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.

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

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 ( and Peltomaan laatutesti, Microsoft Word – Peltomaan_laatutesti_Havainto_ohjeet2.doc (

• 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.


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



NKJ ska undersöka motståndskraften mot samhälleliga kriser

Klarar vi nordbor oss om det blir kris? De nordiska samhällena har nyligen drabbats av flera större, oförutsägbara händelser med stark påverkan på viktiga samhällssystem, som till exempel stora skogsbränder, pandemi och krig i närområdet. Dessa kriser har väckt frågor om vilken beredskap som finns i samhället och hur god förmågan att hantera större störningar faktiskt är.


Kriser påverkar samhället på flera sätt. Även bioekonomin påverkas, oavsett om krisen utgörs av klimatförändringar, pandemi eller krig och konflikter.

Länder går samman för att samarbeta kring militärt försvar – nationella lösningar kan stärkas genom aktiva samarbeten mellan länder. På samma sätt behövs gemensamma strategier för till exempel försörjning.

I Norden finns redan starka kopplingar mellan länderna inom områdena skog, jordbruk, livsmedel och fisk. Det finns alltså goda förutsättningar för att öka och formalisera den gemensamma beredskapen inom Norden och därmed stärka resiliensen* i alla länderna i händelse av kris.

Nordic Agri Research (NKJ) och Nordic Forest Research (SNS) har fått i uppdrag av Nordiska Ministerrådet att undersöka och utveckla resiliensen i den nordiska bioekonomin.

 Vi kommer att ställa frågor som

  • Vilka är de kritiska länkarna i värdekedjorna inom den nordiska bioekonomin och hur påverkas dessa i kristider?
  • Hur påverkas arbetskraft, energipriser, insatsvaror och investeringar av den osäkerhet som kriser skapar?


Det här vill vi åstadkomma:

  • Ökad dialog och kunskap om resiliens i Norden
  • Nordiska samarbeten och gemensamma insatser
  • Policyrekommendationer för fortsatt arbete


Under maj-juni 2022 genomfördes en förstudie i form av kartläggning och analys av insatser som redan är på gång när det gäller resiliens i tider av kris i de olika nordisk länderna. Kartläggningen visar att det finns ett stort intresse för ämnet kris, resiliens och beredskap i Norden och att det pågår en rad insatser på ämnet.


Workshop för framtiden

Under november 2022 kommer NKJ och SNS att arrangera fyra workshoppar med sakkunniga för att diskutera områden som är viktiga för att stärka resiliensen i den nordiska bioekonomin.

Jordbruk: 7 nov, 9-11 CET
Livsmedel: 8 nov, 9-11 CET
Skogsbruk: 14 nov, 9-11 CET
Fiske: 15 nov, 9-11 CET

Är du expert inom något av de aktuella områdena och vill delta i att stärka den nordiska resiliensen? Anmäl dig nu! Deadline är 24 oktober.

Anmäl dig här!


*Resiliens är den långsiktiga förmågan hos ett system att hantera förändringar och fortsätta att utvecklas. 

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 ().

Food for elderly arises vivid debate

The open webinar arranged by the NKJ network Bridge Builders for researchers and professionals working in elderly care.
Text: Sari Ranta

After having arranged two workshops and participating the ICCAS conference in Lyon, the Bridge Builders network organized an open webinar on the 14th of June 2022.  It was for researchers, teachers and health and social care professionals working in elderly care. Due to the covid restrictions a webinar proved to be a workable solution.

The first part of the webinar consisted of Danish Breakfast Club studies (2018-2022) presented by Lise Justesen (University College Copenhagen), followed by a Swedish Creating caring places study presented by Anna Sandgren (Linnaeus University).  Both of these studies took place in a nursing home context. 

Three phases in the study

The Breakfast Club study, Hospitable meal practices as rehabilitation strategies in nursing homes, consists of three phases.  The first part (2018) included an ethnographic study and baseline measurements after which during the second part (2019) focus was on residents’ food related functionality, quality of life and principals for their involvement in food related activities. During the third part (2021) dynamic hospitality was implemented as everyday meal practices.

Malnourishment in nursing homes

The Swedish study, Creating caring spaces – development of mealtime interventions in nursing homes, points out that 50% of the residents in nursing homes are malnourished, 90% of people with dementia develop at some time behavioral and psychological symptoms and the mealtime is a key social focal point and occupies a large proportion of activity during a day. In this study Five Aspect Meal Model (FAMM) was used. This model is originally a tool for developing meal services in restaurants. The Room, the Meeting and Product together form the Atmosphere. The management control system serves as a tool for control and logistics. The aim was to develop interventions that target and expand caring qualities of mealtime environments for people living with dementia and besides this to optimize mealtime environments in nursing homes in a way that support health, QoL and well-being of the residents. 

The second session of the webinar started with a presentation named Development of healthy food -Healthy and sustainable foods for elderly by Cornelia Witthöft and Mohammed Hefni (Linnaeus University) from Sweden.  Food science is widely presented at the university of Linnaeus where research activities cover food chemistry and food composition, functional plant foods for a healthy diet, nutrition policies and sustainability, nutrition and bioavailability and food processing for functional ingredients. Special attention has been focused on the role of legumes in promoting health. Development of ingredients for new legume food, especially those that are folate-enhanced, has been emphasized. Also studies of bread with low GI, clinical intervention studies to enhance gut health and assessment of metabolic effects and identification of dietary biomarkers of legume intake using metabolomics and microbiomics have been carried out. One central aim has been to find sustainable ways to reduce the consumption of meat. To meet current and future societal changes we need interdisciplinary knowledge environments to gather prominent research, education, and collaboration.

