An untapped opportunity in Estonian exports to date is organic products. Estonia boasts this natural wealth, but lacks the ability to generate added value from it and offer it on foreign markets.
Organic Estonia is a much-needed initiative to boost understanding among entrepreneurs and society generally about how to realise this potential. We see on a daily basis that there is growing interest abroad in high-quality organic products.
Sven Ivanov, board member of Estonian Spirit, one of Estonia's largest exporters of organic products
Why? It’s often said of things that “I need it like the air that I breathe.” I want us to set a cleaner example to the world, so that people don’t have to say that about air. ‘Air baths’ are in vogue again, and we can offer them to those who feel the lack of them on a day-to-day basis.
Tõnu Steinberg, sales and marketing director of TallinnHotels/Aldera Hotell OÜ
Estonia being an organic country gives us the impetus we need to create a liveable and much-loved place for our children and a destination for visitors to discover.
Viljar Veidenberg, Pajumäe Talu OÜ
Listen to this new, naturally beautiful, clean, organic sound of an Estonia piano…
Indrek Laul, Estonia pianos
Estonia and the people who live here won’t be saved by NATO tanks and fighter jets, but by organic food, for which we really do have a lot of land.
Dr Adik Levin, admirer and promoter of clean food
To be successful, you need to be aware of your strengths and make use of the resources available to you.
Estonia’s greatest assets are its untouched nature and clean water – qualities that are becoming increasingly difficult to access in other parts of the world, and their prices are constantly rising. We should be developing what we have – creating more of that goodness – protecting the untouched and growing cleanly and organically!
Yoko Alender, MP
I support Organic Estonia because our pristine nature is unique in the world. We need to appreciate and promote it ourselves – that way we’ll also be supporting sustainable organic production and exports, creating a positive image of the country.
Eva Maran, director of Chaga Health
Sales success depends on the specific product and how it’s marketed. Estonia, as a clean country with lots of open space, deserves people’s attention. Organic Estonia needs our support!
Tiit Niilo, Nopri dairy farm
Nature is always smarter than human.
Jaak Nigul, Tarmeko
Valdur Mikita once said that there are plenty of people in the world who’ve been to Paris, but very few who’ve gone mushroom-picking. That’s what I, Cantharellus Cibarius, told him.
Cantharellus cibarius or the Golden chanterelle
Estonia’s pristine nature is one of our greatest assets. The idea of Organic Estonia is to send a clear message to the world of everything we have in Estonia that’s authentic, unique and special. At the national level, it’s an inspiring idea of how our economy, living environment, human health and rural development could be positively affected if we noticed this resource all around us and worked very carefully with it.
Ahto Vegmann Loodusvägi
Without uniform marketing, it’s very difficult to sell Estonia to the outside world. The idea behind Organic Estonia helps us a lot in our joint export activities.
Valjo Liivamägi, birch juice producer from Võru County
The forest is an ancient part of Estonian life. Without timber houses, warmth in our huts from logs or food from the forest on our tables, life here would be unimaginable. From generation to generation, we’ve managed, taken care of and preserved our forests with grassroots wisdom, and whenever necessary also felled trees and hunted game. The riches the forests give us today, and will continue to give us tomorrow, are proof of our good management. That’s what organic forest management is all about – being smart and responsible!
Without forests, Estonia as we know it wouldn’t exist. We’ll make our country even better with organic forests!
Jaanus Aun, member of the management board of the Private Forest Centre
From my childhood I remember this twinkling little dot high up in the sky one spring. It was a lark. Of summer I recall the smell of newly made birch whisks and the sauna as the sun began to set. The taste of my grandma’s bread, fresh from the oven, with homemade butter. And my grandad teaching me how to tap a birch tree in spring, and the wonderful taste of its juice, which to a child was sweeter than lemonade.
These smells, tastes, sounds and memories need to be preserved intact. Not so that our children and grandchildren have to experience them digitally! Organic Estonia is an initiative that takes steps to preserve all this. That’s why we’re supporting the project, so we can be sure our children will have the same unsullied memories.
