Strip-cropping and recycling of waste as the basis for biodiverse and resource-efficient intensive vegetable production will be explored in the SUREVEG project.
The demand for organic vegetables is rising rapidly but cannot be met by current agronomic methods. The lack of attention for biodiversity and soil fertility of current practices may damage the credibility of organic products. There is a clear need for new agronomic methods.
The CORE Organic Cofund project SUREVEG will develop and implement new diversified, intensive cropping systems using strip-cropping and fertility stategies combined form plant-based soil-improvers and fertilizers. The aim is to improve resilience, system sustainability, local nutrient recycling and soil carbon storage. This will be achieved by:
1) Designing and testing strip-cropping systems in vegetable producing countries at different geographical locations in Europe.
2) Developing and testing soil-improvers and fertilizers based on pre-treated organic plant residues.
3) Developing and testing smart technologies for management of strip-cropping systems.
Strong stakeholder involvement
The intensive and diverse production systems will be adjusted to local needs and barriers by early and continuous involvement of stakeholders. The tangible outputs are a database of crop traits and specific advices for farmers’ and advisors’ implementation of strip-cropping systems and fertility strategies. This will include species choice, system designs, soil-improvers’ and fertilizers’ recipes. Other outputs will be field visits, national and transnational meetings, stakeholder-oriented and scientific publications and YouTube videos.
The impact will be to significantly decrease the dependency on bio-pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. Positive environmental impact is expected on water and soil quality and landscape biodiversity, while boosting credibility and productivity of organic vegetables. Impact will derive from the reintegration of nutrients into the soil by changing organic plant residues from being “waste” to “resource”. This is done in the light of EU policy on circular economy, which asks for 30 percent of the phosphorus supply not to originate from chemical fertilizers.
Coordinator: Hanne Lakkenborg Kristensen, Aarhus University, Denmark