4th NJF Organic Conference

Jun. 19 - 21, 2017 in Mikkeli, Finland

Conference materials:
Find the Organic Eprints here: http://orgprints.org/view/projects/int-conf-njf-2017.html



Cultiva pylvaat

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Campus of Mikkeli University Consortium
Photo: Ulla Jurvanen, Mikkeli University Consortium

Campus of Mikkeli University Consortium
Photo: Ulla Jurvanen, Mikkeli University Consortium

For the first time the Conference of the Nordic Association of Agricultural Scientists (NJF) takes place in Mikkeli Finland by the beautiful lakeside of Saimaa. The Conference main organizer – Finnish Organic Research Institute – has the pleasure to welcome you to Mikkeli for this scientifically and culturally rich three day event.

During the Conference we will invite you to take the opportunity to follow the excursions to various destinations nearby Mikkeli, which will be announced later.

NJF is the oldest Nordic organization established in 1918. It is a living, dynamic organisation with 1.500 members in eight countries – Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – all interested in agriculture in a broad perspective and its important role in the society.

The Conference in Finland is coordinated by Finnish Organic Research Institute, which is an expert network operating under the University of Helsinki and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

The Organizing and the Scientific Committee of the Conference wish you all a successful participation in the Conference and a pleasant stay in Mikkeli!



Conference topics: Organics for tomorrow’s food systems

Organic agriculture has been recognized as a driver towards more sustainable agricultural practises and food systems. However, there is a need for progress to meet tomorrow´s agricultural, environmental and societal challenges, to be vital for public health and wellbeing and to have a major impact on global food systems. Research plays a fundamental role for the next step. The aim of the conference is to share and discuss recent research outcomes within organic food and farming and its societal interactions. Dialogue and cooperation between stakeholders are necessary for implementation of research and we welcome participants working in different parts of our food systems.

The conference is organized along four transdisciplinary tracks:

Track 1. Tuning up sustainable organic production

Recent reviews suggest that organic agriculture is beneficial to the environment and promotes e.g. animal welfare in a wide context. However, there are still a number of sustainability challenges concerning organic agricultural and horticultural systems of today and organic farming is criticized for its, in many cases, lower yield performances. In this track we welcome research on all kinds of organic systems that contributes to solutions for more productive and sustainable organic farming.

Kolme rotua laitumella vihannekset
Photo: Brita Suokas, Ruralia Institute Photo: Juho Hämäläinen, Ruralia Institute

Track 2. Organic food, human health and wellbeing

The knowledge of compositional differences between organic and conventional food is increasing. So far, the studies have focused on contents of essential nutrients, a few bioactive compounds like phenolic compounds, and toxic heavy metals. Less is known of other components like microbiota, hormones, growth factors, cytokines, etc. Health effects have been studied only in short term clinical studies; studies covering whole lifetime or several generations are still missing. This track deals with the link between food and health and wishes to bring light on research results contributing to fill in the knowledge gaps. The track covers also other innovative organic product development.

Transparency, clean ingredients, benefits of careful processing technologies like ferments and the identifying of new sources of proteins are also examples of topics fitting in to this track. Functional foods for target populations is another example.

Track 3. Organics in our societies

For further development of the organic food chain, larger comprehension of its interaction with communities is needed. This requires multidisciplinary and multi-actor approaches in research. Transformation of organic principles shall promote sustainability in the whole food system. This track aims to discuss food politics, economy and governmental programs, including topics about legitimacy of organic in our societies: in decision making process, legislative process and politics within different fields. What is the position of organics in our societies and food systems? How is both environmental sustainability and profitable businesses enhanced?

Track 4. Organics – the next step

Organic food and farming had a successful role to date in sparring the mainstream food systems to become more sustainable. Currently, the population is rapidly growing and the planetary boundaries are in several cases transgressed. Inequity and social unrest set unprecedented, interrelated challenges to the sustainability of food systems today and in the future. A radical change in global food systems is needed to meet the challenges. Is Organics able to make the leap to show the way forward again? This track focuses on research with systems approach, contributing to the development of tomorrow’s food systems.  



