The International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS) was founded in 2008. The centre is an expansion of the former Danish Agricultural Research Centre for Organic Farming (DARCOF), which the Danish Government decided to provide with an international mandate and an international board.
The vision of ICROFS or the "Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)" is that
"the principles of organic agriculture have become a global reference for sustainability in agriculture and food systems due to evidence based on research and adaptive management."
Read the pdf leaflet about ICROFS...
A centre without walls
The International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS) is a "centre without walls,"
where the research is performed in interdisciplinary
collaboration between research groups in different
institutions and universities.
The Centre will contribute to the coordination, management and performance of strategic and user oriented, high quality research at the national as well as the international level, on the basis of the organic philosophy and organic principles and issues.
ICROFS is headed by a Board of directors consisting
of research leaders and stakeholders from Asia,
Africa, America, Europe, and Denmark. The board
will develop and evaluate the Centre's vision and strategy for enhancing international research in organic food systems.
Further, to oversee and advise on the Centre's national research and development activities in Denmark, a Danish programme committee has been appointed, with representatives from universities, farmers' associations and NGOs affiliated with
As the coordinating centre for Danish research in organic farming, researchers working on the so-called DARCOF III research projects remain in their own research environment but collaborate across institutes. This type of collaboration currently implicates about 100 research scientists working at nearly 20 different institutes.
The ICROFS secretariat consists of eight scientific and communication staff.
The secretariat of ICROFS initiates, coordinates, and participates in national and international research activities in organic farming and food systems. It is also very active in disseminating organic research results and knowledge on the importance of organic food systems to the environment, nature and biodiversity, animal welfare, health, food safety and quality, economy, structural and market development as well as social significance. Moreover, the Centre promotes understanding of the characteristics of organic food systems and contributes to a knowledge-based development of organic food systems, nationally and internationally.
Research facilities and infrastructure
Over time, several organic research facilities have
been set up, which allow close cooperation between different research environments. Since 1996, long-term organic crop rotation trials have been performed on four locations in Denmark. The crop rotations have different proportions of legumes, cereals, and catch crops and are carried out on different soil types, and with different levels of manure.
The aim of the crop rotation trials is to investigate how type of rotation affects yields, nutrient balances, weed and disease problems, soil fertility and emission of greenhouse gasses.
ICROFS participates in the EU research Framework
Programmes and has coordinated several projects. The Centre is an active partner in ISOFAR (International Society of
Organic Agriculture Research) and FQH (Organic Food Quality and Health research network). Moreover, ICROFS has participated in the development of the European vision for an Organic Food and Farming Research Agenda 2025: "Organic knowledge for the future" and is an active partner in the technology platform TP Organics.
ICROFS coordinates the FP6 ERA-net, CORE Organic
(Coordination of European Transnational Research
in Organic Food and Farming), in which public
funding bodies of 11 European countries worked
together and funded eight trans-national research
projects. The collaboration now includes more than 20 countries in the CORE Organic Fund Body Network, which is open to all European countries having or intending to have a funding programme on research in organic food systems. Building on the success of CORE Organic, a second ERA-net, "CORE Organic II" will be proposed under FP7 with 25 partners.
ICROFS is presently managing the third consecutive
Danish research programme in Organic Food and
Farming. The title of the initiative is "DARCOF III
- International research cooperation and organic
integrity." The research programme consists of 15
projects with a total budget of approx. 23 million for the period 2006-2010.
The aim of the current research programme, DARCOF III, is:
- to initiate and coordinate research, which on the
basis of the organic principles develops integrity
and efficiency in the organic food chain "from
farmer to consumer"
- to provide more knowledge on the potential
contribution of organic farming to a sustainable
development of society
- to ensure a high international level of research
quality and maximum utilization of the allocated
- to strengthen European and international
collaboration on research and research education
in organic farming and food production
- to ensure relevance and application of the
research through communication and cooperation
with research users and research communities
Organic Eprints offers open access
ICROFS hosts and administrates Organic Eprints (www.orgprints.org), the Open Source archive for
publications and information materials in organic
research. Here, researchers can deposit and share
their information with colleagues, students and
stakeholders worldwide. As by medio 2008, the
archive has 7,500 deposited papers and 9,000
registered users. There are more than 5,000 daily
visits to the archive from countries all around
the world. Organic Eprints additionally serves as
platform for submission of congress papers, such
as those submitted to the Organic World Congress
(OWC) in Modena 2008.
Expertise in dissemination
Dissemination of the research results is a central
activity in ICROFS. Dissemination is achieved
mainly through web-based media, such as public
homepages, newsletters, video presentations from
field activities, platforms for corporate work and
web portals. Presently, there are more than 4500
subscribers to the newsletters that ICROFS issue as
part of the dissemination activities.
Also, for corporate project management, internal
newsletters are issued and intranet sites are
provided based on specific project management
Besides the web-based activities, ICROFS has a long-time experience in organization of field days for
farmers and stakeholders, thematic workshops and
organic congresses. ICROFS has been the co-organizer
of the Joint European Organic Congress
in Odense (DK) that attracted more than 1,000
participants and we contribute to organic researcher conferences internationally such as the ORganic World Conference of IFOAM/ISOFAR and regional conferences.