ORGANIC PRODUCTION IN EUROPE Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that combines best environmental and climate action practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources and the application of high pro- duction standards in line with the demand of a growing number of consumers. Over the last decade, organic food and farm- ing has continued to grow year after year across Europe. The total organic agricultural area in the EU-28 was 11.9 million hectares in 2016 and that is still expected to grow in the coming years. From 2012 to 2016, the share of organic area in the total agricultural area within the EU rose from 5.6 % to 6.7 %. The vegetable sector represents a minor part of the organic area: 145,639 hectares in 20151 . Demand for organic products in the European Union (EU) outstrips supply. As organic pro- duction in the EU lags behind the growth of the organic market, there is a severe risk that the growing demand will still be met by imports and that EU farmers may not benefit. Taking into account the particularities of the organic production systems, the choice of plant varieties should focus on agronomic performance, genetic diversity, disease resistance, longevity, and adaptation to diverse local soil and climate conditions. Currently most of the varieties used in organic farming in Europe are not specifically developed for organic farming systems. While non-organic agriculture has more external means to adapt to the environment to achieve optimal crop growth, organic plant production systems need plant repro- ductive material which is able to adapt to disease resistance, diverse local soil and climate conditions and to the specific cultivation practices of organic agriculture. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to develop organic plant material suitable for organic agriculture. THE BRESOV PROJECT BRESOV (Breeding for Resilient, Efficient and Sustainable Organic Vegetable production) is a 4-year project which received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme2 . It started in May 2018 and involves 22 partners from the EU and beyond. It brings together professional expertise and a stake- holders’ perspective along the whole value chain. Farmers, advisory services, public and private research institutes, breeding companies and food processors are actively involved in the BRESOV project following the concept of a collaborative multi-actor approach. The overall aim of the project is to improve the competitiveness of three of the most economically important vegetable crop families (Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Solanaceae) when grown in an organic production system; giving growers confidence that they will attain a sustainable yield. This WHY IT MATTERS With changing climatic conditions and a rapidly growing world population estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050, mankind faces the serious challenge of increasing food production by at least 70%. The vision of the BRESOV project is to tackle this challenge by exploring the genetic diversity of three of the economically most significant vegetable crops (broccoli, snap bean and tomato) and to improve the competitiveness of these three crops in an organic and sustainable environment. BREEDING FOR RESILIENT, EFFICIENT AND SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC VEGETABLE PRODUCTION (BRESOV). BY: FERDINANDO BRANCA What do bean, broccoli and tomatoes have in common? Brassica incana is a wild relative of Brassica crops. It has a potential use in breeding, for example, in providing salt or drought tolerance and in increasing glucosinolate content. 10 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM