Aarhus, Denmark 2nd O+ Consortium meeting

The second Organic-PLUS (O+) consortium meeting and annual general assembly is held in Aarhus, Denmark from Thursday 27th  to Friday 28th June 2019.

Venue: SEGES, Agro Food Park 15, 8200 Aarhus, Denmark and the nearby
Horisont conference centre.

Wednesday 26thJune – Arrival day
18.00 City walk. Meet at Aarhus Central Station (rail) in front of the main entrance towards the town.
19.00 Dinner at the organic restaurant, Langhoff & Juul in Aarhus.

Thursday 27thJune
8:00 Arrival and coffee at SEGES Agro Food Park, AFP 15

Please download full programme here:

O+ Aarhus Denmark 27-28 June 2019 programme.pdf

Horisont conference centre (www.horisont-aarhus.dk)

Agroforestry and Organic

In May 2019, Dr Ulrich Schmutz attended the 4th  World Agroforestry Congress in Montpellier, France – the first time the congress was held in Europe. The congress (https://agroforestry2019.cirad.fr) has put Agroforestry firmly on the map, also in Europe and the EU. New areas were explored like linking Agroforestry better to Agroecology and having only certified organic production methods in Agroforestry.

The contribution of Agroforestry to achieving ‘Drawdown’ (drawing down greenhouse gas pollutants already in the atmosphere) was a major part of the keynote discussions.

The Montpellier Declaration was passed stating: “we, the 1200 delegates from 100 countries, agreed that the massive degradation of our world’s biodiversity documented in the recent IPBES [ www.ipbes.net ] report is principally due to poor agricultural practices. Agroforestry offers a key solution to remedy the situation…” Source: https://agroforestry2019.cirad.fr/content/download/4744/34532/version/2/file/Montpellier_Declaration_24052019_VEng.pdf

Keynote on Agroforestry and Drawdown

Innovation with waste wood to replace peat in plant propagation

Organic grower Iain Tolhurst (Tolly) phased out the use of peat on his vegetable farm several years ago. Here, he talks to the Organic-PLUS team about the growing media he produces on-farm from wood waste, fulfilling all of his plant propagation requirements (clip 18 on the Organic-PLUS playlist).


More info on Tolly is found here:  www.tolhurstorganic.co.uk


Full Organic-PLUS playlist

Factsheets now available in 5 languages

Alternatives to contentious inputs in organic crops

PDF – factsheets for download in English and Mediterranean languages Greek, Italian, Spanish and Turkish.

Citrus Factsheet Greek
O+ Citrus factsheet (Greek) as an example

1) O+ Citrus factsheet (English) 
1) O+ Citrus factsheet (Greek) 
1) O+ Citrus factsheet (Italian) 
1) O+ Citrus factsheet (Spanish)
1) O+ Citrus factsheet (Turkish) 

2) O+ Olive factsheet (English) 
2) O+ Olive factsheet (Greek) 
2) O+ Olive factsheet (Italian) 
2) O+ Olive factsheet (Spanish) 
2) O+ Olive factsheet (Turkish) 

3) O+ Tomato factsheet (English) 
3) O+ Tomato factsheet (Greek)
3) O+ Tomato factsheet (Italian)
3) O+ Tomato factsheet (Spanish)
3) O+ Tomato factsheet (Turkish) 

4) O+ Aubergine factsheet (English)  
4) O+ Aubergine factsheet (Greek)
4) O+ Aubergine factsheet (Italian)
4) O+ Aubergine factsheet (Spanish)
4) O+ Aubergine factsheet (Turkish)

Organic and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

On 26th February 2019, 150 people came together in Brussels for the FiBL led workshop The Contribution of Organic Agriculture to the SDGs: Scientific evidence from comparative research hosted by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO).

Organic-PLUS team members Dr Stéphane Bellon (INRA, France) and Dr Ulrich Schmutz (Coventry University, UK) brought critical input to the discussion, reflecting on the research results of long-term farming system comparisons (organic versus conventional) in Kenya, India, Bolivia, Ghana and Uganda. A major part of the discussion was around modelling scenarios to radically change food and farming systems based on a recent Nature paper by FiBL’s Muller et al. Strategies for feeding the world more sustainably with organic agriculture.


150 people came together in Brussels to debate ‘Organic and SGDs’

Scaling-up agroecology from the perspective of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (Carolina Starr) and EU parliament (Maria Heubuch, MEP) was another focus. One conclusion was that 100% organic could comfortably feed the world in a 2050 ‘peak population’ scenario and contribute more to SDGs than current systems. However, besides major social and political challenges there are still multiple research needs such as achieving full yield potential in organic systems and fulfilling the world’s fuel and fibre needs in a bio-economy (globally, non-organic cotton accounts for 16% of all insecticide use despite comprising just 2.4% of the total cultivated area).

Links to the presentations are contained in this press release or can be found on Organic Eprints. A recording of the event will remain available on the European Commission’s website for up to one year.

Organic Growers Alliance AGM

Dr Francis Rayns of Coventry University’s CAWR attended the Annual General Meeting of the Organic Growers Alliance (OGA), on 16th and 17th March 2019 . The OGA is a network of growers, farmers and horticulturists across the UK, and an associate partner of Organic-PLUS. The OGA organises regular events concerned with practical organic fruit and vegetable production, and publishes a quarterly organic horticultural journal. In the Organic-PLUS project we are collaborating with several OGA members and disseminating our findings via their networks. The meeting was held at Rhos Market Garden in Knighton on the Welsh side of the England/Wales border and included a farm tour which focused on polytunnel production and discussion around the use of contentious inputs.


Organic polytunnel crops at Rhos Market Garden, Wales, UK

English Organic Forum (EOF)

The English Organic Forum (EOF) has opened a new chapter by discussing its Terms of Reference at a meeting at the Soil Association‘s Bristol headquarters on Friday 15th March 2019. There was consensus on all issues discussed, with  Garden Organic voted interim-secretary organisation for 2019 and Dr Christopher Stopes (former IFOAM EU  President) the interim-chair. It is hoped that with the new terms of reference, the public voice of the Organic Movement in England will be significantly strengthened.

Membership of the English Organic Forum is open to organisations and individuals with an interest in and experience of organic food, farming and growing. Organic-PLUS partner Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience is a member.