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More than 100 participants from 23 countries came together for 3 days (June 27-29, 2018) to present and discuss new results in order to move organic agricuture forward. The event was interdisciplinary, with different topics represented in all sessions and an interesting mix of social and natural scientists. A main headline was how agroecological principles and theory may be better utilised in developing certified organic food and farming. A follow-up workshop is planned in 2020.

The international workshop, «Agroecology and Organic Agriculture as a Response to Global Challenges», was arranged with beautiful Capri island as a venue, during June 27-29, 2018. With orange necklaces, the participants were easy to identify among the many tourists in the narrow streets of Anacapri village. Many young researchers were present, and a broad range of Italian universities were represented, demonstrating the important role of agroecology and organic agriculture in this country. The network of organically oriented researchers in Italy, GRAB-IT (Gruppo Ricerca Agricoltura Biologica), arranged the event in cooperation with the nearby University of Naples Federico II and the scientific association Centro di Portici which also endorsed by ISOFAR.

At the opening session, Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann (ISOFAR President) presented ISOFAR aims and missions to the participants and encoraged them to join the Society. Several dedicated and reputable international scientists participated as invited plenary speakers, such as Alexander Wezel (ISARA, Lyon, former president of the association Agroecology Europe), Erik Steen Jensen (SLU, Sweden), Ulrich Hamm (Witzenhausen University, Germany), Elena Mente (University of Thessaly, Greece). The current Agroecology Europe president, Paola Migliorini, who is also in the Board of GRAB-IT, was active during the whole workshop, contributed to explainmany interlinkages between these two fields of science. It was generally agreed that we should cooperate more closely in future.

A topic that created much interest was the session on circular economy, where several speakers warned against the risk that even if this way of designing activities may seem truly sustainable, the actual effect of transforming resource use to renewable instead of finite inputs may be an even harder exploitation of natural land, resources and and habitats, unless we concurrently reduce our activities significantly.

Long-term experiments were the topic for a Special Session, and positive results on soil C sequestration by reducing soil tillage and introducing cover crops were reported from various locations, ranging from Iowa (US) to Kazahstan. Part of the session was dedicated to the launching of the European Long Term Experiments Network. The special session was sponsored by the Italian Research Council for Agriculture and Economics (CREA) and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MiPAAF); at its end an invitation was launched to participate in an application for a COST action on networking of long-term experiments which will be endorsed by ISOFAR and Agroecology Europe. Marion Cassagrande (ITAB, France) is the contact person, and may be approached via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Appropriate attention was also given to consumer research, wine consumption which was the topic of another special session as well as organic aquaculture. An apero-poster session was organised so that the authors got a significant attention while socialising and getting to know other participants.

 

Some ISOFAR Board members made oral (Raffaele Zanoli, Stefano Canali, Anne- Kristin Loes and Victor Olowe) and poster (Khalid Azim) presentations at the workshop. The high point of the workshop was the selection and award of the papers of three best papers in which the paper of Anne- Kristin Loes was among them.

 

Selected papers from the event will be published in Organic Agriculture and other relevant journals.

The President of GRAB-IT (Prof. Raffaele Zanoli) annunced the next international workshop which will be held in Italy in 2020 (in Pollenzo near Turin, at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche, the “Slow Food University”, just after the Terramadre/Slow Food exhibition in Turin) which jointly organised by GRAB-IT, RIRAB (the Italian network for organic food and farming research) and other associations and movemnts involved in agreocology and slow food concet promotion.


Author

Dr.Anne-Kristin   Loes,

ISOFAR Board Member, Senior Scientist at Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture

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