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Implementation Action Plan for organic food and farming research

Padel, Susanne; Niggli, Urs; Pearce, Bruce; Schlüter, Marco; Schmid, Otto ; Cuoco, Eduardo; Willer, Helga; Huber, Machteld; Halberg, Niels and Micheloni, Cristina (2010) Implementation Action Plan for organic food and farming research. Technology Platform TP organics, Brussels.

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Online at: http://www.tporganics.eu/index.php/actionplan.html

Summary

The Implementation Action Plan completes TP Organics’ trilogy of key documents of the Research Vision to 2025 (Niggli et al 2008) and the Strategic Research Agenda (Schmid et al 2009). The Implementation Action Plan addresses important areas for a successful implementation of the Strategic Research Agenda. It explores the strength of Europe’s organic sector on the world stage with about one quarter of the world’s organic agricultural land in 2008 and accounting for more than half of the global organic market. The aims and objectives of organic farming reflect a broad range of societal demands on the multiple roles of agriculture and food production of not only producing commodities but also ecosystem services. These are important for Europe’s economic success, the resilience of its farms and prosperity in its rural areas. The organic sector is a leading market for quality and authenticity: values at the heart of European food culture.
Innovation is important across the EU economy, and no less so within the organic sector. The Implementation Action Plan devotes its third chapter to considering how innovation can be stimulated through organic food and farming research and, crucially, translated into changes in business and agricultural practice. TP Organics argues for a broad understanding of innovation that includes technology, know-how and social/organisational innovations. Accordingly, innovation can involve different actors throughout the food sector. Many examples illustrate innovations in the organic sector includign and beyond technology. The various restrictions imposed by organic standards have driven change and turned organic farms and food businesses into creative living laboratories for smart and green innovations and the sector will continue to generate new examples. The research topics proposed by TP Organics in the Strategic Research Agenda can drive innovation in areas as wide ranging as production practices for crops, technologies for livestock, food processing, quality management, on-farm renewable energy or insights into the effects of consumption of organic products on disease and wellbeing and life style of citizens. Importantly, many approaches developed within the sector are relevant and useful beyond the specific sector.
The fourth chapter addresses knowledge management in organic agriculture, focusing on the further development of participatory research methods. Participatory (or trans-disciplinary) models recognise the worth and importance of different forms of knowledge and reduced boundaries between the generators and the users of knowledge, while respecting and benefitting from transparent division of tasks. The emphasis on joint creation and exchange of knowledge makes them valuable as part of a knowledge management toolkit as they have the capacity to enhance the translation of research outcomes into practical changes and lead to real-world progress. The Implementation Action Plan argues for the wider application of participatory methods in publicly-funded research and also proposes some criteria for evaluating participatory research, such as the involvement and satisfaction of stakeholders as well as real improvements in sustainability and delivery of public goods/services.
European agriculture faces specific challenges but at the same time Europe has a unique potential for the development of agro-ecology based solutions that must be supported through well focused research. TP Organics believes that the most effective approaches in agriculture and food research will be systems-based, multi- and trans-disciplinary, and that in the development of research priorities, the interconnections between biodiversity, dietary diversity, functional diversity and health must be taken into account. Chapter five of the action plan identifies six themes which could be used to organise research and innovation activities in agriculture under Europe’s 8th Framework Programme on Research Cooperation:
• Eco-functional intensification – A new area of agricultural research which aims to harness beneficial activities of the ecosystem to increase productivity in agriculture.
• The economics of high output / low input farming Developing reliable economic and environmental assessments of new recycling, renewable-based and efficiency-boosting technologies for agriculture.
• Health care schemes for livestock Shifting from therapeutics to livestock health care schemes based on good husbandry and disease prevention.
• Resilience and “sustainagility” Dealing with a more rapidly changing environment by focusing on ‘adaptive capacity’ to help build resilience of farmers, farms and production methods.
• From farm diversity to food diversity and health and wellbeing of citizens Building on existing initiatives to reconnect consumers and producers, use a ‘whole food chain’ approach to improve availability of natural and authentic foods.
• Creating centres of innovation in farming communities A network of centres in Europe applying and developing trans-disciplinary and participatory scientific approaches to support innovation among farmers and SMEs and improving research capacities across Europe.


EPrint Type:Report
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
Research affiliation: International Organizations > International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements IFOAM > IFOAM EU Group
International Organizations > Technology Platform TP Organics
UK
Deposited By: Padel, Dr Susanne
ID Code:19306
Deposited On:04 Nov 2011 18:53
Last Modified:07 Nov 2011 08:52
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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