Author: Prof. M. Reza Ardakani, Board Member of ISOFAR, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


iSHS president

The ISHS President (Prof. Roderick A. Drew) and the board members as well as
Congress President (Prof. Yüksel Tüzel) and working groups of the local hosts
acknowledged for their energy, creativity and organizing a wonderful congress.


Istanbul, in Turkey hosted the 30th International Horticulture Congress (12-16 August 2018) under the auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) which provided an excellent platform for scientists, students, consultants, engineers, extension agents, growers,  industry, trade and consumer organizations, policymakers and other professionals having an interest in horticulture.

The impact of input intensive horticultural production elevates concerns for product and environmental safety not only for food but also non-food products. Organic horticulture is accepted as a solution to both well-being of the populations and the environment. ISHS as the main conference organizer and specially Professor Uygun Aksoy (Chair of the Scientific Committee) kindly supported the concepts of Organic Horticulture with considering specific scientific symposium on Organic Horticulture for Wellbeing of the Environment and Population (2nd International symposium); aShort Training Course on Organic Agriculture; a Workshop on Soil and Soilless Organic Production Systems, and a workshop on Agroecology and Education: Socio-ecological Resilience to Climate Change.

Organic systems bring solutions to not only the production chain but provide public services mainly for agro-ecosystems, rural landscapes and rural and urban populations. Agroecology is conceived as a holistic model of global change that includes technical, social, organizational and political dimensions. It favors new learning conditions by abandoning old, compartmentalized models of knowledge in which disciplines often ignore the complex realities of human, agricultural, and natural environments. Learning from action research provides answers to immediate questions and contributes in the long run to the consolidation of a sustainable food system based on local reality knowledge and with students prepared to deal with complex problems in the future. The workshop on soil and soilless organic production systems established a platform to discuss the current state-of art especially in the EU, USA and Canada and exchange experiences in drawbacks and advantages of such systems. The participants agreed that the basic principles of organic should guide the practices rather than commercial interests, and that further research results are required to develop the standards.



The outcomes of the workshop on Agroecology and Education:


  • Consolidate agroecology in higher education towards the formation of solid professionals in the subject.
  • Promote an agroecological network in the International Society of Horticultural Science.
  • Strengthen research and extension projects in agroecology with the methodology Participatory action research (PAR).
  • Join forces for a future symposium on agroecology


ishs 2


Scientists from 82 countries attended in this congress. Turkey's history as well as agricultural and agro-industrial potential of research activities was introduced to all international participants.


roberto ugas

Prof. Roberto Ugas (Prof. of Agroecology and Organic Agriculture, National La Molina Agricultural University, Lima, Peru) gave an inspiring key note presentation on ”Agroecology and organic agriculture in Latin America” in which he stated the most relevant issues to innovations and agroecological best practices in the world.


ishs 3

This can be the start of more Agroecology and Organic Horticulture across the ISHS world! All speakers at the Agroecology and Education workshop agreed with Roberto’s pledge for more agroecology science approaches in horticultural science.

Left to right: Prof. M. Reza Ardakani (Iran), Prof. Ulrich Schmutz (United Kingdom), Prof. Beatrix Alsanius (Sweden), Prof. Martine Dorais (Canada), Prof. Uygun Aksoy (Turkey) and Prof. Maria Claudia Dussi (Argentina).


ishs 4

The relevant commission in ISHS with the title of “Agroecology and Organic Farming Systems” launched to develop and support science in horticultural organic movements in which Prof. Martine Dorais (Protected crops and organic horticulture, Plant science department, Laval University, Quebec, Canada) elected as the Chair and Prof. Maria Claudia Dussi (Agroecology Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina) became the Vice Chair. Participants of the business meeting on agroecology and organic farming systems are shown in the picture.

Dear members and friends of ISOFAR,

I like to let you know some information about our activities in the first half of the year 2018.

> Read more

What’s the best way to manage Agroecological Service Crops? Comparing the usual management of ASC as green manure vs the use of roller crimper in a no till system, SoilVeg found that the latter generate an higher overall environment benefit, although with lower yields.


> Read more

Dear members and friends of ISOFAR,

I like to let you know some information about our activities in the first half of the year 2018. The board has met twice, one virtual, one vis-à-vis on Capri (before the GRAB-IT conference - the Italian conference of Organic Agriculture Researcher, which we supported). ISOFAR board members gave several oral and posters presentations. As president I was honored to give a keynote in the introduction of ISOFAR and our activities, to have more members and a clear agenda to be recognized as important network of scientists. The key message was, to work on challenges, not on regulation. That does mean, to have a clear commitment in the goals of Organic Agriculture, the understanding of future challenges of sustainable food security and safety, and the role to stimulate and initiate a science based discussion in the movement and the scientific community, as well as becoming a “Plan B” for politicians and stakeholders. We know, as scientists we are poor in resources, but rich in ideas and communication. We need more members throughout the world to become stronger as association.

