building a global network of food systems with examples from Sweden, Haiti, Tanzania and India.

A source of inspiration for BERAS flows from the cluster of biodynamic initiatives in Järna, Södertälje in Sweden and the work of Sofia at a global scale.

Of major importance for BERAS is also  the inclusion in the Organic Food System Programme the work with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a Core initiative of the Sustainable Food Systems Programmeand in particular related to goal no 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns ref:

The BERAS example as a food system has been developed through two transnational projects part-financed by the European Union and Norway “Baltic Sea Region Programme”, BERAS (2003 – 2006) and BERAS Implementation (2010 – 2013).

It is the common efforts by the partnership from 11 countries in the Baltic Sea Region; Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Russia and Norway and includes national and local authorities, universities and research institutes, advisory services, ecological and environmental NGOs, farmers’ organizations, food chain actors and finance institutions. Altogether 24 project partners and 35 associated organizations. It is based on an interdisciplinary research, extension and implementation approach including key actors from society.


Main objective for the BERAS projects were:

  • Present a realistic fully integrated ecological alternative for a systemic shift in the whole food chain from farmers to consumers and thereby to


  • Revitalize agricultural and rural development sectors in an economically, socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable manner.


Ecological Recycling/Regenerative Agriculture (ERA)                                                                               Ecological recycling/regenerative agriculture is based on the ecological principles of renewable local resources, recycling and biodiversity which make the farm part of the ecosystem working with nature. ERA integratesorganic crop production and animal husbandry. The number of animals is balanced with the available own fodder on the farm. Combined with the cultivation of leguminous and grasses as part of the crop rotation the farm or farms in cooperation, can reach a high degree of self-sufficiency in fodder and fertiliser.

Diets for a Green Planet (DGP)                                                                                                           The consumer engagement concept “Diets for a Green Planet” offers a sustainable lifestyle with consumption of enough and good food without threatening the environment. DGP should be developed based on local/regional conditions such as dietary choices and influenced by culture, nutritional knowledge, price of product, availability, taste and convenience. The basic criteria’s could be summarized as follows:

– Availability of tasty and nutritious food

– Food produced according to principles of Regenerative Agriculture (ERA)

– Local food and according to season

– Balanced in vegetables and meat/fish (80% vegetables and 20% meat/fish as a suggestion)

– Reduction of food waste

Local Sustainable Food Societies (SFS) and Learning Centers                                                                                                  Local Sustainable Food Societies are examples of local food clusters that are socially just, environmentally friendly and economically viable. They involve all actors in the food chain – from farmers to consumers and with the cooperation between universities/research institutions, authorities, business sector and NGOs.

Within each SFS there could be Learning Centers. They are meeting places- more or less formal, depending on local preferences – that engage in several aspects of a food system. Learning Centers are both in rural and urban areas. It can be on a farm, a University, a school, NGO, shop, restaurant etc. based on local preferences and opportunities.

To support conversion to ERA farming the concepts of Diets for a Green Planet and Local Sustainable Food Societies the project developed:

–             Guidelines, handbooks and educational material

–             Environmental evaluation studies

–             Economic and social impact studies and policy recommendations

A certain field of interest also following the completion of the project is a Farmers University Exchange Programgiving students from Belarus the opportunity to learn about ERA farming and with practice on Swedish organic farms.

All papers and documents and resources otherwise are available at


“The base case” –  Södertälje food system

Contact: Jostein Hertwig


The Järna cluster includes many of the actors that constitute a food system. A missing element could be the connection to authorities and policymaking. In BERAS Implementation (2010 – 2013) Södertälje municipality took a major role in developing the food concept “Diet for a Clean Baltic” (later “Diets for a Green Planet”). In Södertälje a strategic decision was taken in 2001 “Food – the key to a better future:  health, environment, good place to work, a viable community”. So here there were good synergies between the objectives of the BERAS project and the strategy of Södertälje municipality. It also resulted in fruitful long term cooperation with the municipality and Järna. Following the BERAS project, Södertälje municipality has been involved in various projects related to sustainable food and agriculture and always with the basic holistic concepts of agriculture, food and societies developed together.

Some highlights from Södertälje:

  • Today Södertälje municipality has implemented “Diets for a Green Planet” in their 90 kitchens for kindergartens, schools, and elderly homes. They serve 24 000 meals every day and with 60 % organic ingredients.
  • In the local Coop store in Järna 34% of the total sale of food is organic
  • Saltå Kvarn which is a local wholesaler is regularly acknowledged as the “Best sustainability brand” in Sweden



Sharing our work and concepts with initiatives in Tanzania, Haiti and India

Following the conclusion of the EU projects, BERAS is consolidated and further developed in Södertälje municipality in Sweden, shared with initiatives in Dominican Republic, Haiti, Tanzania and India and included with many other inputs in the Organic Food System Programme. In the initial phase the acronym BERAS had the meaning:  Baltic Ecological Recycling Agriculture and Societies. Reaching out to initiatives globally this was transformed to: Building Ecological Regenerative Agriculture and Societies.

Tanzania – Manyara Organic Farming Initiative (MOFI)

Contact; Vesa-Matti Loiske, Assistant Professor, Södertörns University, Sweden

Picture: Lena Loiske


Haiti – Vallières in North-Eastern Haiti

School garden and organic production and marketing

Contact: Eunide Lefevre eunidelefevre@gmail.comand Marit Brendbekken

Map: Haiti                                                 Deforestation in Haiti (left side of picture)



BERAS India and the 7 local food systems.

Contact Person: Dr. K. Perumal, Head BERAS India,

BERAS India consists of 13 different stakeholders as founding members and with the support of BERAS International. BERAS India secretariat has been fully operating since 2014. The objectives are to support small farmers and food businesses following the universal concepts of Ecological Regenerative Agriculture, Diets for a green planet and Local Sustainable Food Societies. The network is spread through Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and Ladakh in the north. Population of Tamil Nadu is 60 million, of which 70 % are in rural area, of whom 80 % are small farmers. BERAS India has currently 23 active partners from various fields; non-governmental organizations, universities, research institutes, associations, academic institutions and biodynamic farmers, policy makers in the state and central government, producers, traders and local communities representatives.

A more detailed map may be found at