Learning and exchange
Agroecology for Europe Hub - connecting digitally
The Agroecology for Europe Hub has been created by the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Pollenzo, Italy (UNISG), in collaboration with Zetabi for technical development, within the H2020 AE4EU project. It is a virtual space to connect all actors interested or involved in agroecology. Indeed the hub’s vision is to develop a European network on agroecology. Encouraging networking and exchange of information, the finalities of the hub are to connect digitally with colleagues and experts, share knowledge, insights and best practice, learn from experiences and inspire innovation and new ways of working in Agroecology.
In the Hub, users can share content and information illustrating Living Labs, farming practices, but also funding opportunities and policy strategies. Everything can be easily published and found online to create European agroecological connections.
Who can access the hub?
The Hub gathers different stakeholders (farmers integrated into territory, local food hubs, policymakers, food supplier and food producers, restaurants and chefs, NGOs, researchers, teachers, students in higher education institutes, citizens and other actors categories interested in agroecology) to facilitate exchanges in the Europe-wide network of agroecology organizations (linking academic and real-world actors).
How to use the hub?
The hub was designed in a user-friendly way, and it does not require technical skills from you. In the Hub, after creating a personal account HERE, you can find or share different kinds of information and experiences about agroecology – at different levels, from farm stories to funding and research. And the types of uploadable content are:
- Stories from the field
- Resources (that means creating an external link)
- Upload a file or picture
- Create an event description
To enrich the shared content, you can add a title, keywords related to agroecology farming categories, agroecology principles, practices and pillars, but also types of stakeholders interested in the specific content that you are uploading.
Finally, on the homepage, there is an informative section, called ‘experience a growing network’, the only hub section accessible without registration. In this homepage section, you will find resources and information on agroecology: in the first section, called ‘training and practicing’, the definition of agroecology and its principles, guidelines for farmers’ training, and our understanding of living labs are defined. In the section called, ‘sharing your skills and experience’, you can find examples of agroecological initiatives, living labs and academic resources. While, in the last section, funding schemes for researchers, farmers and funded agroecological projects are presented.
Now that you are aware of the new virtual space ‘the Agroecology for Europe hub’, we invite you to start sharing content that needs to be shared with the rest of the European AE network!
Authors: Alice Fassò, Natalia Rastorgueva, Paola Migliorini
Living labs and research infrastructures
Accelerating the adoption of new ways of thinking leading to new practices and technologies requires developing and implementing novel participatory research infrastructures. The LLs approach, which builds on the three core principles of user-centred innovation, real-life experimental setups and private-public-people partnerships, may offer the potential to better address current agroecosystem challenges. For this project we will use the definition of ALL established by the international Agroecosystems Living Laboratories (ALL) working group (Agroecosystems Living Laboratories (ALL) Executive Report 2019, www.macs-g20.org): “Transdisciplinary approaches which involve farmers, scientists and other interested partners in the co-design, monitoring and evaluation of new and existing agricultural practices and technologies on working landscapes to improve their effectiveness and early adoption.
Within work package 4 of AE4EU we are setting up and facilitating 3 living labs in 3 countries (NL, UK, IT) to develop context-based and site-specific solutions to the central question “which mechanisms will strength the agroecological research and innovation ecosystems in Europe?”. To create the LL, 3 workshops are organised in each country. Learn more about the workshops already held here.
Agroecosystem living lab, an approach towards a sustainable agriculture
Living lab (LL) may have slightly different meanings in different fields of research and to different actors or organizations. Nevertheless, all LL are known as user-centered approach with involvement of multiple actors to co-create, explore and evaluate the innovations together in a real-life condition.
A living lab is comparable to an ecosystem with different living organisms (different actors) and abiotic components (LL criteria) that are linked together (co-creation, co-development) to fulfill the specific function (outcomes: e.g. solutions or products).
Ecosystems are dynamic entities that are responding to environmental changes (interactions and networks within and between the systems) and therefore sustainability and resilience are considered as two important features of any living system including an agroecosystem and a LL.
Based on the executive report of international agroecosystem living laboratories (MACS 2019) three general components of agroecosystem living lab are defined:
1) transdisciplinary approaches,
2) co-design and co-development with participants,
3) monitoring, evaluation and research in real landscapes. Implementation of living lab approach in agroecosystem might be a good solution to move faster and more effectively towards a sustainable agriculture and agri-food system as LLs deal with diverse aspects of agroecosystem (ecological, social and political), consider different actors who are involved in a project and address current challenges (e.g. water and soil problem, climate change, etc.).
Read the full article: here !
A Living Lab workshop took place during the 3rd Agroecology Europe Forum in Barcelona.
The workshop was held online and the recording can be rewatched:
(c) Agroecology Europe, 3rd Agroecology Europe Forum in Barcelona (19.11.2021)
Education & Training
Education and training in agroecology require case-specific, adaptive, reflective, experiential and action learning for further development of context-specific, highly complex, adaptable and not one-fits-all practices and systems in agriculture and food systems. Although some emerging experiences with different training programmes and education as well as LL learning experience exist, they are mainly still isolated and vary significantly in scope, goals and focus. Bringing successful experiences together and develop a European Knowledge Exchange Network in agroecology will allow bringing momentum into the amplification and concrete implementation of agroecology in Europe.
ECVC with the support of local organisations has held three training programmes for agroecology in three different countries. Those training gather different stakeholders (farmers, research/students, environmentalist organisations and local actors) and will be used to develop pilot training guidelines.
Read the full article here!