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Report on Organic Food and Farming in Finland

Nykänen, Arja and Järvenpää, Markku (2006) Report on Organic Food and Farming in Finland. In: Lange, Stefan; Williges, Ute; Saxena, Shilpi and Willer, Helga (Eds.) Research in Organic Food and Farming. Reports on organisation and conduction of research programmes in 11 European countries. Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE) / Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food BLE, Bonn, Germany, chapter Finland, pp. 45-62.

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The interest in research on organic farming grew in the beginning of the 1980s. In 1980, an extensive seven-year-project started in cooperation between several institutions investigating the possibility to improve the efficiency of nitrogen fixation and utilisation of nitrogen fertilisers and cow manure. Two extensive comparative projects began in 1982: (1) conventional and organic cropping systems at Suitia, University of Helsinki and (2) self-sufficient crop rotation and cropping system by the Agricultural Research Centre of Finland at its regional research stations.
In September 1985, the Partala Centre for Rural Development for research on organic farming was founded in Juva. The University of Helsinki, Juva municipality and some other organisations belonged to this Partala association, as it is called nowadays. Partala experimental farm was integrated into the MTT Agricultural Research Centre of Finland in 1990. MTT Partala and Karila in nearby town Mikkeli were joined together in 1996 to the MTT Research Station of Ecological Production.
Partala research station and later MTT/Ecological Production has coordinated research on Organic Food and Farming in Finland since 1990. It has launched three research programmes, which have covered the whole organic sector from soil issues to food processing and markets, as well as social issues. Professor Artur Granstedt from Sweden was nominated as professor for organic farming research in Partala for 5 years in 1993, and he influenced strongly the research programmes of Organic Food and Farming at that time.
MTT Ecological Production established ‘The Finnish Research Network on Organic Agri-Food Systems’ (ReNOAF), together with other stakeholders in 2000 and has coordinated this network ever since. Funding directed especially for research programmes on Organic Food and Farming (OF&F) was addressed for the first time in Finland in 2003, when the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry launched its first research programme on Organic Food and Farming, based on the priorities prepared in the ReNOAF. National research seminars were also organised by MTT Ecological Production.
The Partala Research Station will be closed down in September 2006. The lands of the Partala Research Station will remain under organic farming research, but all personnel will move to the Mikkeli Research Station to work in close connection with the Ruralia Institute of the University of Helsinki.
The reason for this decision was to improve efficiency by having a better critical mass of researchers by putting more people to work together and by concentrating the resources.
At the University of Helsinki, the Mikkeli Institute for Rural Research and Training (Ruralia Institute Mikkeli Unit), a neighbour of MTT Ecological Production, got started in 1988. Organic production has been one of its priorities from the very beginning. It has concentrated on further training and development activities. It has, for example, educated all advisors and teachers for organic farming since 1991. Developing activities have covered the processing and marketing of food, plant protection and animal welfare. In 2000, the only academic educational programme for Organic Food and Farming was started there. This Eco Studies – project has been under way at the Ruralia
Institute Mikkeli Unit of the University of Helsinki since 2001. The project consists of scientific research and university level study entities. Studies in the organic agri-food systems study programme are available for university students and through the Open University for all who are interested in the field. It provides opportunities to join the European and Nordic study programmes, too.
Organic production, marketing and consumption of organic products are also studied in Finland at the other departments of the MTT Agrifood Research and University of Helsinki, the University of Joensuu, the National Consumer Research Centre, the VTT Technical Research Centre, the National Veterinary and Food Research Institute and the Work Efficiency Institute.

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:organic farming research in Finland, research communication, research structures, research funding and programmes
Subjects: Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Finland
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Research communication and quality
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic
Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
Related Links:http://www.coreorganic.org, https://orgprints.org/5927/, https://orgprints.org/5214/, https://orgprints.org/5213/
Deposited By: Nykänen, Arja
ID Code:8791
Deposited On:28 Jun 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:33
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed
Additional Publishing Information:The book on organic farming research in 11 European Countries can be ordered free of charge from BLE at geschaeftsstelle-oekolandbau@ble.de.
Lange, Stefan; Williges, Ute; Saxena, Shilpi and Willer, Helga, Eds. Research in Organic Food and Farming. Reports on organisation and conduction of research programmes in 11 European countries, chapter Netherlands. Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE) / Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food BLE, Bonn, Germany

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