Arctic Pea Network


Karolina Aloisi, NordGen,
Ulrika Carlson-Nilsson, NordGen,

Period: 2020-2022

New article in Frontiers in plant sciences

Important plant protein source

Peas are an important source of plant protein for humans and animals. The past few years an increased interest in peas as an alternative protein source, both within the food and fodder industry, have been observed in many countries.  

Peas have historically been a major cultivated crop in the Nordic countries. The low temperatures and long days in the Arctic areas of the Nordic countries however require specific adaptation of crops. On the other hand, taking climate change into account, increasing temperatures will gradually allow a cultivation of crops not earlier possible to cultivate at these more northern locations, one example is peas. 

Food security

A sustainable Arctic protein production would benefit local farmers’ communities, strengthen the Nordic cooperation and food security. If such a production should be able to implement, a set of suitable cultivars adapted for northern growing conditions are needed together with the gain of experience and knowledge about pea cultivation in more northern areas. As peas are self-sufficient with nitrogen the dependency of N2-fertilizers will be reduced and subsequently the carbon pollution by nitrogen-fertilizer production.  

NordGen in cooperation with breeders and scientists from Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have 2017-2019 carried out a project; “Peas – a genetic resource for sustainable protein production in the Arctic”. 

Close up on black bean capsules. Photo.



Long-term aim

We will continue the cooperation with the long-term aim to promote peas as an alternative protein source in the Nordic countries focusing on the Arctic areas. In order to achieve this, we need to convey our project results into data useful for breeders, the public and other stakeholders such as food- and feed producers. The goal for 2020-2022 will therefore be to gather and analyze the data from previous results and write a comprehensive paper to an international journal with peer-review system. In addition, we aim to publish a popular scientific book on selected accessions of the Nordic Pea genetic resource collection suitable for cultivation in the Arctic region.


Expected project outcomes

  • Scientific paper about evaluation of an alternative protein source in the Arctic region (academic peer-reviewed journal). 
  • Popular scientific book describing selected heirloom Nordic pea accessions including their history as well as morphological, phenological and agronomical traits.
  • Information about the activities of the network will be continuously published by the communication officer on NordGen’s homepage, Facebook and Instagram. Other network members will also publish information on their institution homepages.
  • NordGen has annually several hundred visitors (students, researchers, politicians, public and commercial sector). The work within the network will be presented to most of these visitors.  
  • Network members will present the project activities on alternative protein sources and Arctic pea cultivation at various conferences, workshops etc.  
  • New characterization and evaluation data resulting from the project will be added to the open access NordGen database GRIN.