developed by the Institute for the Ecology of Industrialized Areas (IETU). Contaminated food may be involved in adversely affecting the health of Upper Silesia's population. Moreover, proper nutrition from wholesome food is an important preventive health practice for people living in polluted environments. Organic farming in unpolluted areas provides wholesome foods (without heavy metal contaminants and residues of pesticides and chemical fertilizers) and at the same time is sustainable and protects the environment .
To address these two issues, PKE Gliwice, a local NGO, initiated a unique program entitled Tested Organic Food for Silesia. The goals of the program are to minimize health risks from consumption of contaminated food produced from polluted agricultural land and to promote organic farming as an environmentally sound means of providing safe nutritious food. Major elements of the program include 1) organizing an aquisition and market distribution system for retail sale of chemically tested organic produce that complies with Ministry of Health standards, 2) distributing chemically tested organic produce to schools and hospitals and creating subsidy programs for their purchase, and 3) educating community target groups about the agricultural pollution problem and benefits of organic foods and farming.
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