PFN Hessen –
Praxisforschung für den ökologischen Land- und Gemüsebau
Binsförther Straße 26 | 34326 Neumorschen
Tel.: +49 (0) 5664 9381698 | Fax: +49 (0) 5664 939772
The Section Organic Farming and Cropping Systems researches how to increase productivity in crop production while improving ecosystem services by harnessing biological processes. Research focuses include the optimisation of cropping systems (potatoes and legumes), measures to increase soil fertility including composting, root ecology and root-soil interactions, diversification of crop production e.g. through mixed cropping and agroforestry, and integration of biodiversity enhancing measures into cropping systems. In addition, inter- and transdisciplinary topics such as studies on environmental impacts of organic agriculture, especially with regard to water and nature conservation, social agriculture, as well as the assessment of the social impact of research are addressed.
In teaching, the section represents the arable and plant production in organic farming, soil fertility and nutrient cycles, land use systems, as well as the topic of conversion of farms to organic farming. The department is the scientific director of the teaching and experimental farm ‘Hessische Staatsdomäne Frankenhausen’ and participates in the Farmers-led Research Network Hesse. A lectureship for organic vegetable production is affiliated with the department, as is the coordination office for biodynamic agriculture with its own teaching and research activities.
Miriam Athmann is head of the Section Organic Farming and Cropping Systems at the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences in Witzenhausen and is also scientific head of the teaching, research and transfer centre Hessische Staatsdomäne Frankenhausen.
Johanna Hoppe started working as a research assistant immediately after completing her Master’s degree in Organic Agriculture in Witzenhausen. So far, she has worked extensively on a meta-analytical level on the ecosystem services of organic farming with regard to water protection and predominantly nitrogen discharge to groundwater.
Max Siechert acquired practical knowledge in horticulture and landscaping as well as organic vegetable farming after completing his Bachelor’s degree in Organic Agriculture in Witzenhausen. He assisted the practical implementation of the field trials in Frankenhausen.
I am part of the PFN because I am aware of the importance of practice-relevant research for a transformation towards a sustainable way of living and farming, and I value the exchange with farmers and advisors both professionally and personally.
I am part of the PFN because I love working practically and I also find science very exciting. It is great to now be able to combine both at the PFN. I am particularly happy about the cooperation with the farmers which opens up the possibility of doing research that is relevant to practice.
I am part of the PFN because I see the association of practice and research as future-oriented for progress and I am happy to be part of it.