Matchmaking day: living labs and lighthouses in agriculture and food

NKJ has an open call for networks in agriculture and food. We want as many nordic researchers as possible to exchange knowledge, therefore we arrange a matchmaking day for you to find new colleagues, to elaborate your scientific project further and to get inspired.

 

When: December 14th 2023, 13.30–16.00 CET
Where: Online via Zoom, link will be sent out in advance of the meeting
Registration: Register to the event by sending an email (name, research area and institution) to

 

The main goal of the Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ is to establish 100 living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030.

On the matchmaking day we take a deep dive into how you as a researcher can utilize living labs and lighthouses. We also offer an opportunity to connect with other researchers who are looking for collaboration opportunities on research connected to living labs and/or light houses. Matchmaking with other researchers will be carried out in smaller groups to maximaze the chance for the participants to gain new contacts in their own area of interest.

The groups will mainly focus on food and agricultural research in living labs/light houses connected to:

  • Climate resilience
  • Soil health
  • Plant health

You will be inspired by speakers from light houses and living labs in the Nordic region. NKJ will also inform you about the current open call that can fund your future networking activities.

AGENDA
13.30
Welcome
13.35 Inspiration talk: PLEN Living Labs
13.55 Inspiration talk: cooperation on light houses, Mære landbruksskole
14.15 How to apply for funds from NKJ: tips and trix
14.30 Networking workshop
16.00 Finish

Funding opportunity for agricultural and food researchers

OPEN CALL: NKJ now welcomes applications from researcher networks in all aspects of food and agriculture. We want to facilitate collaboration between researchers in the Nordic countries, increase synergies and bridge gaps between research and practice.

Deadline for application: 31 januari 2024

 

This call is open to applicants from all fields of research within food and agriculture. NKJ wants to facilitate collaboration between researchers in the Nordic countries and link national research projects where considerable positive outcomes can be reached through a wider regional scope. Nordic collaboration increase synergies in agriculture and food sector research.

NKJ supports the creation of Nordic networks of researchers that can make it easier to apply for funding and participate in European collaborations e.g. Horizon Europe.

To have the chance to be granted, the network should include applicants from at least three Nordic countries. Each gender must be represented by a minimum of 40% of the participants in the network, and NKJ welcomes applicants and participants of other genders. Young researchers should be included in the network.

Network outputs should be useful for the Nordic community and should include knowledge exchange across national borders.

You can apply for maximum 300.000 SEK, and you will need co-financing of at least 50% of the total budget.

 

The focus areas in the NKJ strategy can give you some inspiration:

  • Increase sustainability and resilience in agriculture and food production in a growing bioeconomy
  • Strengthen the Nordic region’s position in agricultural and food research within Europe
  • Use land resources as a basis for value creation and regional development as well as improved supply capacity, reduced environmental and climate impact and better adaptation to the climate
  • Strengthen the knowledge base for sustainable reindeer husbandry
  • Strengthen and develop the New Nordic Food project to promote Nordic food culture and strengthen the food system
  • Strengthen equality within the bioeconomy with a particular focus on gender and the position of children and youth

 

BUT this call is open for applicants from all fields of research within food and agriculture!

 

Call text

Application form

NKJ strategy

Gender equality guidelines

Networking for reduced post-harvest losses in apples

Only a minor share of the consumed apples in Nordic countries are domestically produced.  Therefore, minimal post-harvest losses are critical to better satisfy consumers’ demand for locally produced fruit and to improve growers’ economy.
Text: Larisa Gustavsson

 

Researchers, stakeholders and decision makers has gathered during the last two years, to exchange and assemble knowledge and pave the way for efficient collaboration on storage losses.

The common strategic goal has been to minimize post-harvest losses due to storage decay.  To achieve that, the network Nordic Apple Network brought together researchers and stakeholders in two informative meetings and moved forward in our understanding of important pre- and post-harvest factors leading to development of storage rots.

This has also had an immediate impact, since some ideas for new research projects were developed. For example:

• Which are the main causes for postharvest losses?
• Physiological disorders – conditions on which these are occurring
• Fungal diseases – how to identify them?

A platform for a long-term collaboration involving researchers and the apple industries in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland has been built.

