The International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems, ICROFS, was established by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries in June 2008. As an international centre with an international mandate, ICROFS has replaced and expanded the former Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming, DARCOF.
The former national centre DARCOF was established in 1996 as a so-called "centre without walls," where the actual reseearch is performed in institutions and research groups.
Development of (Danish) research in organic farming
Since the middle of the 1980s the promotion of organic farming has been part of the Danish Government's policy. This policy has included economic support for conversion of farms, regulation and control, advisory services and public information, and education and research in organic forming.
The Danish research in organic farming in the late 80's and early 90's was mainly performed on private, organic farms and in long-term crop systems experiments on research stations. This research focused on milk production and crop rotations and, among other things, it resulted in effective methods of organic milk production.
In 1992 the Government action plan for organic farming and the National strategy for agricultural research both pointed out that research in organic farming should receive higher priority by strengthening the existing structure. They also suggested that the necessary concentration of inputs could be achieved by establishing a centre across institutes and research disciplines.
Likewise, the 1995 Action plan for the promotion of organic food production in Denmark recommended that higher priority should be given to research in organic farming, in order to facilitate conversion and increase organic food production to match consumer demand. This plan also suggested that a dedicated organic research station should be set up.
Against this background, the Ministry of Food took the initiative to establish the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming (DARCOF) in September 1995. At the same time it set aside 100 million DKK (about 13 million Euro) for research and development during the 1996 - 1999 period. Furthermore, the Ministry decided to establish an organic research station and several organic workshop sites.