19-21 June 2017 in Mikkeli, Finland

Conference program and keynote speakers

John Reganold nettiin pieni Keynote-Prof.-John-P-Reganold.pdf Carola Strassner.pieni Keynote-Prof.-Carola-Strassner.pdf
Lotta Rydhmer nettiin pieni Keynote-Prof.-Lotta-Rydhmer.pdf Gerold Rahmann nettiin pieni Keynote-Prof.-Dr.-Gerold-Rahmann-.pdf

Find the whole program here: NJF-final-program.pdf

Day 1.
Registration begins at 13.00 at Mikkeli University Consortium Campus, Lönnrotinkatu 5
15.00-15.30      Opening ceremony, at the auditorium of Mikkeli University Consortium, Mayor of Mikkeli, NJF representative, Chair of the Scientific Committee
15.30-16.30      Organic Agriculture in the 21st Century  Keynote speaker, Professor John P. Reganold
16.30-17.30     Tuning up sustainable organic production Keynote speaker, Professor Lotta Rydhmer
17.30-18.00      Break, refreshments
18.00-19.00   Organic food systems: Do they produce healthy diets? Keynote speaker, Professor Carola Strassner
19.15 - 22.30 Get-together at the University Campus      

Day 2.
08.30-10.00      1st Session: oral, parallel four tracks, University Campus
10.00-10.30      Coffee
10.30-11.15      2nd Session: posters, grouped according to tracks, University Campus
11.15-12.00      3rd Session: posters, grouped according to tracks, University Campus
12.00-13.00      Lunch
13.00-14.30      4th session: oral, parallel four tracks, University Campus
14.30-18.00 Excursions.pdf

Attention! Excursions to organic farms Siiriäinen and Kalliola are full, but there are still vacant placies to visit TeaHouse of Wehmais which is also an organic farm beside its`other actions.

19.00-23.00      Conference Dinner at Kenkävero vicarage. Kenkävero is at walking distance from the center of the city; 1 km from Hotel Vaakuna and 1,5 km from Hotel Cumulus. More information: http://www.kenkavero.fi/home

Kenkävero vicarage by the lake Saimaa
Photo: Ulla Jurvanen, Mikkeli University Consortium

Day 3.
08.30-10.00      5th Session: oral, parallel four tracks, University Campus
10.00-10.30      Coffeebreak
10.30-11.30      Organics - the next step Keynote speaker, Professor Gerold Rahmann
11.30-12.00      Conclusions of the tracks, track leaders
12.00-12.15      Closing of the Conference, Director of FORI, NJF representative
12.30-13.45      Lunch

We have opportunity to arrange rooms for meetings of groups from different fields of organic farming, such as organic apple growers, organic seed producers etc. Please contact members of the scientific committee for more information and reservation of meeting places.

Practical info

Registration: begins 23rd of January 2017

Participation fee Before 21.5.2017 After 21.5.2017
NJF members 360€ 430€
Others 450€ 520€
Students 310€ 370€

Fee includes admission to all workshops and exhibitions, lunches, coffee breaks, get-together party and dinner, conference material, proceedings and an excursion. DL for the payment is 31st of May 2017.

NJF membership fee: 30€/year

Mikkeli University Consortium, Lönnrotinkatu 5 and 7, Mikkeli.

Economic rail and bus connections are available directly from the airport to Mikkeli! The distance from Helsinki to Mikkeli is about 235 km and travel time is approximately 3-4 hours. You can look for public transportation options on the web sites of Finnish Railways (VR), Onnibus or Matkahuolto.

Call for papers:
The topics of the Conference aim to embrace a wide range of aspects in food systems. Conference topics are:

  • Tuning up sustainable organic production
  • Organic food, human health and wellbeing
  • Organics in our societies
  • Organics – the next step

Requirements for papers
ATTENTION! Paper submission extended till 15th of April!

Instructions for poster preparation

Poster presentation

You have been invited to prepare a poster for the seminar. Most posters will be presented at dedicated workshops, please check the program to find which workshop your poster will be presented in. These workshops will be held in the poster hall, so the posters for each workshop will be hung adjacent to each other. You will find information about where to hang your poster when you arrive at the seminar. For those poster presenters, who have no oral presentation, a 5 minute presentation of their poster will be allowed to each. A moderator for each workshop will lead the discussion. You are only required to be at your poster during this workshop.

Posters should be put up at the start of the seminar and taken down at the end, so that those who cannot participate in the workshop still have a chance to see them at another time (coffee breaks etc.). On the last day there is a long coffee break, please do not remove your poster until after that break!