The last presentation was by Kai-Victor Myrnes-Hansen (University of Stavanger, Norway) whose topic was Elderly and meal knowledge. He covered the impact of color of porcelain, how presentation can increase appetite, and knowledge of food can promote healthy life. Fridge stories vividly illustrated, how just one look into the fridge can reveal the state of the eating and meals of an elderly person living at home. The presentation covered the relations of good food, good health and good economy and rose the question what´s next. We need to figure out how we can join forces, increase cross-sectional research, develop education and the care to the best for the elderly and find out what it is, what they want.

Presentations rose questions and vivid conversation. Topics varied from theory and models to settings and methods, even to new ways of pizza baking. It seems that the network needs people outside universities, people who can put the scientific findings into action in the so-called real life. We are missing and inviting practitioners, such as nurses and social workers as well as service entrepreneurs and producers to join the network.  Based on what was heard and learned it is interesting to head towards planning future actions in the fall.


Bridge builders – Building sustainable nutritional bridges between research and health and wellbeing services for elderly
• Bridge Builders 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).


More information




Nordic workshop for interested in health and welfare of wild reindeer populations

Welcome to the 2nd TARANDUS workshop 26 April 2022!

Photo: Skarphéðinn Þórisson

The second workshop within the TARANDUS network will focus on health and welfare of wild reindeer populations. It will be coordinated by the East Iceland Nature Research Centre in cooperation with the National Veterinary Institute (SVA). As we are living in uncertain times when it comes to international travelling, we have decided to make it digital.

The workshop starts 13.00 and end 17.00 on 26th April 2022. Everybody interested is most welcome to join!



If you are a PhD student (or Post Doc) and would like to be engaged in the TARANDUS PhD network, please send an e-mail to Karin Wallin (). We would like to invite all PhD students and Post Docs to join a meeting 10.00-12.00 on 27th of April 2022 in order to discuss your ongoing field work and/or manuscript.

The TARANDUS network gathers reindeer researchers from Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The network will cover many aspects of reindeer health and welfare linked to climate change. Please, contact Anna Omazic if you are interested to join the TARANDUS network. Web page

Follow NKJ in social media (links below) or register for the newsletter to get all updates!

NKJ soc media:




NKJ network gets proposal accepted

The NKJ researcher network Bridge Builders has arranged their second workshop in Stavanger with good results and very happy participants.


The main goal for the workshop was to plan and co-write an abstract/presentation proposal for ICCAS 2022, (International Conference on Culinary Arts and Sciences 2022; Sustainable meal systems worldwide: Challenges for Culinary Arts and Sciences). The proposal was accepted in December 2021!

During our workshop we also had a chance to meet Stavanger’s PhD candidates, one of whom gave us an inspiring presentation of her research among the elderly. Discussions about future actions within education development were vivid as well as discussions about joint research and funding possibilities for continuing the network activities. Collaboration procedures, network theories and various approaches deserve further attention as well as strengthening the ways of sharing currently available materials.

The workshop offered us a stage to meet each other in person, an opportunity to get to know each other and our different ways of working, and to write together.  The workshop was described being mind opening, it strengthened the network, helped clarify our purpose and revealed a need of future discussions and preparations. Our meeting and days at Stavanger were filled with warm Norwegian spirit and overflowing hospitality.

At the coming conference, our network’s aim is to present the activities of the Bridge Builders network 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. We would furthermore like to invite researchers and practitioners who participate in the congress to join the network.

This spring we will continue our monthly online meetings and presentations of ongoing and future research areas related to healthy eating and aging from a holistic perspective. Also Erasmus+ exchange between several partners will go on as well as the preparation of articles and conference contributions.

Bridge Builders 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).

Extended networking on reindeer health and welfare

The interest for reindeer husbandry and climate change is big. The NKJ funded network Tarandus has grown from 20 to 100 members during the year.


Reindeer health and animal welfare was the focus for the first network meeting, held 23-24 november in Kiruna, Sweden. The two day workshop included several presentations as well as discussions and networking. The organizers hope for an increase in collaborations on the subject across the Nordic countries after the meeting.

The participants are researchers and others who work in various ways with reindeer health and welfare, infectious diseases, supplementary feeding and health of wild reindeer. Some joined physically in Kiruna, others participated digitally.

Next Tarandus workshop, with the theme infectious diseases, will be coordinated by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) with satellite activities and study visit.

Nordic workshop for interested in reindeer health and welfare

Welcome to the 1st TARANDUS workshop 23-24 November in Kiruna, Sweden.


The first lunch to lunch workshop within the TARANDUS network will focus on animal health and welfare, coordinated by the National Veterinary Institute (SVA). The accommodation will be hotel Ripan in Kiruna, Sweden, 23-24 November 2021.

If it’s not possible for you to join us in Kiruna, you will be able to join part of the workshop program digitally. If the covid-19 pandemic will stop us from having a physical meeting in Kiruna, then we will arrange a digital workshop for all participants.


Info and registration (at the latest Oct 15th) here


The TARANDUS network gathers reindeer researchers from Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The network will cover many aspects of reindeer health and welfare linked to climate change.

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