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Vieweger, Anja and Döring, Thomas F. (2014) THE MEANING OF ‘HEALTH’ IN THE ORGANIC PRINCIPLE OF HEALTH. In: Rahmann, G. and Aksoy, U. (Eds.) Building Organic Bridges, Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Braunschweig, Germany, 4, Thuenen Report, no. 20, pp. 1135-1138.

PDF - German/Deutsch


In the early 1940’s, Lady Eve Balfour concluded in her book ‘The Living Soil’ that: “The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible” (Balfour, 1943). With this key statement she set one of the founding stones for the principles of the organic agriculture movement, later laid down by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM, 2005). It describes the connection of health between soils, plants, animals and humans, and implies that the promotion and maintenance of human health, as one of the highest goals of mankind, critically depends on the health in all other agricultural domains. However, current debates about the meaning and measurement of health are largely disconnected: soil science, plant pathology, veterinary science and human medicine are following separate paths to define and measure health. This separation of debates by disciplinary boundaries constrains the understanding of what determines and connects health in agricultural systems. Further, recent research has revealed that health links among individual domains are both highly diverse and extremely complex. For the understanding of potential mechanisms linking the health of various domains together it is therefore necessary to study the compatibility of different health concepts across disciplinary borders.
This study explores the possibilities, limitations and consequences of bringing health perspectives together from different domains, with the aim to gain a better understanding of health in agriculture. It reviews current approaches to define and measure health in agricultural contexts, comparing commonly used concepts in the different domains, and attempts to bring together the presently disconnected debates. Finally, to improve the understanding and integration of health in agricultural and food systems, the study highlights areas and concepts for a future direction of health assessment and research.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:health, principles of organic farming, concept, resilience
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Systems research and participatory research
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2014: 18th IFOAM OWC Scientific Track: 4th ISOFAR Scientific Conference
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm
Deposited By: Vieweger, Ms Anja
ID Code:23276
Deposited On:16 Oct 2014 09:37
Last Modified:16 Oct 2014 09:37
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:urn:nbn:de:gbv:253-201407-dn053621-1

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