For the sake of mankind and the world as a whole a further increase of the sustainability of human behaviour and activities is essential. This applies also to the production of horticultural products as well. Although, in principle, organic horticulture strives to be a sustainable production strategy, much remains to be understood to ensure its sustainability.
This is even more valid for organic greenhouse horticulture. The intensive nature of greenhouse horticulture, e.g. extended growing season, energy use, higher investments, less opportunities for crop rotation and fallow, and large investment in protection or coverage, puts organic greenhouse production in a specific position. This position brings not only new opportunities, but also new challenges to achieve sustainability - not only ecologically, but also economically. New integrated knowledge needs to be developed that will enhance and ensure the sustainability of this specific production system.
The working group on organic greenhouse horticulture of the ISHS aims to contribute to this knowledge development. It wants to share currently-available knowledge, to stimulate the making of a long-term vision and research agenda, to highlight information gaps and to promote international collaboration in research and development of organic greenhouse horticulture. Organic greenhouse horticulture is defined as the production of organic (i.e. only using inputs from natural, non-chemical sources) horticultural crops (vegetables, ornamentals and fruits) in climate-controllable greenhouses and tunnels.
The sphere of work of the working group on organic greenhouse horticulture of the ISHS is related to all aspects of organic greenhouse horticulture, i.e.:
Breeding and cultivar testing
Production of plantlets
Soil and water management
Energy use and management
Product quality, safety and healthiness
Economic, social, ecological and environmental implications
Activities on the subject of composting will be tuned to the activities of the WG “Composting for Horticultural Application”.
Objective of the Working Group
It is the intention of this WG to sponsor a symposium/conference every four years, or more frequently, if desired, to maintain a relatively continuous stream of knowledge sharing among the members of the WG.
Special attention will be given to communicating the results and conclusions of the symposium / conference and all other relevant information among all members. A website and a linked newsletter will be set up to serve as an arena for exchange of knowledge and information. At each symposium/conference, the WG will meet to consider and to decide on strategy and further activities in future. At the start of the WG this may take place more frequently.
Operating under ISHS
At the IHC 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal, the WG has been formally approved as new ISHS working group on "Organic greenhouse horticulture" under the ISH Commission on "Sustainability through Integrated and Organic Horticulture". When appropriate, the WG will co-sponsor other ISHS symposia/conferences that meet the mandate of this WG.