“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision” – Dalai Lama
The founding POETComrades developed this positive vision that continues to guide our positive actions years later: organics and ethical trade are key contributors to sustaining our cultures and communities and improving farmer livelihoods, people’s health and the environment in the Pacific. In much of the world, including the Pacific, organics and ethical trade are about much more than the tangible economic opportunities to increase value and profit. It is about the betterment of the family, community and environment. Organic farming improves both worth and wealth. Worth is what you have in your pocket, or in the bank. It’s what you will leave to your family and community. Wealth is a good night’s sleep after a hard day’s work, and waking up to healthy laughing children, and the juice of fruits that those children have picked running down your chin and arms as their sweetness makes you smile. Wealth is watching the birds and pollinators naturally taking care of your pest problems for you. It is having enough to share, and to save, for lean times. It is knowing that you are doing the right thing and making a difference.
The POETCom Vision has steered us since our inception in 2010. It guides the development of project proposals past, current and in the pipeline. In recent months this statement has steered us through the 2021-2025 POETCom Strategic Plan development, which will, in turn, direct the work of the board, the staff, and ultimately our members, supporters, partners and donors. I give hearty thanks to our long-time friend and consultant Jon Manhire for shepherding the steady forward progress of the Strategic Plan with the board and staff. The result is a deliberately ambitious and aspirational list of goals and activities that we will focus on for the next five years and well beyond. These aspirations are what gives the POETCom Community across the Pacific worth and wealth.
Since POETCom is a membership organization governed by a board, a major focus of the next five years will be strengthening both of these governance mechanisms. In 2021, we will usher in the beginning of the French funded European Development Fund [EDF] 11 project called Protégé. Over the next four years the project will encompass several broad objectives and a wide range of activities, including a thorough review of POETCom’s governance structure and an analysis of the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification scheme and Pacific Organic Standard. The success of the project will be dependent on the same input and approval from the membership that built the Strategic Plan. As the work proceeds, we will be reaching out to you, our stakeholders, for ideas, opinions, approval, and most of all vision.
As the physical, cultural, economic and geopolitical impacts of COVID continue to present us with challenges and opportunities, we continue to hear stories of organic farming practices being held up as examples of resilience, sustainability and opportunity – contributing to sustaining our cultures and communities, improving farmer livelihoods, people’s health and the environment in the Pacific….creating worth and wealth. POETCom will launch its Strategic Plan on November 19 at the Holiday Inn.