Poster preparation:

The posters must be at most 90 cm wide and 125 cm high.

The posters will be attached to the poster board with tape. This will be provided by the seminar officials, but if you want some special tape in order to not damage your poster, please bring it yourself.

You are welcome to make A4-copies of the poster for handouts. If you want a “pocket” for these below the poster, please bring it yourself.

We recommend that the posters follow the same principles described in the “Instructions for submitting papers …” and the “Template for papers”, so that the work is presented in a broader context.

We recommend the following general structure





Background and objectives,

Key results and discussion,

How work was carried out?

A few important references may be cited.

You are welcome to put a link or QR-code on the poster for readers to find more information.


Please make sure that your poster is clear and informative. Don’t use too much text – remember that a picture (or figure) says more than 1000 words!


Having any problems with submission, please, contact us !

Paper admission: www.orgprints.org

Excursions on 20th of June 14.30-18.00   
There will be three separate excursions to organic farms and organic companies located in or nearby the city of Mikkeli. Among them is organic farm Siiriäinen in Hirvensalmi where you can find happy animals. Other destination is Kalliola organic farm in Haukivuori where organic vegetables are cultivated. Third excursion takes you to Juva to TeaHouse of Wehmais which is an old idyllic family mansion at the countryside. There you can enjoy traditional cup of english tea and also buy high quality clothing.

More information:

Conference participants are responsible for arranging and paying for their own reservations for travel and hotel accommodations.

The organizers of the Conference have made the effort to hold rooms for the Conference participants in three hotels in Mikkeli (listed below). If you choose to stay at these hotels, book the rooms through the hotel websites and indicate the promo code listed for each hotel below.

  1. Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Mikkeli
  2. Hotel Cumulus Mikkeli
  3. Hotel Uusikuu Mikkeli

More information about the hotels and reservations here: Accommodation.pdf


Dr Jaakko Nuutila, Researcher, Natural Resources Institute Finland
+358 29 532 6780, jaakko.nuutila@luke.fi

Dr Carina Tikkanen-Kaukanen, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Chair of the Scientific Commitee
+358 50 318 0283, carina.tikkanen-kaukanen@helsinki.fi

Communication and practical arrangements of NJF:
Mrs Sirpa Taskinen, Expert, Mikkeli University Consortium, sirpa.taskinen@muc.fi
Mrs Ulla Jurvanen, Expert, Mikkeli University Consortium, ulla.jurvanen@muc.fi
Mrs Sirpa Piskonen, Communications secretary, Ruralia Institute University of Helsinki, sirpa.piskonen@helsinki.fi

Scientific Committee:
Chair: Tikkanen-Kaukanen Carina, PhD, Adjunct Professor
Secretary: Nuutila Jaakko, PhD
Members: Hakala Kaija, Hakalehto Elias, Kreismane Dzidra, Luik Anne, Lähdesmäki Merja, Mikkola Minna, Peetsmann Elen, Rasmussen Ilse, Skulskis Virgilijus, Tahvonen Raija, Ulvén Karin, Wibe Atle and Wivstad Maria

Organizing committee in Mikkeli:
Chair: Iivonen Sari, PhD, Director of the Finnish Organic Research Institute, sari.iivonen@luke.fi
Secretary: Nuutila Jaakko, PhD
Members: Huhta Harri, Jurvanen Ulla, Malinen Matti, Piskonen Sirpa, Taskinen Sirpa and Tikkanen-Kaukanen Carina



Kesaekuva kaevelykatu
Beautiful Lake Saimaa
Photo: Mikkeli region tourist information
Mikkeli pedestrian zone and Cathedral
Photo: Ulla Jurvanen, Mikkeli University Consortium
opiskelijoita Savilahdensilta
Studentactivities at the market square
Photo: Ulla Jurvanen, Mikkeli University Consortium

Summernight in Mikkeli, Savilahti Brigde
Photo: Mikko Tuovinen, City of Mikkeli

Important dates

Time and place: June 19-21, 2017, Mikkeli, Finland

Submission of Abstract and Posters deadline:
Abstract submission begins 15th of December 2016 and ends on 15th of April 2017. Feedback will be given before the 21st of May.

Registration to the Conference: https://www.lyyti.in/4th_NJF_Organic_Conference_Organics_for_tomorrows_food_systems_9094


@IFOAMEU is our European organic partner