How can social achievements of organic farms be measured? What do farms contribute to increasing biodiversity? Is it already sufficiently rewarded that (organic) farms provide apprenticeships and engage in regional networking?
Together with farm and regional managers from the region of Northern Hesse, the Center for Organic Agriculture (ZÖL) and the Institute for Rural Development Research (IfLS) conducted two workshops in the real laboratory for the project "regiosöl - Regional Social and Ecological Services of Organic Agriculture: Recording - Honoring - Acting". In March, the discussion about suitable criteria and indicators in the ecological, social and regional economic field started.
The first important topic to be evaluated was job quality. Here, the participants focused primarily on job security. The participants disagreed on how to evaluate the employment of seasonal workers depending on the farm structure. Social and therapeutic measures as a proposed criterion were found by many participants to be too specific and rather located within the framework of social farming. At the same time, the contributions of land managers to the preservation of the landscape character and the maintenance of the cultural landscape were seen as an important contribution, which can only result from the sum of the individual measures on the farms.
The topic of regional supply was a topic wished to go further into depth in in the next workshop. It was evaluated by a large part of the participants as a future topic, in which organic agriculture can and should distinguish itself further.
The regiosöl project is supported by the Federal Program for Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture (BÖLN) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).
Contact persons at IfLS: Simone Sterly (sterly[at]ifls.de) and Karen Schewina (schewina[at]ifls.de)