Photo: Private

Two new NKJ funded networks in agroecology and soil health

Two new networks are granted funding after the latest NKJ call in soil health and agroecology connected to living labs and calls in Horizon Europe.

 

The deadline for application was April 1st. The NKJ board decided, at its latest meeting in May, to fund two new networks: CoverCropsNordic and TerraNordica.

The focus areas of the call was soil health and agroecology connected to living labs and calls in Horizon Europe. The aim of the call was to promote Nordic collaboration between researchers from agricultural and food sectors by networking activities. Transdisciplinary networks between researchers and stakeholders was especially encouraged.

CoverCropsNordic will work to improve the understanding of the effects of cover crops on greenhouse gas balances, particularly under humid and temperate conditions of Northern Europe. The participants see a great interest among farmers for adopting cover crops in the crop rotation, but also an urgent need to exchange experiences about how to avoid the risk of draw-backs by using appropriate species and management. The network will focus on soil health and agroecology by using cover cropping.

NKJ is looking forward to the outcomes of this much needed initiative!

TerraNordica aims to provide guidelines on how agroecological management systems can be analysed on their effects on soil health by identifying a set of robust indicators. The network will contribute to structure and support a network of living labs and research infrastructures that will accelerate the transition towards agroecology throughout Europe.

“The significance of the work proposed in TerraNordica lies in improved understanding of the interaction between agroecological management systems and soil health” wrote the applicants in their application.

NKJ will follow the work with great interest!

NKJ will report on the activities in these new researcher networks in our newsletter and in our social medias:

 
Find all NKJ funded researcher networks here!

Discuss sustainable food systems in different Nordic contexts

What do sustainable agro-marine food systems mean in different Nordic contexts? This is the focus for an upcoming webinar (June 14th) arranged by an NKJ co-funded network.

 

Formally, the Nordic region consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and the self-governed Danish areas of Greenland, the Faeroe Islands and the Finnish self-governed isles of Åland. Altogether it is an area of 3,5 million km² with a total of 25 million inhabitants. If on one hand, the Nordic countries share many characteristics and give place to a common food culture, on the other there are also enormous differences among them.

Aim of this webinar is to explore the commonalities, differences and peculiarities of the Nordic national food systems and try to understand if there is just one common Nordic approach to food sustainability or many.

You are warmly welcome to join our webinar and join the discussion about the Nordic food systems!

The time for the webinar is 14th of June 2023, 12:00 – 14:00 CET (UTC +2).

Please register by June 12th!


Agenda for the webinar (CET time)

12:00 Welcoming words Silvia Gaiani, Senior Researcher at Helsinki University Ruralia Institute and Coordinator of the NKJ funded Nordic Research Network

12:05 Introduction by the moderator Maja Kruuse, ICE Innovation Festival in Kirkenes, Norway

12:15 The Norwegian food system with a special view to food consumption and sustainability Gunnar Vittersø, Senior Researcher, SIFO – National Institute for Consumer Research, OSLOMET, Norway

12:30 The Finnish food system: A selection of specificities and issues Xavier Irz, Professor, Department of Economics and Management – Agricultural Economics – University of Helsinki, Finland 

12:45 Sustainable food provision from an indigenous perspective – Sami perspectives from Sweden Ildiko Aztalos Morell, Associate Professor in Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

13:00 Local knowledge and skill sharing – a key pillar of sustainability and resilience to the Faroese food system Sunniva Gudmundsdóttir Mortensen, anthropologist, food activist and social entrepreneur, Faroe Islands

13:15 Barriers to a circular blue bioeconomy in Iceland Nína M. Saviolidis, Post-doc researcher, University of Iceland, Iceland

13:30 Importance of innovation and collaboration in the food system in Denmark Lars Visbech Sørensen, CEO, Food Bio cluster Denmark, Denmark

13:45-14:00 Q&A

 

Contact:
Silvia Gaiani

Iida Alasentie

Here are the projects that will create our future food

Nordic food has achieved new milestones: four projects were granted funding in the New Nordic Food latest call.

 

1 Food as a pedagogical tool is a project addressing the challenge of sustainable eating habits as it is strongly connected to climate change, biodiversity loss, resilience of Nordic communities, low food self-sufficiency and loss of traditional knowledge. It also address teachers need of relevant and updated educational material and methods on sustainable food production and consumption.

