TRIO Transformative mixed cropping systems for One Health

© Miriam Athmann

One of the biggest challenges facing arable farming in Hesse is the increasing drought caused by climate change. Such conditions require a paradigm shift in agriculture in order to secure yields and at the same time counteract soil degradation and the loss of biodiversity. But how can sustainable agriculture be designed in both an ecological and functional way? The LOEWE project "Transformative Mixed Crop Systems for One Health" (TRIO) is researching precisely these questions.

The aim is to develop sustainable and climate-resilient cultivation systems through the ecological and functional intensification of arable farming. Scientists at the University of Kassel, under the leadership of the Department of Organic Agriculture and Crop Production, together with departments at Justus Liebig University Giessen and Hochschule Geisenheim University are researching the integration of deep-rooted medicinal and aromatic plants into agricultural crop rotations in order to make them more resilient to extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Higher root biomass and flowering aspects of medicinal plants promote carbon storage in the soil and contribute to the promotion of biodiversity in the cultivated landscape.

At four locations over the state of Hesse (Frankenhausen experimental farm near Kassel, Weilburger Grenze near Giessen, Groß-Gerau and Darmstadt), field trials are being carried out with annual wheat, caraway and coriander as well as perennial wheat, caraway and fennel, in a stripe system with single and mixed plots. Thanks to the cooperation between the three university locations and the associated partners Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research, Landesbetrieb Landwirtschaft Hessen, Forschungsring e.V. and Ökoplant e.V., LOEWE-TRIO has a broad interdisciplinary basis. Four trial sites supplemented by seven practical sites in Hesse and a dry sandy site in Brandenburg represent the various soil-climate areas in Hesse.

In order to investigate the effects of the new cultivation systems, the yield and quality of the plants as well as the underlying mechanisms are analyzed on a physiological and (micro-) biological level. Using coupled eco-hydrological and agro-ecosystem modeling, the results are scaled up to Hesse and climate effects on the various crops are estimated on a site-specific basis. The expected ecosystem services will be valued through true-cost accounting, including on the basis of the involvement of various stakeholders such as farmers and consumers.

Through the collaboration of scientists from a wide range of disciplines and close networking with associated partners, the results flow directly into agricultural practice and advice. By integrating ecological processes and promoting diversity and resilience, LOEWE-TRIO contributes to overcoming the challenges of climate change in agriculture while maintaining the health of soil, plants, animals and humans.

LOEWE Research Cluster


  • University of Kassel (in charge)
  • Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Geisenheim University

Associated partners:

  • State Agency for Agriculture Hesse
  • Forschungsring e.V., Darmstadt
  • Ökoplant e.V.     
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research     
  • Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research

Fields of study

  • Organic farming and crop production
  • Grassland science
  • Plant research
  • Climate impact research
  • Nutritional sciences
  • Microbiology
  • Soil science

Funding period

since 2024

Project Coordinator

  • Professor Dr Miriam Athmann


  • Geisenheim
  • Kassel

More Information