Research for the benefit of growers, consumers and for export

ICROFS, International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems, has existed since 1996. The centre is appointed and financially supported by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark.

ICROFS contributes to further development of a market-driven and competitive organic sector and thereby supports a continuous growth in the Danish organic sector. ICROFS is located at Aarhus University in Foulum, Viborg and has its own national board and own regulations. The centre supports organic research projects from many different institutions and industries.   

Application-oriented research
ICROFS contributes to coordinate, manage and implement strategic and application-oriented research of high quality. The research supports the development of new solutions and adjustments in the production, which can move the Danish organic sector to constant higher   sustainability, increased productivity and better economy. The fundamental basis of the strategic work is the organic concept as well as the organic principles and issues and it involves relevant parties for discussion of ideas and for identifying research needs.

In this way, ICROFS stands for player-driven research and innovation, where researchers, farmers, advisors and other professional profiles are collaborating to develop the sector with useful solutions and opportunities, which strengthens organic farming and food systems. By involving the industry and other users, the sector achieves a shorter path from new knowledge to practical implementation.  

The project participants often come from:

  • Universities
  • The main production
  • Consultancy companies
  • The private industry
  • Public institutions.  

Research opens opportunities
Research contributes to the development of the Danish organic farming and food systems, which improves the opportunities to convert from conventional to organic farming and increases the development within fabrication, product development and distribution of organic food. The research has led to a significant development within:

  • The selection of organic meat products as well as niche and gourmet products
  • Fruit and vegetables without pesticide remains
  • Environment and climate friendly production, which at the same time is cost-effective
  • Sales of organic products in Denmark and abroad 

Wide ranging Danish research
ICROFS coordinates the Danish research programme: “Organic Research, Development and Demonstration programme (Organic RDD), which is financially supported by GUDP (Green Development and Demonstration Programme at the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark). The RDD programmes range from research in improved methods in the main production to consumer surveys, that improves the sales chances. Additionally ICROFS is also involved in projects that are financially supported by private foundations for instance “Deep Frontier” which investigates whether soil layers down to 5 meters depth store new opportunities for sustainable food production.

Reinforced organic development across borders
Many of the international projects are conducted as programmes, supported by EU and Horizon2020, for instance “Core Organic”, which was launched in 2004. ICROFS is managing and coordinating several of the projects with up to 26 partners within many different academic professional disciplines and from different countries. Together they invest in research for the development of the organic sector.

Knowledge goes beyond the ramp
ICROFS is very active as regards communication and dissemination of research and knowledge. Already when the projects start, ICROFS is supporting and preparing the project participants to communicate about the projects e.g. at digital platforms and social medias – but also in specialist media, popular science channels and in news media.

On a regular basis ICROFS collects the obtained knowledge in Knowledge Syntheses, latest in 2015, where the theme was “The Contribution of Organic Farming to Public Goods in Denmark”. Besides collecting existent knowledge, the synthesis also identifies concrete needs for further knowledge within the organic sector, so that the sector can continue to develop to the use of consumers and the industry. In addition to this many years of research and knowledge is collected in an open-source platform called “Organic Eprints” and more corresponding technical network platforms are under development.

ICROFS Research and Development Strategy 2023