Profile | Dolly Blach, Agrarmarkt Austria, on Being a Global Leader in Organic Food Standards

“We lead the world in organic standards because we’re a small country. The agricultural infrastructure is still on a small scale, so farmers can still give each of their cows a name.”

Dolly Blach grew up in the heart of Vienna’s 1st district in the ’50s and ’60s.

So you might think she’d be nostalgic for those more neighborly times. Well, perhaps a little… But at 61, she cares a lot more about the positive changes.

The subways. And the varieties of food. She remembers when grocery choices were limited, as were types of restaurants. Take dairy.

“Today you can get milk from any region in Austria: Salzburg, Tyrol, Carinthia,” Blach says. “We enjoy such freedom of choice; we don’t have to eat the same thing every day.”

Another important change is Austria’s success as a worldwide forerunner in setting standards for organic food. Blach has been with the marketing division of Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA) since it was founded in 1993. It is a public organization that gives its seal of approval to agricultural products in Austria that meet regional and organic standards set by the AMA.

Blach remembers when organic was not so “in.” At the largest organic food expo in Nuremburg, Germany, “these so-called ‘nature lovers’ would be standing around in their sweaters and protective sleeves looking pale and not at all cool.” Times have changed.

“Now everyone wears well-cut suits and the organic trend is booming,” she extols. “With Austria at the top.”

Over the years, Blach has sampled a lot of what other countries have to offer, and even now, the world is still her culinary oyster. What items are left on her foodie bucket list?

“We check one off every day!” she says laughing.

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