Sunday, October 12, 2008

Poland's Organic Farming Venture

"Eighteen years ago, Boguslaw Klimczak had a barn with 20 cows and a line of patient customers every morning: The farmer in this small town in central Poland sold his locally produced cheeses out of the trunk of his car at the local farmer’s market. Now Mr. Klimczak drives a Nissan SUV, and his company, with 3 million zlotys ($1.2 million) in sales per year, has its own distribution network sending fresh butter, cream, yogurt, and cheeses – made according to traditional Polish recipes – to stores across Poland, and without European Union subsidies to boot.

With strong economic growth in recent years – and a projected expansion of the economy by 5.4 percent this year according to numbers released by Poland’s central bank this week – Poles have begun looking for alternatives to the factory farm produce available on supermarket shelves. Farmers have responded by growing the country’s organic farming industry, a niche market for which the nation is particularly well-suited.

The number of organic farms in Poland has burgeoned during the past 12 years, from 300 in 1996 to some 13,500 today, according to EkoConnect, a German nonprofit think tank that studies organic agriculture. EkoConnect defines organic farming broadly as farming that works with nature instead of against it."

Read the article