19 January 2021
Intercropping for sustainability

Two-day Conference with AAB, DIVERSify and ReMIX at Reading University

6 September 2021
Organic World Congress 2021

New date! Postponed from September 2020

30 July 2020
ORC welcomes the National Food Strategy

The first major reviewof our food system in 75 years

24 July 2020
The future of organic farming and the environment

All to play for if full benefits of organic farming for wildlife, the environment and health are to be realised

29 April 2020
Tim Bennett is the new Chair of ORC

Former NFU president takes on chairmanship of Organic Research Centre

Organic Plus

Full project title:

Organic Plus - Pathways to phase-out contentious inputs from organic agriculture in Europe



Project code:


Contract period:

1 May 2018 to 30 April 2022

Project webpage:


Main funder:

EU H2020

Contact staff at ORC:

Dr. Marion Johnson

Other staff involved:

Susanne Padel, Lindsay Whistance

Project aims

Overall aim of providing high quality, trans-disciplinary, scientifically informed decision support to help all actors in the organic sector, including national and regional policy makers, to reach the next level of the organic success story in Europe. By doing so, organic food systems can be more true to organic principles.

Organic-PLUS has four objectives:

  1. to identify and evaluate contentious inputs currently used in European agriculture
  2. to provide specific technical solutions to minimise or phase-out their use
  3. to provide environmental, social and economic assessments of phase-out scenarios
  4. to disseminate and broker knowledge, ideas and results to maximise impact.
The multi-actor consortium comprises of 10 universities and 15 research organisations and NGOs from 9 EU and 3 associated countries, including scientists from a wide range of academic disciplines and involging advisors, farmers and other stakeholders in a participatory research design.

  • WP PLANTS researches alternatives to copper and mineral oils used for plant protection, working on potatoes, glasshouse crops and perennial Mediterranean crops.
  • WP LIVESTOCK considers the use of natural plant sources of vitamins as alternatives to synthetic products and the use of alternative and novel bedding materials in place of straw from conventional farms through in vitro experiments and replicated trials.

  • WP SOIL considers alternatives to the use of manure from non-organic farms and other animal-derived fertility inputs such as blood and bone meal, including legume-based fertilisers and lternatives to peat and non-degradable plastic used as a weed supressing mulch. All experimental work is conducted in multiple European countries in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders including product manufactures and commercial farmers and growers.
  • WP IMPACT collects information concerning current consumer conceptions of contentious inputs (using surveys and citizen juries), establishes a comprehensive database of key stakeholders throughout Europe and coordination of dissemination activities.
  • WP MODEL develops scenarios for the phasing out of contentious inputs from organic agriculture, including environmental and sustainability assessments of the proposed alternatives using a variety of life cycle assessment tools.
  • WP LEAD coordinates the project, ensuring transparent and participatory communication flow across workpackages and among the multi-actor stakeholders and with business and policy actors.
The results of the project are disseminated through a variety of different mechanisms, including peer-reviewed academic journal articles, trade and farmer-facing publications, social media, on-farm events, demonstration and training activities, conferences and policy workshops.

ORC's role

  • Contribution to mapping of the use of contentious inputs in organic farming
  • Carry out on-farm trials of dairy heifer growth and health status, using plant-based products
  • Overall project contribution

Project leader and partners

  1. Coventry University CU United Kingdom
  2. University of Thessaly UTH Greece
  3. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique INRA France
  4. Universty of Padova UNIPD Italy
  5. University of Hohenheim UoH Germany
  6. Aarhus University AU Denmark
  7. Częstochowa University of Technology CUT Poland
  8. Landbrug & Fodevarer F.m.b.A. (SEGES) – L&S L&S Denmark
  9. Food and Agricultural Research Institute IRTA IRTA Spain
  10. IFAPA Almeria IFAPA Spain
  11. Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock MFAL Turkey
  12. Association of Ecological Agriculture ETO Turkey
  13. Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture NORSOK Norway
  14. Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL Switzerland
  15. Swedish University of Agricultural Science SLU Sweden
  16. University or Parma UNIPR Italy
  17. VetAgro-Sup (ABioDoc) ABioDoc France
  18. Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy ATB Germany
  19. Royal Horticultural Society RHS UK
  20. Soil Association SA UK
  21. Forschungsring FORI Germany
  22. Escola Agrària de Manresa ESA Spain
  23. Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences HIOA Norway
  24. University of Catania, Sicily UNICT Italy
  25. Organic Research Centre ORC UK