ORC-Organic Research Centre in Scotland

July 30, 2020

ORC-Organic Research Centre in Scotland

Food Quality and Health

Please note: The information in this blog about the ORC is quoted directly from their website. 


This picture was taken of an old railroad gully on our farm which has been given back to mother nature for an ecological reserve. It is home to many wild flowers and seasonal beneficial pollinators. The wild diversity is out in full bloom, it's perfume is pleasantly intoxicating. 

ORGANIC RESEARCH CENTRE: "One of the highest goals and claims of organic agriculture is to produces healthy and high quality food that differentiates itself through higher nutritional qualities, such as vitamins and minerals and lesser or no undesired compounds such as pesticides or genetically modified organisms. Food quality and health are core ideas and principles of organic farming. In her book the Living Soil, Eve Balfour emphasised the connections between wholeness and health, and between healthy soils, plants, animals and humans, to which we can add a health environment. This holistic approach to health remains a core part of the IFOAM principles, and of the Organic Research Centre’s mission. Since ORC was founded, we have engaged with the issue by means of colloquia and conferences, occasional research projects, and participation in the international Organic Food Quality and Health Association.

Despite the tremendous importance and high profile of health for agriculture, particularly organic agriculture, the definition of health in this context is currently either not well defined or subject to deep conceptual disagreements. This current lack of clarity creates a vacuum in which strong but potentially misleading claims about health benefits can be made, both by proponents and opponents of ecological agriculture.

Recent research focused on reviewing and developing health concepts for ecological agriculture. An open and open-ended dialogue among various agricultural disciplines, such as food quality science, soil science, plant pathology or veterinary medicine is initiated. These disciplines are at very different stages in the development of health concepts. In the search for commonalities and differences among disciplines, this dialogue will deliver a novel, unified, and comprehensive idea of health in organic agriculture.

One of our current projects aims to create an international network of producers, advisors and scientists to jointly develop new and interdisciplinary approaches to health measurement and health research in organic agriculture, ultimately improving health effects in the entire food system."