Margus Siilik, CEO of Okkastyle OÜ
Virtually every Estonian has some place they go to feel at one with nature. In Kodavere, near Lake Peipsi, my family’s ancestral farm where I go to recharge my batteries. From it I bring back with me to the city the smell of smoked fish and the buzz of bees on summer evenings. I want to keep the memory of the wonderful moments I’ve had by the lake and village alive for my children, too. Let’s preserve our organic Estonia for future generations as well!
Krista Kulderknup, leader of Organic Estonia
I’ve lived on the other side of the Atlantic, in America, and on the other side of the Urals, in Asia. When I came back to Estonia, I wondered what our competitive advantage could be. What is there that’s unique about the place that would make us stand out on the global stage? At the same time, while I was still living in Beijing, stories spread among local blogs that Estonia had the cleanest air in the world. Given the environment there, I saw the potential that Organic Estonia’s now helping to unlock. I’ve also created an innovative cosmetics brand called Tilk.bio, in which we use wild herbs from Saaremaa as active ingredients. I’m sure Organic Estonia will help our green economy hatch and be a huge success internationally!
Pille Lengi, Tilk.bio
Organic Estonia means the rapid recovery of the economy, rapid growth in exports, swapping out intensive agriculture for organic farms, establishing permaculture as a way of thinking, improving people’s mental and physical health in ways you simple can’t measure in money, and above all faith. Not in the religious sense, you understand, but faith that a different world is possible. This is the best opportunity we have to truly do ourselves and the rest of the world some good. And an organic Estonian state isn’t just possible, but necessary and indeed inevitable.
Roy Strider, writer and promoter of the eco-state
Organic Estonia is a story worth writing. A story that deserves attention. A story that tourists will be happy to tell after returning from their trip to Estonia. An organic country is grist for my sort of mill. A story about towing the cart of Estonian nature tourism entrepreneurs.
Aivar Ruukel, Soomaa nature guide and ecotourism theorist
Organic Estonia is a smart, bold, credible project whose implementation is viable and much-needed for Estonia’s society and economy. This initiative will create new development impetus for at least six industries and research and development companies working to achieve practical results. Looking to the future, our organic product exporting industries stand as role models to many other entrepreneurs for valuing local resources and keeping most of the value chain and revenue in Estonia.
Meelis Virkebau, industry manager and member of the council of the Estonian Employers' Confederation
I really like the fact that in Estonia the greenery of the forests is just 5-10 minutes’ drive from the heart of the city and that food doesn’t necessarily have to have an organic label in order for it to be clean. Let’s keep things that way!
Karoli Hindriks, entrepreneur and inventor
Estonia’s new awakening as an organic nation, driven by Organic Estonia’s energetic and far-sighted initiative, is a paradigm-shifting contribution to the age-old nature-friendly way of life of people here, as well as to the century-old Green Spirituality and high-level natural and educational culture (G. Vilbaste, E. Kant, J. Käis , J. Eilart, V. Ranniku, et al.). The initiative will help our small nation cope with the disaster-inviting global and spiritual pollution that have swelled beyond all tolerable levels with smaller losses, and with an upright sense of local spirit to build a knowledge-based, sustainable, secure, prosperous national way of life. May all that is created last, may all that is beautiful last, and may the soul strive for eternity, the cycle of life always expanding. Best of luck with it!
Rein Einasto, professor emeritus of Tallinn University of Applied Sciences, on behalf of the Union of Estonian Limestone
The idea of Organic Estonia is bold and ambitious and could be one approach to making Estonia stand out in the world. Our future is undoubtedly geared towards a cleaner and less environmentally impactful economy. The idea behind Organic Estonia is not only marketing, but a core value and part of our identity that speaks to every Estonian – something that’s as intrinsic to us as the Song Festival. Why shouldn’t we be the country with the cleanest economy in the world in 20 years’ time? This idea is the perfect cornerstone for such a great vision.
Pirko Konsa, chairman of the management board of the Estonian Development Fund 2014-2016
We support Organic Estonia in its goal to make Estonia an organic country. We’re convinced that organic buckwheat (a 21st-century medicinal plant) grown in a clean environment, along with buckwheat honey and other pure raw ingredients, provide us with an opportunity to improve and maintain human health.
