Two projects of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme are researching minimising input in organic agriculture: RELACS and Organic-PLUS. Both projects are largely complementary as both investigate contentious inputs and (further) develop alternatives to these in countries with the same geographical scope.
Organic-PLUS means minimising, and eventually phasing out contentious inputs from certified organic agriculture. By doing so, organic food systems can be truer to the IFOAM organic principle of ‘ecology’. This principle is now shared by the EU Bio-economy agenda, focusing on renewable biological resources from land and sea. Furthermore, this research is also applicable to non-organic farming systems seeking to adopt more agroecological solutions. This combined focus on organic principles and Bio-economy may not only lead to more resilience and quality assurance within organic production, but also reduced environmental impact and fairer, more reliable rules and regulations that organic consumers (current and new) can trust to “buy-into” the growth of the sector.
The overall aim of the ‘Organic-PLUS project’ (O+) is to provide high-quality, trans-disciplinary, scientifically informed decision support to help all actors in the organic sector, including national and regional policy makers, to reach the next level of the organic success story in Europe.
Organic-PLUS is a €4.1 m European Horizon 2020 project running from May 2018 to April 2022 (grant agreement 774340). It is co-ordinated by Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience and involves 10 universities and 15 multi-actors (other research institutions and NGOs) in 9 EU and 3 non-EU countries.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774340.