WP5 SOIL

This WP aims to reduce the current dependency of organic agriculture on manure from non-organic farms and other animal derived fertilisers, on peat for horticulture, and on fossil-fuel derived plastic mulch.

Objectives

1. Assess the current use of animal-derived non-organic fertilisers, peat, and plastic mulches made from non-renewable sources in 10 European countries.

2. Discuss and identify possible alternatives: those currently available, new innovations that comply with basic organic principles, those examined, and what will happen if (contentious) inputs are phased out without replacements.

3. Characterise relevant alternatives for physiochemical and other characteristics (e.g. availability), and study how well they function compared with existing (contentious) inputs.

4. Develop system approaches to integrate the alternatives in existing organic cropping systems / sequences.

5. Develop pathways for the uptake of promising alternatives by agricultural practice, while identifying technical, economic and social barriers that might prevent the implementation of the alternatives.

6. Test system effects in cooperation with WP6 MODEL, to make sure the environmental impact of the alternatives is lower than that of existing (contentious) inputs.

7. Assess the acceptance of the alternatives by organic stakeholders and integrate stakeholder demands in the research process.