DARCOF · Research > Darcof II > Closing the rural-urban nutrient cycle

Closing the rural-urban nutrient cycle

In society on the whole there is a wish to support a sustainable development. In recent years the public has been concerned with agriculture, and the population has been particularly supportive of organic farming in their consumer behaviour. To this date there has been rather little concern with the sustainable functioning of the urban areas, and only a few persons have started to talk about "organic cities". However it is generally recognised, that the urban areas are practically dissociated from the rural areas when looking at returning nutrients. Recently organic farmers refused to accept sewage sludge, and conventional farmers followed suite for a time, which led to severe problems in the urban areas.

This proposal forms part of a coherent effort to re-invent urban waste management, with the view to close the rural urban nutrient cycle. It will ensure the establishment of a field-scale facility for assessing the feasibility of improved recycling of nutrients from urban areas to organic farms, in the form of a long-term field trial. With its emphasis on urban fertiliser pre-treatment, turnover in soil and impact on crop growth, it will provide practically useful results. With the initiation of a monitoring programme for biological soil quality, it will attempt to take eventual unforeseen ill effects of increased re-circulation into account. Additionally it will provide support to planned research on human and animal health aspects, in connection with agricultural waste utilisation.

In order to ensure a close connection between research activities and needs in organic farming, a steering committee is established, consisting of representatives of both researchers and organic farmers. The work presented in this proposal will provide at concrete platform for the public debate, and possibilities for the public to visit the field trials.


Project title
III.3 Closing the Rural-Urban Nutrient Cycle (CRUCIAL)

Project leader
Jakob Magid
The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Department of Agricultural Sciences, Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility Laboratory
Thorvaldsensvej 40, DK-1871 Frederiksberg C
Phone: +45 35 28 34 91, Fax: +45 35 28 21 75
E-mail: jma@kvl.dk

Project participants
Jakob Møller, Danish Forest and Landscape Institute
Bent T. Christensen, DIAS
Poul Henning Krogh, NERI