The Capri board meeting was important to know each other better and to make a programme and agenda for our term till 2020: we like to make a special workshop 2019 in Morocco (in conjunction with an Organic Conference), to discuss the “how” we can help with Organic Agriculture to solve future challenges (the “why” was already published as result from a Korea workshop 2015). The results will be published as well in a special issue of Organic Agriculture in 2020 and the OWC. Together with representatives from Springer, our publisher, we have discussed the amendments in our Journal of Organic Agriculture, which we discussed and decided at our India workshop last November. The Journal is on a good track, 219 papers have already been published, the procedure of review is fine and in time. Springer is happy and we try to achieve the final step of recognizion in an application for ISI this year.

With ISOFAR support the German government has decided to launch a call for “knowledge centres for Organic Agriculture”. This is important, because the foreseen 4 centres shall disseminate the knowledge of Organic Agriculture to farmers and consumers, not only as certified products, but as sustainable and local adapted production measures with increasing output for small scale and poor farms. The topic and informations can be found on the webpage.

ISOFAR is represented in the IFOAM world board. The changed of the goals and strategy of IFOAM, confirmed at the General Assembly in Dehli 2017, is called Organic 3.0. ISOFAR has initiated and followed the discussions since 2011, at the OWC11 in Seoul. ISOFAR is committed to support this idea with scientific work.

I invite you all to make Organic Agriculture stronger with research, to work on future challenges of the food system and to be active member of ISOFAR.

gerold ny








Prof. Dr. Gerold Rahmann
President of ISOFAR


Author: Stefano Canali, Crea-AA, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

belgoium soilveg 2

Terminating ASC with roller crimper 


What’s the best way to manage Agroecological Service Crops? Comparing the usual management of ASC as green manure vs the use of roller crimper in a no till system, SoilVeg found that the latter generate an higher overall environment benefit, although with lower yields.


SoilVeg is an applied research European project involving 9 European countries and 14 partner institutions for 3 years. It aimed at introducing the no-till technique and at improving the management of agro-ecological Service Crops in organic cropping systems for vegetable production in order to get better soil conservation and resource use.

The ASC crops are often introduced in the agro-ecosystem to provide or enhance ecological services promoting the whole soil-plant system equilibrium. Indeed, ASC introduction have impact on soil quality and fertility and soil nutrients losses and they also contribute to increase soil C sink potential, to mitigate GHG emissions and influence weeds, diseases and pests occurrence.

But what’s the best way to manage ASC? This has been SoilVeg main challenge. Project team has been testing the hypothesis that, compared with the incorporation of ASC into the soil as green manure, the use of the no-till technique, based on the use of the roller crimper reduces nutrient losses from the soil/plant system and GHG soil emission.

This spider graph highlight, at a glance, the difference between the two examined systems - Business As Usual which use ASC as green manure and SoilVeg which utilize the roller crimper in a no till system of management – showing how they score on a variety of indicators. The orange defined area marks the benefits gained by BAU while the green defined area highlights the benefits of using SoilVeg devised management.

As it is clearly showed, SoilVeg management generate an higher overall environment benefit, scoring higher on environment related indicators such as climate change mitigation potential, fossil fuel energy saving, loss of nutrients and overall biodiversity. However, it implies lower yields and lower yield quality.

soilveg web


Simulations have shown how no-tillage contributes to mitigate climate change through Increasing soil carbon sequestration and, at the same time, reducing soil N2O emissions.

Data gained in Spain and elaborated by DayCent over a 30 years simulation predicted a decrease of CO2 emission of 0,70 Mg per ha per year under the current climatic conditions and of 0,86 Mg per ha per year under adverse climate change scenarios and a 10% reduction of soil N2O emissions when comparing no-till with green manure management.

soilveg table


Even when dealing with energy analysis the project reached some crucial points: namely, no-till ASC operations generally require less energy than conventional management through green manure which requires additional chopping and plowing in the soil. If properly set, ASC mulching induced energy saving to weeds control and for irrigation.

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that weed communities changed in function of ASC and termination strategies and that roller crimper treatments reduced weed species richness but also contributed to weed control thanks to weed density reduction. Thus, SoilVeg trials open up the hypothesis of stressing weed contribution to agroecosystem functioning without the need of controlling them.

Moreover, the introduction of ASC with no-tillage seems a good strategy to maintain higher system biodiversity. Roller crimper proved not to be harmful to arthropod

populations and proved to promote the conservation of important soil predators. Actually, the use of roller crimper enhanced the presence of important groups of predator arthropods.


On the basis of the results obtained within the SoilVeg Project scientists have identified the next research needs to further implement and to enhance the impact of the no-till tecniques in the organic vegetable systems and these research needs are all focused on how mitigate yield reduction in no-till systems; i.g.


  • Identify high biomass production ASC species and cultivars
  • ASC proper sowing density 
  • ASC species and cultivars screening for their attitude to be flattened (in order to get a low regrowth) 
  • Cash crop density and planting layout 
  • Cash crop and cultivars attitude to be cultivated in no-till systems 
  • Plant breeding for no-till (namly, appropriate rooting system) 
  • Roller crimpers design 
  • Innovative no-till transplanter design (In-line tillage and ASC root pruning)



Read more at the CORE Organic website: , find publications from the project at: or watch the videos at: .


Financial support for this project has been provided by funding bodies within the FP7 ERA-Net CORE Organic Plus, and with cofuns from the European Commission.

Note: This press release has been translated and broadcasted at national level by the project partners in all the involved Countries (Italy, Slovenia, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, France, Latvia, Estonia).



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.

> Read more