This will be achieved by gathering, co-creating with pupils and testing food education models for schools (pupils ages 12-16) were school meals, food and route of food function as a practical pedagogical tool.

The project is a part of the bigger project Food education for future (FeFF), which aims to increase teachers’ and municipal employees’ knowledge of sustainable food and how an increased degree of self-sufficiency of food can be an adaptation to counteract climate change and support resilience in Nordic areas.

 

2 Building a New Nordic Food and sustainability program is a program with the long-term objectives to ensure an increased focus on sustainability and New Nordic Food within UWC Red Cross Nordic as a showcase for other similar schools and actors. The three primary short-term objectives of the project are to
1) Change the culinary profile of the school food into a Nordic Food and sustainable profile
2) Increase students’ knowledge and capacity regarding local foods and sustainability
3) Bring the knowledge from the project into humanitarian work with young people attending Red Cross ‘summer camps’ and students from ‘lejrskoler’ located at the UWC RCN campus.

 

3 Ungdommens Madmøde is a part of the bigger project Madens Folkemøde, which is a recurring event regarding food and food systems including among other things, master classes, workshops and food experiences. Now it is wanted to also include the children and youth in the event and this is to be done by the project Ungdommens Madmøde.

The hope is to create a platform for experts, teachers and institutions who are working with healthy, sustainable and locally produced food to children in the Nordic countries and at the same time involve children in the activities of the event. The objectives of the project are to
1) Create a Nordic Youth Food Meeting that practices the natural and culinary community that is Nordic food. And thereby show how positive experiences can involvechildren in a sustainable, Nordic food culture.
2) Create a – preferably an annually recurring – Nordic symposium to develop food experiences for children and how food for children is part of the major social challenges.
3) Increase public interest in the societal goals that can be achieved by working with prevalence and quality and Nordic ideals in public meals for children.

4 Seminar på Røros (Norge) om «terroir» og lokale smaker knyttet til nordiske melkeprodukter is a project which aims to create a Nordic arena for the exchange of expertise and knowledge between the professional community, business, educational institutions and future farmers and employees in the industry.

This is done by arranging a seminar at the dairy Rørosmeieriet. Rørosmeieriet is the largest dairy in Norway which produces organic milk and milk products and the place where it is located, Røros, is an important area for locally produced food and food products.

 

What is New Nordic Food?

Join the TARANDUS workshop on reindeer and feeding related diseases

Welcome to the 4th TARANDUS workshop in Norway 7-8 March 2023. Find full program here, and more information here!

 

Photo: Javier Sánchez Romano, UiT the Arctic University of Norway.

“Feeding related diseases and other threats to reindeer populations” is the title of the fourth workshop within the TARANDUS network. Read about the three previous ones.

The event will take place in Norway on 7-8th of March 2023. The venue is the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel. More information is available here. The workshop will also be livestreamed in Teams.

Target group for this workshop are reindeer researchers, veterinarians, particularly those working in the reindeer herding regions, and other stakeholders focusing on reindeer husbandry and climate change adaptation.

The registration is closed, but it’s still possible to attend online. Program is available here. If you have questions about the TARANDUS network membership and activities, please send an email to Anna ().

The workshop will be coordinated by UiT the Arctic University of Norway and the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, in cooperation with the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Sweden.

Concrete tools for checking the health of soil

Researchers have gathered science based information from different Nordic countries in a manual on how to check out the health of soil with low-tech methods, readily available and easy to use for farmers and others. The researchers also provide strategies for improving soil health. 

 

During 2021-2022 researchers gathered in the network “Nordic Network on soil health” (NetSH). They shared research, knowledge and experiences on how to improve and sustain soil health in Nordic agricultural soils. They shared the most relevant low-tech methods for evaluating soil health with each other and in workshops.

Healthy soil functions are important for healthy soil-plant ecosystems on the farms, so strategies for farmers to improve and sustain soil functions, soil structure and soil biology have been in focus. 

NetSH also held an open webinar, “Soil health in the Nordic region”, that gained a lot of attention with 130 participants. In addition to this, there were two online meetings and one on-soil workshop arranged by the network.

Lars Munkholm (Aarhus University) and Annette Vestergaard (SEGES) demonstrating ”Tjek jordens sundhed”, the Danish variant of soil health evaluation on the workshop in Norway (NIBIO Apelsvoll) in June 2022.
Photo: Reidun Pommeresche, NORSØK

MANUALS: How to check your soil?

