We conclude with a brief discussion on how to address these controversies and some ideas for developing the methodological approach and practices of OAFR.
During the editorial work on a collection of book sections about the state of the art of OAFR, we felt that the differences between the ideals of OAFR and the actual research practices invited critical debate.
In this article, we label these differences—somewhat provocatively—as myths about OAFR.
Organic farmers exclude certain external inputs, focus on the farm internal relations (e.g., between crop rotation and pest management or herd size and on-farm forage production), and try to close nutrient and energy cycles, and the farm is understood as an organism (Raupp ).
Here organic products, their processing, trade, and consume is embedded in the regional economy.
We identified seven myths: (1) OAFR follows a systemic research approach, (2) OAFR is guided by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements Principles and organic regulations, (3) research priorities are defined in collaboration with practitioners, (4) transdisciplinarity is a key strategy in OAFR, (5) OAFR produces results that are directly applicable in practice, (6) the methods applied in OAFR differ fundamentally from those in research on conventional farming, and (7) organic researchers are fully integrated in the scientific community.
We assume that our reflections will also inspire a broader discourse in the light of Organic 3.0, where a critical review of research practices should be central for the future development of OAFR.
The whole area of organic farming systems research has been also criticized to use the word “systemic” often quite freely without applying concrete systems approach (Bawden Missing systems theory in higher education but also time constrains that are given through tight research schedules risk that the organic research community becomes more and more unaware of the need to conduct truly systemic i.e. The discrepancy between myth and reality is problematic for OFAR and its research community, because it creates blind spots that can be problematic for practitioners.
There is need to initiate a broader scientific discourse about this discrepancy; otherwise, we will face problems like it is mentioned in the strategy for organic farming research by the Technology Innovation Platform of IFOAM, where it is stated that system-orientated organic farming research would be necessary, but is very hard to achieve (Niggli et al.
For that, systems theory has been identified as a necessary theoretical foundation (Fiala and Freyer ).
The notion that OAFR follows a systemic approach seems to be widespread in the organic research community.