With several partners, the Finish Research Institute (FORI) recently arranged the 4th organic NJF conference in Mikkeli, Finland. About 80 participants from 13 countries enjoyed Finnish summer and hospitality during June 19-21, 2017.

The Nordic Association of Agricultural Scientists (NJF) conference had four tracks: Tuning up sustainable organic production, Organic food, human health and wellbeing, Organics in our societies and Organics- the next step. Excellent key speakers were invited. John Reganold from USA opened the conference, proposing that organic agriculture is an important ingredient in a blend of innovations required for sustainable development in the 21st century. Animal scientist Lotta Rydhmer, Sweden discussed the conflict between increasing organic volume, struggling to maintain organic integrity, and increasing the sustainability of organic agriculture, where precautionary principles and (out-dated?) regulations easily conflict with scientific development. Food systems expert Carola Strassner, Germany inspired the audience by evidence that consumers preferring organic also favor more heathy food and lifestyle in general, and vice versa. Good things go together.

ISOFAR supported the event, and Ilse A. Rasmussen from the ISOFAR world board participated in the scientific committee, lead by Carina Tikkanen-Kaukanen from the University of Helsinki. ISOFAR president Gerold Rahmann gave the final plenary talk. He emphasized that organics is not a perfect model, and that we have to develop a multitude of different solutions to enhance e.g. the availability of food in the world. However, organic agriculture should be seen as one way to achieve that. Additional to the invited speakers, 38 oral presentations were given and 17 posters presented.

Participants at the event stated that NJF and ISOFAR conferences are quite unique. They are agricultural, but still summon the whole food chain, unlike the conventional food chain related conferences. Developing the whole food chain together, all stake holders benefit. This conference was another good example of this uniqueness.

In cooperation with local universities and research institutes, four organic NJF conferences have been arranged so far: In Sweden 2007, Estonia 2011, Denmark 2013 and Finland 2017. Will Norway possibly host the NJF organic conference in 2021, or will the event go to Lithuania, Latvia or Iceland, which are the other member countries of NJF? Atle Wibe from Norwegian Centre of Organic Agriculture (NORSØK) participated in the scientific committee, and is motivated to lead a process to make this reality. Nordic-Baltic cooperation in food and agricultural sciences is required, and very useful also for participation on a larger European or even global arena. Many project consortia have been inspired from ideas and friendships made during NJF events. NJF celebrated its 90 year anniversary in 2008, and the organic seminars have helped to refresh the organization.

NJF 2017 group photo2

Also visit http://njf.nu/assets/Uploads/PRESS-RELEASE-19.6.pdf and https://www.facebook.com/NJF2017Mikkeli/ 

See conference poster