Methods to evaluate soil health on farms has been demonstrated to make them available to as many as possible. Assessment of soil structure, soil compaction, root growth and soil biology has been discussed in the network and knowledge has been exchanged.

The most important tool is the spade combined with sensory evaluations, including pressing soil clumps between your fingers to evaluate how easily they brake and checking the smell of the soil in different depths.

The manuals are available in four Nordic languages:

• Norwegian: Jordlappen

• Danish: Tjek jordens sundhed

• Finnish: MARA Maan rakenteen aistinvarainen arviointi (2019) – Avointen oppimateriaalien kirjasto (aoe.fi) and Peltomaan laatutesti, Microsoft Word – Peltomaan_laatutesti_Havainto_ohjeet2.doc (proagria.fi)

• Swedish: Hur mår min jord?

These methods give a high score to soils with good structure with raisin shaped (rounded and porous) soil aggregates, deep and well growing plant roots, how easily the soil clumps brake, not to hard soil pans and the presence of several pink (inside) root noodles on legume roots and some earthworms in the soil. A healthy soil should relatively fast decompose organic matter, have some dark brown to black color due to organic matter content and have a smell of different fungi, like forest soils. All these methods include focus on comparing soil samples taken with a spade and to visualize and discuss soil functions and soil health with the farmers.

A selection of different low-cost methods showed under the NetSH workshop to visualize and discuss different aspects of soil health, like soil structure, aggregate stability and soil biology. Photo: Sissel Hansen/Reidun Pommeresche, NORSØK

  

 Compacted soil – a common Nordic problem

In the Nordic region we all experience the most severe soil problems in vegetable and cereal production. Much of this can be linked to soil compaction, with a very hard pan (zone) just below the tillage depth. But also in grass production there are soil structural and drainage challenges. In many cereal fields and some grass fields the straw and plant residues decompose very slowly or almost not at all.

In the Nordic region the soil types range from organic (peat) agricultural soils with more than 40 % soil organic matter to different mineral soils with low content of organic matter. In some areas the content of soil organic carbon (SOC) is creeping under 1,5 % (= 3 % soil organic matter SOM) which often is highlighted as a critical lower limit to several soil functions. In our Nordic cool conditions, we discussed that the content have to be higher than this for the soil to function well. 

 

Some strategies to improve soil health

A selection of strategies to improve soil health in the Nordic region as discussed in the Network-meetings and on the workshop is listed here. The order of the key words is not ranked.

Mineral soil:
How to improve soil biology? Input of plant residues and other organic material, better crop rotations and plant diversity, enough water and oxygen in the soil, increase the content of SOM if it is very low.
How to improve aggregate stability? Ley (grass/clover) in the crop rotation, green plants most of the year, use of animal manure and compost, and liming with limestone or natural gypsum.
How to avoid soil compaction and improve soil structure? Lowering tire load and tire pressure and not driving on wet soil. Use a mixture of cover crops, sub crop in cereal and when deep tillage is used, sow plants immediately.
How to improve the decomposition rate of straw and plant residues in the soil? Cover crops, cut the material before incorporation, check for drainage problems. Oxygen and gas exchange  very important for decomposition. Improve soil structure.
How to loosen a hard ploughing pan? Crop rotation + mechanically subsoiling, alfa alfa 2 years and animal manure/sludge.

Peaty soil:
In agricultural organic (peat) soil the aim should be to reduce carbon losses, instead of trying to increase the carbon content. Improve the soil structure from above, not plowing organic material to deep.

Let the spade become your friend

The Nordic farmer should use the spade to check their soils and a more diverse crop rotation as a start to improve soil health. Focus on soil structure and year around green plant cover will be useful in a future with a more unstable climate, with more heavy rains and droughts.

