Report about the TIPI workshop on Science Day at BIOFACH 2014

On February 2014, on Science Day at BIOFACH, TIPI, the Technology Innovation Platform of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) held a workshop to develop a vision for organic food and farming research at the global level.

Picture Gallery from Science Day 2014; for link to all pictures see below.


TIPI council members Maria Wivstadt of EPOK in Sweden, Uygun Aksoy of Ege University in Turkey, and Urs Niggli of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL, Switzerland) presented an overview of the current state of global organic food and farming research and outlined future research needs. This was followed by a workshop, and the 60 participants divided into four groups to discuss the following key issues: regional adaption of research; combining farmers’ knowledge with science; collaboration with other forms of sustainable production systems, and ecological intensification versus component research.

TIPI council member Nic Lampkin of the Organic Research Centre Elm Farm, UK, summarized the discussions of the session and issues raised as follows:

  • Should organic research be focused on certified systems or agreed production standards, or should it be based on the wider ideas, principles, and goals of organic farming?
  • Is Organic 3.0 a means to developing new perspectives or an opportunity to rediscover the original principles and goals of organic farming?
  • Should we separate organic and agro-ecological research, or is there significant common ground?
  • Can organic farming be THE solution to every problem, or do we need to recognize and find ways of working with its limitations and the trade-offs between multiple goals?
  • Does organic research need to find a global solution or more locally adapted solutions?
  • What is the role of stakeholders in the process – what does "participatory" really mean? Does it mean that researchers will still be leading the innovation but carrying out work on farms, or is it more about farmers leading the research process, with researchers playing only a supporting role? What about other research questions aimed at different audiences, for whom participatory approaches may be irrelevant?

The TIPI board will now compile the results of the workshop into a report, which will be presented to the organic sector at the IFOAM World Congress in October 2014. Interested stakeholders are invited to participate in the development of this vision document.

More information

  • Contact: Helga Willer, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL),
  • Science Day 2014