More details about the Biokennis Week topics: ROOM FOR GREEN
Farm to Fork, circular agriculture, nature-inclusive farming and other policies – how can the sector contribute to changing the system?
The EU has a new agricultural strategy: Farm to Fork, which guides the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The goal is 25% organic farming by 2030. How can the Dutch sector contribute to the key policy issues? Climate, nitrogen, biodiversity, soil fertility, food security and health are all future challenges for governments.
Organic farming can allow land and ecosystems to recover. Monocultures are susceptible to pests and diseases and, in intensive farming, are dependent on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. From a longer-term perspective, it can be concluded that closed-loop organic farming is a robust way of feeding the world sustainably while also preserving the ecosystem.
1. Climate, circularity and biodiversity: resilient business systems in practice. Will organic remain at the forefront of sustainability?
The weather is becoming more extreme, so how can the organic sector prepare for that? Biodiversity is rapidly declining. Some people are even calling it ecocide. Is it possible to achieve a dual effect that benefits both the climate and biodiversity? We are looking for the very latest practical examples: nature-inclusive, resilient cultivation methods such as strip tilling, farming on peatlands, the use of different varieties and working towards better soil. How can we develop a business model that benefits nature and can also cope with extremely wet or dry periods?
Organic farming is tied to the land; a circular approach is at the very heart of organic. Nevertheless, there is room for further development within the organic sector too. We are looking for new perspectives and inspiring examples: how can we close the loop by working with networks and partner companies? Are there new revenue models in ‘green services’? How can the organic sector retain its pioneering position? And besides the farmers themselves, how can the movement get traders, retailers and consumers on board?
2. Market development, producers and traders/retailers: how can we win over consumers? How do we keep the prices fair? And what about new packaging concepts?
How can the sector win consumers over to organic products? Will organic continue to tell its story, and are there new ways to do so? How are industry members working together on loyalty and engagement? We are looking for examples of market developments, new forms of collaboration or new packaging concepts as inspiration for growing the market successfully or working together in other ways – examples of collaboration that will result in a greener, fairer, more socially responsible and more resilient economy as a whole.
3. Transitioning to organic: new and/or young farmers
There is a growing demand for organic produce and the sector still has plenty of room for new organic entrepreneurs. We are looking for contributions to help stimulate the transition among both experienced farmers and starters/new entrants, in all areas that are relevant for organic: from farming to wholesale and retail.
4. Technological innovation versus ecological innovation. More technology or more people?
Is the farming sector working towards change based on technological solutions, or can ecology be used too? In which direction is the organic sector innovating? What can the sector offer to the agricultural industry as a whole?
Is it contributing to the debate on technological end-of-pipe solutions (air washers, etc.) in traditional agriculture versus ecological solutions that are preferred by the organic sector? Should the nitrogen issue be tackled at source (e.g. concentrated feed?) or should nitrogen be captured? How does the organic story come across?
Additionally, how is the organic sector innovating? The organic sector needs more people, not least in order to achieve the climate goals – as illustrated by organic farmer Meino Smit’s thesis. At the same time, technology can offer huge opportunities for the organic sector (in terms of robotization, data, sensor technology, artificial intelligence, deep learning, etc.). By applying these high-tech solutions in farming, we can work in even closer harmony with nature and make even better use of the power of nature. However, robotization could mean that the human factor is largely eliminated from farming and the loss of many jobs in rural areas. What are the opportunities? And what are the threats?
5. Short chains: connecting with the customer
With approximately a quarter of its chains being short, the organic sector has a strong focus on selling directly to consumers. Consumers themselves are increasingly joining forces in innovative concepts to source from – and even invest in – local organic farmers. We are looking for good examples of short chains – both existing and new ones. From smart processing solutions on the farm, to new forms of collaboration such as cooperatives and other partnerships – how are you connecting with consumers in the short chain?
6. Organic in education
Organic farming sometimes still has an image problem in vocational agricultural education. How can the sector connect with traditional farming educational programmes?
7. Healthy food, natural resistance and health – how can the sector contribute to a healthy ecosystem?
The COVID-19 pandemic is further driving the demand for healthy food to support the body’s natural resistance. Human health is inextricably linked to healthy ecosystems with healthy soil, crops and animals. Being ‘healthy’ is not just about not being ill, but rather about continuously working on one’s physical, mental, social and ecological well-being. How is the organic sector supporting this?
We also welcome proposals about topics related to plant health or animal welfare!
8. New organic legislation: what are the changes?
The new organic regulation comes into force on 1 January 2022, replacing the current basic legislation: Regulation No. 834/2007. We are looking for contributions that will clearly explain the changes per sector.
Friday 17 September 2021: Deadline for the submission of proposed contributions to the programme
15 October 2021: Programme Committee will announce which proposals have been accepted
1 December 2021: Workshop programme will be published online
10 and 11 January 2022: Webinars during Biokennis Week