The objectives of a recent study are to present the dynamic of organic food and farming (OFF) research and innovation, to outline challenges in deploying programs and accessing funding, and to define key actions to foster the development of tailored quality research on organic farming in Italy.
The baseline starts from the main outcomes that emerged during the World Café held in the frame of the Salone Internazionale del biologico e del naturale (SANA Expo) in 2018, where the Italian OFF research community met to build a convergence on scope and modus operandi in the research endeavor.
These outcomes were examined in the light of the key features of the research and innovation projects funded in Italy in the last 10 years, respectively by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and the regional administrations through the innovation support instruments in the Rural Development Plan programming periods.
In the period 2009–2018, 70 research projects for a total funding of 21.081 million € (<0.1% of the value of the sector) were launched, addressing nine different topic areas. Over a similar period (2007–2019), 53 regional innovation projects addressing organic farming were activated for a total budget of 14.299 million € (<10% of the entire available funding).
The implementation of interventions in the research and the innovation areas were often scattered in terms of the topics, disciplines, and types of supply chain/network addressed. The relatively high share of multi/interdisciplinary research and innovation projects as well as the acknowledgement of the multi-actor approach as a fundamental step toward co-research and co-innovation were upshots that emerged from our analysis. The outcomes of this study can be used by competent national and the regional authorities to design their future research and innovation policies and interventions.