Organic Farm Knowledge – A unique resource with tools for farmers across Europe
Organic Farm Knowledge (https://organic-farmknowledge.org/) intends to promote productivity and quality in organic farming across Europe by providing many tools and knowledge exchange for farmers, farm advisers and scientists. The platform covers a wide range of topics and is constantly expanding its thematic repertoire through new partnerships. Legume Translated Partner FiBL, is running the platform, and Donau Soja of Legumes Transalted is an important contributer.
A great deal of knowledge about organic farming is already available throughout Europe, and it is constantly increasing. However, sometimes it is not easy to acquire this knowledge and to use it. Organic Farm Knowledge addresses this deficiency by providing an easy-to-use platform that offers a search function with numerous filter options.
The toolbox – the core of the platform
The core of the platform is the “toolbox”. Available tools include, for instance, practical tips, factsheets, guides, online calculation tools and videos. The online platform offers the possibility for comments, discussions and questions on topics and resources. By promoting the exchange of good practices, it supports farmers and advisors in putting innovations into practice.
Every tool is described by metadata that helps users to find the most relevant tool addressing their needs. Metadata include the problem the tool addresses, the solution(s) it offers, a description of the tool, the theme(s) covered, the language(s) it can be found in, the year it was released, the country of origin and information about the issuing organisation.
A growing range of topics
Topics covered on the platform cover a wide range of knowledge about organic farming, from arable crops, soil quality and fertility, nutrient management, pest and disease control to pigs, broilers, laying hens, feeding and ration planning and the handling of harvested feed. This facilitates access to practical tools developed within the framework of research projects with farmers playing a central role in building the Organic Farm Knowledge platform from its roots.
Although the topics covered on the platform range widely, the goal is for constant expansion, creation and exchange of innovative knowledge surrounding organic farming. Several European projects have expressed interest or are already committed to supplying tools on themes such as seeds, plant breeding, fruit production, inputs used for organic plant protection, animal production and fertilisation. These tools are expected to be available soon.
Partnerships and knowledge exchange
The Organic Farm Knowledge Platform is a unique resource for organic farmers and advisors for knowledge sharing and exchange, but also for scientists to share and discuss their practice-relevant findings with practitioners across Europe.
The core partners of Organic Farm Knowledge platform are FiBL - the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, ICROFS - International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems, and IFOAM EU - the European Group of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. The collection of knowledge emerged from the Organic Knowledge Network Arable (OK-Net Arable), aimed to improve productivity and quality in organic farming. The platform was then enriched with content from the follow-up project, the Organic Knowledge Network on Monogastric Animal Feed (OK-Net EcoFeed). Donau Soja, one of the core partners of Legumes Translated, is a member of OK-Net Ecofeed.
Several EU research projects and CORE Organic projects (coordination of European transnational research on organic food and farming systems) have joined the Organic Farm Knowledge platform and intend to use it to disseminate their practice-oriented results. The knowledge platform is open to further collaborations which enable the continued growth of knowledge provision by increasing its range of available instruments and topics.
Legume specific tools
With a simple search in the “toolbox” using the keyword “legumes” or “grain legumes”, or a quick look through the “themes & discussion” page, one discovers many interesting and useful legume-related tools. Here are a few available in English:
Utilisation of waste heat from biogas plants for drying fine-grained legumes, practice abstract from OK-Net Ecofeed, Germany: https://organic-farmknowledge.org/tool/37511
Organic Soybean made easy, video from OK-Net Arable and FiBL, Austria: https://organic-farmknowledge.org/tool/32916
Soybean silage, practice abstract from AIAB, Italy: https://organic-farmknowledge.org/tool/32951
Key questions – toolbox
1. How can I find a tool?
For each of the themes of Organic Farm Knowledge, a dedicated theme page has been set up where the tools related to a theme can be found along with some background information. An extensive search function is also available, and tools can be browsed by theme, keyword, tool type, country of origin, organisation and language.
2. How are the themes divided?
Currently, there are the following three subject areas in which the theme pages can be found:
Animal husbandry: animal health, pigs, broilers, laying hens, feeding and ration planning, processing and handling of harvested feed
Crop production: arable farming, soil quality and fertility, nutrient management, pest and disease control, weed control, cropping systems
Seeds and breeding: seed production, plant breeding and variety trials, seed quality, the market and regulation of organic seeds
3. Are the tools available in all languages?
While not all tools are available in all languages, their summaries and key recommendations are translated – via automatic translation – into Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Serbian, Spanish and Swedish. The language toggle is located in the upper right-hand corner of the webpage.
4. How can I inform myself about new tools?
All tools are announced on the Organic Farm Knowledge platform with a news item. The latest tools are also highlighted in a separate box on the homepage and on the relevant theme pages.
5. Can I rate and comment on a tool or engage in discussions?
The Organic Farm Knowledge Platform offers the opportunity to rate tools. For discussions, we offer the Organic Farm Knowledge Facebook page and Twitter account, where each tool is posted and can be commented upon. Also, the discussion function, DISQUS on the platform itself, can be used.
Dr. Bram Moeskops, IFOAM EU, Bram.moeskops(at)ifoam-eu.org
Dr. Helga Willer, FiBL Switzerland, helga.willer(at)fibl.org
Leo Rittler, Donau Soja, email@example.com
Andreas Basler, FiBL Switzerland, andreas.basler(at)fibl.org
Organic Farm Knowledge platform website - https://organic-farmknowledge.org/