Some of the participants in the network Sustain Nordic soil health (NetSH) from the workshop June 20-21 2022 in Norway. From left to right in front: Reidun Pommeresche (NORSØK, network leader), Sissel Hansen (NORSØK), Mika Tähtikarhu (Luke), Henrik Vestergaard Poulsen (SEGES), Lars J. Munkholm (Aarhus University), Åsa Myrbeck (RISE), Pirjo Kivijärvi (Luke), Tatiana Rittl (NORSØK) and Mette Thomsen (NIBIO). 2. row from left to right: Franziska Fischer (NIBIO), Till Sehusen (NIBIO). 3. row from right to left: Randi B. Frøseth (NIBIO), Sari Iivonen (FORI/Luke) and Annette V. Vestergaard (SEGES). And in the back Frederik Bøe (NIBIO) and Thomas Julseth Brown.

 

Contact
Sustain Nordic soil health (NetSH)
Reidun Pommeresche, Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture (NORSØK)

 
 

 

Workshop: infectious diseases, parasites and future challenges for future reindeer husbandry

TARANDUS network arranges their third workshop 13-14 September 2022, this time in Rovaniemi, Finland. There will be three main focuses.

 

Photo: Lotta Berg, SLU

The themes discussed in the workshop are these:

  • Current status of infectious diseases in reindeer
  • Parasites
  • Challenges for future reindeer husbandry and pastoralism

Program with speakers is found here. The research presentations can also be followed from Teams.

The location for the event is Arktikum Science Centre in Rovaniemi. A study visit to Sieriporo reindeer farm is also planned.

Scientists and students on reindeer biology, herding and pastoralism are hereby invited to present their experiments and results at the workshop. If you do not have detailed results but would like to introduce your project, you are most welcome. Contact no later than 15th of August 2022.

The workshop will be coordinated by the Natural Resources Institute (LUKE), Finland, in cooperation with the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Sweden.

Registration to the workshop Register August 26th at the latest!

 

If you are interested to join the TARANDUS network, contact Anna Omazic ().

Bridge builders network spread knowledge on international conference

The NKJ network Bridge builders participated in the 12th International Conference on Culinary Arts and Sciences (ICCAS 2022) was held in Lyon, France, on June 1st-3rd.
Text: Sari Ranta, coordinator Bridge builders

 

Bridge builders presented their activities at the ICCAS 2022 in order to discuss how a multidisciplinary approach can contribute with new knowledge to promote sustainable healthy aging in relation to food, nutrition, health and well-being services.

Researchers and practitioners were also invited to join the network, and to attend the webinar 14th of June.

Both the presentation and the invitation rose interest and opened opportunities to get to know new colleagues and to strengthen our co-work in ongoing and future research areas related to healthy eating and aging from a holistic perspective.

The 12th International Conference on Culinary Arts and Sciences (ICCAS 2022) was held in Lyon, France, on June 1st-3rd. Lyon, which is the capital of French gastronomy, besides serving great food also provided a wide variety of interesting topics and findings to support health and well-being and enhance the development of the food science, food industry and food services. ICCAS has initially been found as a forum for culinary artists, food scientists and food industry to have an international conference where all sides can get to know each other’s’ work, share ideas and built networks. This concept has shown to be beneficial and successful.

The theme of this conference was sustainable meal systems worldwide: Challenges for culinary arts and sciences. Topics included sustainability, meal systems, food culture, foodservice and hospitality, food systems and politics, the resilience of the food and food service sector in a crisis context, food marketing, food habits and consumer behavior, food science and safety and nutrition and wellbeing. All this was packed in seven sessions of oral presentations and 28 posters filled with interesting settings, methods and findings. Since the “menu” was so versatile and full of choices, everyone was able to find special scientific treats to please one’s needs.

The conference was hosted by the Institute Paul Bocuse, which is a leading higher education school in culinary arts, food service and hospitality. The program included a visit to the Institute’s culinary school, research center and living labs where a culinary demo and tasting as well as a reception were held.

 

More information
">sari.ranta(at)xamk.fi

Publication
Michaud, M., Giboreau, A. and Perez-Cueto, A. (eds.) 2022. Twelfth International Conference on Culinary Arts and Sciences. ISBN 2275-5748 – Lyon, June 2022

 

The network Bridge builders – Building sustainable nutritional bridges between research and health and wellbeing services for elderly consists of expertise in food and nutrition research (healthy food, alternative proteins, mealtime interventions, aging) as well as in service applications and good practices (dietary habits and environments, training of social and health professionals). Participants represent Denmark (University College Copenhagen), Finland (South-Eastern University of Applied Sciences), Norway (University of Stavanger) and Sweden (Linnaeus University).