One of my favourite Pacific cultural variations on a universal custom is how we sing Happy birthday. In the US, and probably a lot of the world, especially for people over about age eight, this is an awkward, embarrassing, and dreaded ritual. In Fiji, the same celebration is a lot more fun. First singing “Happy birthday to you”, then “Happy long life to you”, usually followed by “May God bless you”, then, my favourite part, finishing off with a hearty “three cheers” for the guest of honour. Sometimes followed by one clap for every year, which is exciting for children but a painful reminder for us older folks with scores of laps around the sun.
POETCom is growing up and celebrating a milestone birthday this year. Formed in 2011 and endorsed by the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) and Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry Services (MOAFS) in 2012, POETCom is celebrating, its 10th anniversary, along with the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) celebrating their 50th, and the Pacific Community (SPC) its 75th.
The celebration finds us with more members, more participatory guarantee system (PGS) certified farmers, and more projects, leading to a bigger staff and budget, but with the same core values, mission and vision that the founders so carefully and prophetically penned at our inception. POETCom is the peak body for the organic movement in the Pacific, and organic agriculture is the key contributor to sustaining our cultures and communities, improving farmer livelihoods, people’s health, and the environment in the Pacific.
As the world continues to struggle through to the light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, and as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) digest the myriad inputs from last year’s Food Systems Summit Dialogues and follows up with plans to change the paradigm of food production, POETCom, along with the agroecology and regenerative agriculture advocates, will continue to be the voice for the Pacific organic movement.
The POETCom Secretariat and Board are laying out plans for the 10th-year anniversary, and we want to hear from you, the members, supporters, and focal points, to tell stories of your organic journeys, successes, challenges, and dreams for the future. With the successful launch of the revised POETCom website we are now working to build the membership section of the site to spotlight the diversity, passion and ingenuity of our members, the life blood of the movement. Please, as the calls for stories, successes, best practices, and images are made in the coming weeks and months, don’t be shy, be proud.
So happy birthday, happy long life, may God bless, and three cheers for POETCom, the POETCom-rades, and for the Pacific organic movement!
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip horray!