In the project Divers en Dichtbij ('Diverse and locally produced') (2013-2016), organic wholesaler Odin worked together with growers, consumers and researchers of the Louis Bolk Institute to test new open-pollinated varieties suitable for organic and biodynamic crop production. Bringing together various parties within the organic food supply chain, this project aimed to increase crop and food diversity, from farms to shop shelves to consumers' plates.
Experimental gardens with organic vegetable varieties
As part of this project, growers tested different organic varieties of a wide range of crops in two experimental vegetable gardens, over a period of three years. Varieties that performed well in terms of yield, taste, robustness and growth characteristics were taste-tested by a panel of consumers. This direct feedback between growers and consumers ensures that new vegetable varieties will be quickly accepted by consumers.
Field trials with organic wheat varieties
In the Netherlands, wheat varieties suitable for organic production are scarce. Therefore, we conducted field trials in the Dutch Noordoostpolder (province of Flevoland) to test new organic wheat varieties. The harvested wheat was tested by bakers (baking quality) and taste-tested by consumers. Following further results, the organic food shops of the Estafette-Odin Group will start selling bread made from the new wheat varieties.
For this project the Louis Bolk Institute worked together with Estafette-Odin and three biodynamic farms in the Netherlands (Maatschap Vos, GAOS and De Groenen Hof). Other participants included the Iona Foundation, Bingenheimer Saatgut AG (organic seed producer, Germany), Stichting Zaadgoed (Dutch foundation for organic plant breeding) en Organic Bakery Ad van der Westen BV.
Results from this organic plant breeding project are presented in our publication 'Werken aan diversiteit in tarwe en groenten' (in Dutch, with English summary).
Evaluating yield, growth characteristics and robustness of organic baking wheat
Working on biodiversity in wheat and vegetables: Increasing crop and food diversity, from farms to shop shelves to consumers' plates. 2016 Authors: E. Nuijten and E.T. Lammerts van Bueren.