Knowledge for organic

Improving organic food and farming through research

Organic food and farming is knowledge intensive. As IFOAM Organics Europe, we connect organic actors and promote knowledge exchange to continue improving organic practices so they fully achieve organic’s principles. We care for participatory research and translate research outcomes into recommendations for policymakers and practitioners.

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Stefano Orsini
Research & Innovation Manager

Organic farmers, processors, companies and civil society groups are eager to work with researchers to help organic deliver on its principles and transform Europe’s food and farming system. As IFOAM Organics Europe, we represent and engage all these actors in the projects we take part in. We bring the latest research findings to practitioners and ensure research meets their need and expectations. We also help building the organic sector’s innovation capacity and have ample experience setting up science-practice-policy dialogues.

IFOAM Organics Europe coordinates and takes part in a range of research projects that are key for developing the organic sector. Think about issues such as organic plant breeding and sustainability challenges such as contentious inputs.

We also take part in “thematic networks”, a specific type of projects compiling knowledge and disseminating best practices and research findings close to being put into practice. Currently, IFOAM Organics Europe coordinates coordinates a Horizon Europe project to achieve 25% organic farmland and a significant increase of organic aquaculture in the EU by 2030 and takes part in a thematic network on organic fruit production.

Moreover, we participate in projects tackling challenges beyond the organic sector, like climate neutral farming, and green public procurement.

IFOAM Organics Europe…

  • Partners in more than 10 running projects
  • Coordinated 3 projects (2015-2021)
  • More than 50% success rate in project applications
  • More than 30 members involved in ongoing Horizon 2020 projects
Projects IFOAM Organics Europe is involved in

ClieNFarms will set up 20 case studies to test solutions to reach climate-neutral farms;

Climate Farm Demo will set up a network of pilot farms in Europe and associated countries to increase and speed-up the adoption of climate smart farming practices.

ECO-Ready will develop an observatory providing up-to-date information on climate issues for society, policy, business, farms, and consumers

EU-FarmBook will support agricultural knowledge exchange by developing and maintaining an easily accessible EU-wide digital platform for practitioners in agriculture, forestry, and other rural sectors;

FoodShift2030 will launch an ambitious, citizen-driven transition of Europe’s food system to a low carbon, circular future;

InterCropValuES  aims to exploit the benefits of intercropping. It will create a better understanding of the functioning of intercropping systems and make a detailed analysis of lock-ins and levers for intercropping at the value chain level. It will identify credible solutions that can be adopted by farmers and value chain actors.

IPMWorks will build a European farm network to demonstrate integrated pest management (IPM) strategies and to promote the adoption of such strategies via knowledge exchange;

LIVESEEDING will contribute to the upscaling of diversified organic seed production and strengthen the organic seed sector, informed by market demands;

OrganicTargets4EU supports the Farm to Fork strategy in achieving the targets of 25% organic agricultural land and a significant increase of organic aquaculture by 2030. The project assesses the drivers and lock-ins affecting the development of the organic sector to propose consistent scenarios to achieving the targets;

SchoolFood4Change will provide innovative solutions and tailored, locally adaptable good practices for schools, school meal providers, public authorities, and policymakers, in line with the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy;

Past projects

AGRISPIN, by uncovering blind spots in innovation processesAgriSpin’s aimed to contribute to improved methods of innovation in European agriculture (2015-2017);

BIOFRUITNET strengthened the competitiveness of European organic fruit production through strong knowledge networks;

EURAKNOS enhanced the EU’s agricultural knowledge base by co-creating “the network to connect all Thematic Networks” (2019-2021);

EUREKA built a European knowledge repository for best agricultural practices, as well as boosted knowledge interaction and connectivity between different knowledge reservoirs and existing initiatives;

FutureEUAqua promoted sustainable growth of environmentally friendly organic and conventional aquaculture of both major fish species and low trophic level organisms resilient to climate change;

Internet of Food & Farm 2020 was a large-scale pilot under Horizon 2020 investigating and fostering large-scale implementation of the Internet of Things in European food and farming (2017-2021);

LIVESEED improved transparency and competitiveness of organic seed and plant breeding and encourage greater use of organic seed;

NEFERTITI established 10 interactive thematic networks, connecting 45 regional clusters of demo-farmers and related actors in 17 countries;  

OK-Net Arable (“Organic Knowledge Network Arable”) promoted the exchange of knowledge among farmers, farm advisers and scientists to increase productivity and quality in organic arable cropping in Europe (2015-2018);

OK-Net EcoFeed helped farmers, breeders and the organic feed processing industry achieve 100% use of organic and regional feed for monogastrics (pigs, broilers, laying hens and parents of broilers and laying hens) (2018-2021);

Organic Data Network aimed to increase the transparency of the European organic food market through better availability of market intelligence about the sector (2012-2014);

RELACS developed and facilitated tools and technologies to phase out dependency on and use of inputs considered contentious in organic farming systems;

REMIX exploited the benefits of species mixtures to design more diversified and resilient agroecological arable cropping systems (2017-2021);

SmartAgriHubs promoted the digitisation of European agriculture by fostering an agricultural innovation ecosystem dedicated to excellence, sustainability and success;

SOLMACC “Strategies for organic and low-input farming to mitigate and adapt to climate change” demonstrated that farming can be climate-friendly. Practicioners applied a combination of optimised organic farming practices to respond to climate change (2013-2018);

STOAS – Sustainability Training for Organic Advisors (2012-2013);

SUSTAINGAS aimed to enhance sustainable biogas production in organic farming (2012-2015);

XF-actors answered the urgent need to improve prevention, early detection and control of Xylella fastidiosa disease (2016-2021);

European Education Concept and Forum for Organic Food Processors (ended 2013);

Integration of the Quality Assurance System Eco-Qualify into EQF and ECVE (ended 2013).

Organic Farm Knowledge platform

Organic Farm Knowledge hosts a wide range of tools and resources for farmers and farm advisors. The platform also serves as a virtual meeting place for cross-border and peer-to-peer learning. It provides ‘ready-to-use’ knowledge that can help improve production methods in organic farming. More than 1000 tools are available in 16 European languages.

Originally set up by ICROFS (International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems) in the framework of the OK-Net Arable project, Organic Farm Knowledge is currently being further developed by FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) in the frame of the OK-Net EcoFeed project. Both projects delivered content for the themes ‘Crop production’ and ‘Animal husbandry’. With the help of LIVESEED, a theme on ‘Seeds and breeding’ has been set up. IFOAM Organics Europe coordinated all three projects.

Several other European research projects have expressed interest or committed to supplying tools on themes such as fruit production, inputs used for organic plant protection, or organic aquaculture. We aim to maker Organic Farm Knowledge  a European reference hub for practical knowledge on organic farming.

If you are interested to get your tools on Organic Farm Knowledge or help promoting the platform, please contact [email protected].

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Practical examples

INTIA, the Navarra institute for Agri-food Technologies and Infrastructures, provides advice and guidance to producers, relying on an extensive pool of technicians and an own experimentation network. In 2016, the institute launched the “organic farming support team”, a multidisciplinary unit working as “innovation brokers” and aiming to support the expansion of the organic value chain. Their strategy is based on a three-fold approach:  detecting “bottom-up” needs and demands from the organic sector; connecting actors within the region and beyond, “channeling” the detected needs/demands to the right partner. Learn more about this initiative by visiting

They are making it possible

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or REA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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