13 June 2022
Climate change is having an increasing effect on food production. Flooding of farmland near the sea is becoming more frequent and, in many places, groundwater is becoming more saline, which affects soil quality.
Foto: Salt Farm Foundation
Although soil salinisation is not a major problem in Denmark or the North Sea Region today, it will become a problem in coastal areas with the changing climatic conditions we will experience in the immediate future.
To meet the challenge ahead, the SalFar project has gathered information and knowledge on salt-tolerant plants, including how salt-affected soils can be used for sustainable food production, food innovation and the development of green business models.
"The war in Ukraine and the effect it has had on global food supply chains has really opened our eyes to the vulnerability of global food production. It is also extremely vulnerable to climate change", says Louise Krogh Johnson, Business Development Manager at Food & Bio Cluster Denmark and continues:
"We must therefore ensure that food production can be sustained as far as possible in the future, when water levels are rising and fresh water is becoming scarcer, while we have even more mouths to feed. Salt-tolerant plants are one of the things we can look at - not least because they also have a number of other interesting qualities that make them super interesting for food innovation."
The last 5 years, researchers and practitioners have worked closely together to achieve amazing results. On more than 20 test fields around the North Sea region, the salt tolerance of different plants, such as potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage, has been tested. And the results show that some existing plant varieties perform better than expected in moderately saline soils.
In addition to the salt tolerance of the crops, the taste has also been studied. Carrots, tomatoes and other crop varieties grown on saline soils may have a different taste, which is often slightly sweeter. This is of particular interest to chefs and other food producers, as an improved or different taste may give them and crops grown in saline conditions some market advantages.
Based on this, Food & Bio Cluster Denmark has developed an inspirational catalogue on salt-tolerant crops. In the catalogue, we look into the potential of salt-tolerant plants in various contexts, including the development of new food products and food trends. Market potential is a major topic and the catalogue also deals with identifying the unique selling points of this type of food products and provides input for successful marketing and branding.
Another interesting aspect of salt-tolerant plants is that there may be potential health benefits in the form of more antioxidants than in conventionally grown plants. Based on 40 scientific articles, a chapter has been written on this as well.
For those who want to know more about saline farming and salt-tolerant crops, an inspirational guide has been produced, providing ideas, tools and practical information for farmers, food producers and food processors. The guide presents the knowledge gained by the interdisciplinary team behind the SalFar project over the last five years.
It is especially for those who want to start using saline crops and for anyone who wants to know more about saline farming. The information in the guide has emerged in a variety of ways: practically, by farmers and other producers growing crops in saline conditions; by scientists and technicians analysing the results of scientific experiments and by laboratory research.
In addition, the potential of salt-tolerant products has been explored by restaurateurs, chefs, cooks and food enthusiasts who have experimented - and used the products - often in new and interesting ways.
Explore the possibilities of saline farming and get ideas for developing new market opportunities - download the Inspiration Guide by clicking on the image
For more information about the project, contact Louise Krogh Johnson, Business Development Manager at Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, M +45 2154 5909, email@example.com.
You can also find more information about the project at www.northsearegion.eu/salfar.
Salt tolerant plants: a climate adaptation solution with a sweet taste