Integrated Food and Non-Food Bio-Economy Oriented Cropping Systems: Emerging Solutions

The French project Demonstrating Sites Network aims at validating the production of sustainable and efficient bioresources within cropping systems of Northern France. 

France has recently accomplished the “Bioeconomy Strategy for France”, setting the basis for a further development of a sustainable bioeconomy sector. The North of France has the best assets to contribute to this process, thanks to its transport infrastructures and industrial facilities and an overall high potential of biomass production.

However, in France as in most countries, competition between food and non-food crops is a significant challenge which the “Demonstrating Sites Network” project is intended to address. Thanks to a multicriterial evaluation of long-term field experiments of bioeconomy-oriented cropping systems, the project will develop a global approach which will serve as assisting procedure for future bio-economy actors. Therefore, final scope is to produce sustainable and efficient bioresources, while preserving the agro-ecosystem and meeting stakeholder’s expectation.

More precisely, “Demonstrating Sites Network” should:

  • design innovative cropping systems adapted to Northern France to supply existing or emerging bioeconomy sectors with a wide range of raw materials;
  • to provide farmers and other stakeholders with data about bioeconomy-oriented cropping systems as well as tools and methods to optimize biomass production and mobilization;
  • to evaluate benefits and externalities of producing food and non-food bioresources in cropping systems.

The project designed three types of cropping systems by focusing on potato-, sugar beet- cereal/oilseed-and-forage-oriented system, which are currently applied in Northern France, as well as on food, feed, biogas, bio-sourced materials, etc. These three cropping systems provided three different scenarios which are characterised by an increasing biomass production gradient: the “control scenario”, the “light bioeconomy scenario” and the “high bioeconomy scenario”.

Five experimental platforms were located in different areas of Northern France: each plot deals with one type of oriented-current system and with 2 or 3 cropping bioeconomy systems. 

Example of tested scenarios in one of the 5 experimental platforms.
Example of tested scenarios in one of the 5 experimental platforms.

This post is based on the presentation Designing and Assessing Bioeconomy Oriented Cropping Systems by Journel C., Zub-preudhomme H.W., Detot B., Jullier N., Preudhomme M. and Loyce C., presented at the 26th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition. The full presentation is available open access in the official proceedings of the conference. 

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