State of the art and research gaps in organic systems in low and middle income countries.

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SUSPLUS project supports cooperation between eight European universities to develop, implement and widely disseminate innovative educational materials and methods in the subject of sustainable food systems.

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Photo: A common photo of the students and teachers from the SUSplus
summer course in Tatra mountais

There is a necessity for innovative and market oriented education in the EU that addresses sustainability as a cardinal issue. According to different studies, the most important qualifications and skills desired by European employers include general skills and knowledge, but also team working, communication-, analytical and problem-solving skills, foreign language skills and ability to adapt to the new situations. Analysis of organic labour market expectations conducted in 7 EU universities acknowledged these results and moreover showed the huge significance of practical expertise and the ability of graduates to innovate and create.

There is a strong demand for a change towards a more sustainable development in face of global population growth, resources limitations and growing public health disquiet. Most of these issues are severely afflicted by current unsustainable food systems. Therefore it is necessary to develop strategies improving sustainability of present food production and consumption models. Simultaneously there is a lack of the university didactic programs covering these issues.

Therefore the aim of the Susplus project is

to develop, implement and disseminate innovative teaching materials and methods in the topic of sustainable food systems; it is based on the cooperation of 8 European Universities. Susplus didactic activities are providing university students with the inevitable knowledge and skills supporting this important sector. We hope that it will increase the employment possibilities of the students.

The organic food system is presented as one of the models for increasing overall food production and consumption sustainability.

At the 1st SUSPLUS Conference, organized on 15th FEB 2018 at Biofach we discuss innovative teaching attitudes for sustainable development with an accent on organic systems. Results of a multi-country survey on student understanding as well as reports on e-learning and a summer school are presented. We look ahead to students teaching at schools and working on small projects in organic companies. The event is of interest for students, organic companies, and all organic stakeholders.

Consortium

  1. Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland (coordinator)
  2. University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia
  4. University of Kassel, Germany
  5. Münster University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  6. ISARA-Lyon, France
  7. University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy
  8. Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain

Please visit:

 

Website: http://susplus.eu/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYO61iqD-LZ9l-iypAvp3OuOZgJuYMjCd
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Susplus-Project-1308116522605666/


 

 

Susplus project leader: Ewa Rembiałkowska, Warsaw University of Life   Sciences, Poland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.sggw.pl

State of the art and research gaps in organic systems in low and middle income countries.

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Photo: Workshop groups at the morning session of Science Day 2018

On February 16, 2018, the sixth Science Day took place at BIOFACH, the World Organic Trade Fair, in Nuremberg, Germany. It was a joint event of TIPI, the Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM and TP Organics, the European Technology Platform for Organic Food and Farming.

TIPI organized the afternoon session, which focussed on elaborate research gaps in organic food and farming systems in low and middle income countries (100 questions to be addressed by novel organic food and farming systems).

After the welcome and introduction by Christian Andres (TIPI Scientific Secretary), Dr Monika Messmer (Senior Plant Breeder, FiBL, Switzerland), Prof Dr emer. Hans Hummel, (Distinguished Expert in Plant Protection and Biocontrol, University of Giessen, Germany) and Prof Dr Gerold Rahmann (Director, Thünen Institute of Organic Farming, Germany) gave input presentations on the biggest challenges and research gaps in low and middle income countries for organic plant breeding, biological plant protection and organic livestock systems, respectively. All the presentations from the afternoon session can be downloaded here. The follow-up workshop (World Café) aimed at contributing to the development of a strategic research agenda for organic food and farming systems in low and middle income countries. The workshop (World Café) discussed the following questions:

  1. WHERE? How should we delineate the different regions (continentally, climatically, main crops)? 
  2. WHO? Who should be the main actors to elaborate the strategic regional research agendas? 
  3. HOW? How should be the main actors elaborate the strategic regional research agendas?

Finally, Dr Dora Drexler (Director, Hungarian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (ÖMKi) & Vice President TIPI, Hungary) summarized the constructive discussions and inputs made during the afternoon in her closing remarks, and gave an outlook on further steps in the near future.

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Photo: Presentation at the afternoon session of Science Day 2018

Relevant link:

http://www.organic-research.net/home/news-organic-research/article/2178.html


Author: 

Christian Andres
Research Scientist in sustainable production systems in the tropics
Scientific Secretary of the Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM – Organics International (TIPI)
Department of International Cooperation
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL
Ackerstrasse 113, Postfach 219
5070 Frick, Switzerland
Tel. +41 (0)62 865 72 72, direct dial +41 (0)62 865 72 16
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.fibl.org

Organic farming, as stated by IFOAM, relies on a holistic and systemic management of the sustainability of agroecosystems. Functioning of organic cropping systems is based on long-term biological processes. Long-term cropping systems experiments (LTE) are thus of major interest for the further development of organic farming.

> Read more

SUSPLUS project supports cooperation between eight European universities to develop, implement and widely disseminate innovative educational materials and methods in the subject of sustainable food systems.

> Read more

Organic farming, as stated by IFOAM, relies on a holistic and systemic management of the sustainability of agroecosystems. Functioning of organic cropping systems is based on long-term biological processes. Long-term cropping systems experiments (LTE) are thus of major interest for the further development of organic farming.

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Visit of French LTEs staff to the MOLTE LTE (Tuscany, Italy) – © Laurence Fontaine, ITAB

 

Why is there a need for long-term experiment research in Organic Farming? Understanding and managing organic cropping systems require long-term monitoring and assessment of such systems. Moreover, organic farming should be supported by research on exploring new best practices, based on biological processes and aiming at being more sustainable, embracing thus agroecological principles. Long-term cropping systems experiments (LTE) are thus of major interest for the further development of organic farming. Such experiments offer the opportunity to assess agricultural performance at the cropping system scale including inter-annual effects at the crop sequence level. They combine both a holistic and long-term approach of the agroecosystems with a scientific sound approach.

Why building a European organic LTEs network? The objectives of such a network would be (i) to have an overview of the diversity and convergences of LTE research on organic farming in Europe, (ii) to exchange ideas on the way to conduct an organic LTE from design, stakeholder inclusion to data analysis, thus supporting capacity building of the persons in charge of the experiments (iii) to clearly better know each other for further development of collaborative project, aiming also at pooling and comparing results to contribute efficiently to organic research.

What has been done so far? Recently, two national networks of organic LTEs were identified and linked: Retibio network in Italy (Peronti et al., 2015) and RotAB network in France. They organised cross-visits and workshops and have been sharing experiences on LTE’s management, fund raising opportunities and stakeholder involvement. From these first meetings emerged the idea to structure a European network of organic LTEs, thus revitalising the former experience promoted by ISOFAR some year ago and fostering - at the same time - the discussion dealing with the organic LTEs in order to put it in line with the most updated research trajectories of the organic food and farming sector. Indeed, It was considered relevant to include in the network organic LTEs that are designed in accordance to the agroecological principles, then distinguishable for their nature and features, thus representing powerful research infrastructure to contribute to the joint development of multidisciplinary research in organic farming and agroecology.

Outcomes documents of the first meetings: (https://goo.gl/hyEhtM)

Map of the first identified LTEs: (https://goo.gl/JW79FG)

 

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Visit of Italian LTEs staff to the Corbas LTE (Rhône-Alpes, France) – © Olivier Duchêne, ISARA-Lyon


If you are involved in agroecologically sound research activities and in charge of an organic LTE and you wish to join this starting network, please contact:

Marion Casagrande (ITAB): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

Stefano Canali (CREA):

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

Daniele Antichi (University of Pisa): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

Cesare Pacini (University of Firenze): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.