Agroecology-Transect multi-partner network which secured EUR 6.4m Horizon Europe funding to realise the full potential of agroecology for European agriculture by improving the knowledge base for farmers and farm advisors supporting policy decision makers to deliver its widescale adoption.
The Innovation Hubs have worked together with their UK partners – the Soil Association – to create a new website to share research learnings and outcomes to improve understanding and uptake of nature friendly farming practices across Europe.
Bertrand Dumont, Director of Research at INRAE and project coordinator said: “Agroecology-Transect is a unique partnership which will enable us to rapidly build the evidence for how the wide-scale adoption of agroecological farming practices will enable farmers to play a leading role in climate change mitigation as well as improving soil health, restoring biodiversity and improving farm profitability. By overcoming current biotechnical, social and political lock-ins, we seek to maximise impacts in support of key EU policies, especially the Common Agricultural Policy, Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy.”
The EU has recognised the significant role that a rapid shift to agroecological farming practices can play in climate change mitigation and a shift to a fair, healthy and resilient European agriculture system as outlined in its Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategy. To support this the European Commission has awarded funding to support a significant and coordinated research programme to identify robust evidence on the benefits of a shift to agroecology across a range of projects.
Agroecology-Transect involves 19 research partners led by the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Farming – INRAE. They will be working across 11 ‘Innovation Hubs’ in five distinct systems:
– Integrated crop-livestock systems
– Annual cropping systems
– Herbivore production systems
– Perennial cropping systems
– Local food systems
Each hub will take a multi-agency approach to explore different agroecology practices in real-life contexts, such as the impact of farming with a diverse range of crops or livestock. They will collect evidence, analyse data, produce insights and identify opportunities and barriers for enhancing the role of agroecology.
The hubs reflect the diversity of the European regional geography, communities and farming systems and will help to improve the understanding and definition of agroecology and its practical applications in multiple farming systems while developing a programme of field trials to test and improve their practical implementation. They will also develop understanding and knowledge on how best to replicate and scale-up successful implementation of agroecological farming practices across Europe.
Agroecology-Transect will unleash greater cooperation and collaboration between farmer-led research and academic institutions. It will:
– Deliver a tool to better quantify the benefits of agroecology
– Identify barriers, opportunities and solutions for the adoption of agroecological farming practices
– Launch a toolbox to deliver practical recommendations for the implementation and expansion of agroecology
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.
Its Chief Executive Officer is Helen Browning, and Chair of Trustees is Martin Nye. Helen is also CEO of the Soil Association Group. Soil Association Limited is registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 206862 and as a charity in Scotland no. SC039168. Registered as a company no. 00409726.