Virgo Mihkelsoo, RemedyWay
It’s believed that the tallest (Scots) pine in the world, being over two hundred years old, can only grow in the most pristine natural environment. The idea behind Organic Estonia is a golden one. It could truly inspire not only enthusiastic visionaries, but also politicians struggling with a lack of good ideas. For the million people living on the north-eastern fringe of the European Union with its five hundred million people, it’s difficult to find a better story with which to stand out.
Olari Taal, entrepreneur
Organic land is the rarest and most expensive commodity in the world. We’ve been able to hang on to ours because in us lives the knowledge that we are children of the Sun and the Earth. That we all come from one big egg. That we’re all connected. We are one. When you share good things, or even just show them to others, give them a glimpse, you can have more of them, power grows, beauty grows and multiplies. I like the idea of Organic Estonia. That is the real Estonia. Really ours. A well-kept secret. A beautiful gem of the far north. Love.
Evelin Ilves, First Lady of Estonia 2006-2015
Our own real organic country, the first in the world – that would be pretty radical, my friends! An organic state would mean nothing less than consensus that from here on in we want to organise our lives in Estonia in a pollutant-free and environmentally sustainable way. Which is really one and the same thing, because a common-sense way of life can’t be toxic or detrimental to the environment – in the end, both are reflected in our own quality of life. Can we agree to such a plan? Let’s give it a go!
Rainer Nõlvak, visionary
As a food industry professional, I travel all over the world on a weekly basis, and I’ve been doing so for the last 11 years. There are very few places in the world I’ve been unable to visit. I want my Estonia to be clean, fresh and healthy. I want Estonian children to be able to grow up in a clean environment. For forests to grow naturally, for fields, greenhouses, stables and runs to be free of harmful chemicals. I want everyone in the world to know just that sort of Estonia. It’s my Organic Estonia.
Liis Tuur, six years of global experience in Scandinavia's largest group Orkla and mother of two young children
Traditionally, ancient cultures allowed themselves to be guided by the rhythms of nature, but today’s ever-ready mentality tends to subject people to the rhythm of business life. It’s vital that we re-tune ourselves to the rhythms of nature so that the virtual, artificial world doesn’t dictate our lives. A good sense of nature helps us experience the change of seasons and moods. By living in harmony with the seasons, we’ll achieve true harmony again.
Kristina Dryza, future and trend researcher from Australia
When exporting Estonian products to Asia, I’ve seen how important pristine nature is to people. There’s plenty of pure nature in Estonia, but we don’t realise how precious it really is. This asset is something that should be used more skilfully when promoting our country and its products. Here we enjoy clean air, white clouds, fields and forests. In Shanghai, on the other hand, the Fresh Air bar is popular: you go there to buy fresh air, spending actual money on it. Lots of Chinese people have only ever seen grey clouds. I look up at the Estonian sky and it makes me so happy.
Siim Kabrits, entrepreneur and mind behind Organic Estonia
Organic Estonia could become one of Estonia’s narratives, part of our story, our idea. I really love the notion of a small country like Estonia being clean. Untainted, chemical-free food alone growing here, with lakes and rivers and fields and forests pollution-free. With this, I imagine we’d be pioneers in the world, so Organic Estonia could become an Estonian brand, a value for which the country is known around the world. But even more, the idea could become a mission statement for us, to appreciate our land, ethically and sustainably, and to keep Estonia in pristine condition for future generations.
Rasmus Rask, LaMuu
Estonia is unique. We have lots of natural areas and so much forest. The affinity for nature that’s been preserved in and by Estonians still draws us to the forest, whether to just enjoy it for what it is or to pick something for us to eat. Estonia ranking as one of the five richest countries in Europe is determined by our enormous biodiversity – wooded meadows, for example, sometimes have more than 70 plant species per square metre. However, we are among the five leading countries in the world in terms of our share of organic farming on agricultural land that works in harmony with nature. Highlighting this uniqueness, Estonia has a special opportunity to develop and use organic management methods that work in harmony with nature, together with smart organic technologies. By developing organically, Estonia can set an example of sustainability to the rest of the world and ensure the preservation of its people, culture and environment.