Peat-free Food Chain - SeAMK Projects

Peat-free Food Chain

Project information

The shutdown of peat production will have a significant impact on the entire food chain in South Ostrobothnia. On animal farms, peat is used as bedding, especially on broiler, cattle and horse farms. Peat is also the most common growing medium in greenhouse production, so gardens also need new sustainable and domestic alternatives to peat.

The project aims to find alternative sustainable materials for peat, looking at their value chain and promoting the construction of a peat-free business ecosystem. The project also examines whether plants that are suitable for purposes such as bedding, growing media or building industry insulation materials can be sustainably grown in areas that have been released from peat production.

  • Funding: Just Transition Fund (JTF) of Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia, Higher Education Foundation of South Ostrobothnia and self-financing of project partners
  • Project partners: Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Järviseutu Vocational Institute and Natural Resources Institute Finland
  • Duration: 1.1.2024–30.6.2026
  • Budget: 1 100 903 €

Target groups

The main target group of the project are landowners in peat production areas or out-of-production areas, growing media and bedding producers, horticultural companies and livestock farms.

Aim of the project

The aim of the project is to create a peat-free food chain model for Southern Ostrobothnia and to produce good tools for its success. The project will test and evaluate the practical, economic and environmental effectiveness and applicability of the different options under local conditions.

The project is looking for peat-free:

  • new and innovative materials with higher added value, e.g. for use in the construction industry
  • growing medium products for greenhouse production
  • bedding materials for livestock farms.

The short-term objectives of the project are:

  • Find new farming opportunities in former peat extraction areas.
  • Find a single product with the desired properties for the above uses, or a variety of alloys with the desired properties.
  • Promote product access to the market through communication and stakeholder collaboration.

Work plan of the project

The project measures are divided into two themes:
1) Peat replacement innovations and
2) Promoting business opportunities.

The other measures of the project support the measures of the above themes:

  • Compilation of existing knowledge
  • Development of wetland farming chains
  • Use potential of peat and its substitutes / Peat replacement innovation, testing and piloting
  • Socio-economic perspectives / promotion of business opportunities, analyses
  • Analysis of environmental impacts
  • Communication and information

Results

The short-term effects of the project include the strengthening of the business ecosystem and the entry of new products into the market. As a result of the project, there is better awareness at both regional and national levels about climate-friendly materials replacing peat, as well as the Peat-free food chain model. The target groups of the project have comprehensive information on new ways to produce bedding and growing media, new cultivation opportunities can be found in former peat extraction areas and the sustainable use of peatland is promoted.
The long-term impacts are related to reducing the use of peat, reducing climate emissions, strengthening regional vitality and creating new business opportunities.

The results of the project will also be actively utilised after the end of the project. For example, farmers can make use of the experience gained in the project and farming guides, growing media and bedding operators can use the expert knowledge gathered in the project in product development and marketing, and companies that innovate new products receive important information on the properties and effects of the products.

The results of the project will be integrated into ongoing research and practical work on peat replacement solutions. In addition, the recommendations made by the project help to support the operating conditions of the peat-free food chain in political decision-making.

For further information, please contact

Johanna Kivioja

Project Manager

email

Johanna.Kivioja(a)seamk.fi

telephone

+358406807564

Elina Iivari

Expert, RDI

email

Elina.Iivari(a)seamk.fi

telephone

+358406807519