Regenerative & Biodiversity Enriching Agriculture

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Euracademy Association

Online Seminar – 3rd March 2021

Euracademy Association were delighted to deliver our first on-line seminar with the support of our partner in Ireland, SECAD Partnership, who managed and hosted the event and a series of related on-line meetings involving more interactive links between speakers and participants during March 2021.

After successfully organising 18 Summer Academies at different locations around Europe, we also need to adapt to the changed circumstances.

Euracademy wishes to promote capacity building in rural areas, and mobilise experts and practitioners of rural development, by offering them opportunity to improve their skills, widen their experience and expand their qualifications.

Please scroll down this page to find the recordings (average 8-10 minutes) of each presentation and a copy of the slides used by each speaker

Euracademy Association is a non-profit European membership organisation established in 2004, with headquarters in Athens, Greece.

Euracademy’s vision is to promote capacity building in rural areas through lifelong learning and transfer of good practice and cooperation between different actors of rural development in the EU.

The Association has members from over 20 European countries including, universities, research institutions, academics, policy makers, social partners, local development managers and others.

The Euracademy network carries the experience of 17 years of developing and implementing capacity building and lifelong learning initiatives for sustainable rural development across Europe, taking an integrated approach to rural development, i.e. considering all the different sides of development and the different routes that can be used to achieve a sustainable future.

SECAD Partnership was formed in East Cork, Ireland, in 1995 bringing together a variety of local groups that for many years attempting to support the development of their communities, frustrated with from the lack of resources to support their ideas, plans and vision.

With the introduction of the EU Rural Development LEADER Programme and the National Social Inclusion Programmes these groups under the umbrella of SECAD gained access to the funding to enable communities within our region to actively pursue this vision.

The environment within which SECAD operates has changed significantly in 25 years, SECAD itself has grown and evolved over these years.

SECAD has developed new services, accessed new sources of funding and supports for local stakeholders and the organisation has significantly extended its services and its staff numbers to meet the demands of the communities it serves across the Island of Ireland. Visit www.secad.ie to learn more

Opening Remarks by Fouli Papageorgiou

Opening remarks by Fouli Papageorgiou, Euracademy Association (Vice President)

Danilo Marandola - Conservation agriculture: principles, characteristics and benefits for farmers and the environment

The talk gives an overall view of conservation agriculture and describes the main benefits of this practice for farmers and for the environment in terms of cost-efficiency, soil/water protection and climate change mitigation/adaptation.

Starting from definitions, general principles and data on worldwide adoption, the talk also describes the relevance of the theme in the frame of current and future EU policies addressing sustainable development.

Danilo Marandola

Agricultural Research Council, Policies and Bioeconomy (Italy)

Since 2010, I am a researcher at the Research Centre for Agricultural policies and Bioeconomy of CREA (Rome, Italy).

At CREA I am responsible for the implementation of Italy’s National Rural Network Programme 2014-2020 action dedicated to agri-environmental sustainability.

Under the surveillance of Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, I work to enhance the effectiveness and efficacy of CAP support schemes devoted to environmental sustainability of agriculture

Cornelius van Blerk - Regenerative agriculture – another buzzword or needed paradigm shift?

A quick journey through the evolution of farming over the last 12 000 years will set the stage for what follows. Important contrasts between natural-, traditional-, industrial-, sustainable-, and regenerative farming will be highlighted for their contribution to human-induced climate change.

Followed by a deeper look into the practices that qualify as regenerative and reasons for embracing these, illustrated by anecdotal evidence from global experiences in regeneration.

Cornelius van Blerk

Royal Society for Development (Norway)

Since 2019, I have worked for Norges Vel as an agroecology advisor, where I contribute to both national and international development projects.

Specifically, advising on how current systems can transition towards practices that regenerate the place’s natural fertility and resilience.

In addition, I am the project leader for Norges Vel’s role in The Norwegian Community Seed Bank, that work to preserve genetic resources in order to conserve biodiversity, by growing the presence of old Norwegian grain and vegetables varieties in the market, and by building up sufficient stock of these seeds to supply the demand for them among producers and research institutions.

Sabina Krsnik - The Role of Phytotherapy in Modern Society

Phytotherapy is a method of treating, alleviating and preventing disease through the use of herbs or their parts and through the use of ingredients and preparations. Despite the increasing use of medicinal plants, modern medicine still largely rejects herbal medicines or greatly underestimates their efficacy and therefore does not list them in therapeutic guidelines.

The project entitled Development and implementation of training courses on medicinal plants on educational farms – PHYTOFARMS is co-financed by European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The aim of the project is to investigate study the possibilities of developing and pilot implementation of activities on farms related to environmental and nutritional education.

Sabina Krsnik

University of Novo Mesto, Faculty of Health sciences (Slovenia)

I work as a project coordinator in the project Development and implementation of training about medicinal plants on educational farms – Phytofarms at the University of Novo Mesto, Faculty of Health Sciences in Slovenia.

I help project partners to formulate initiatives and proposals that would improve the field of herbalism and phytotherapy. We are aware of the importance of preserving and improving biodiversity and related ecological services.

By sharing knowledge with other farms and consistently creating new phytofarms, we wish to enable a long-term focus on extensive food production and herbalism, which would lead to trends in biodiversity on the one hand and enable farmers to survive on the other

Paul Moore - An Irish Case Study of Supporting Biodiversity on a Commercial Farm

I will briefly examine the national situation as regards farming enterprises in Ireland. I will then comment on how Agri-policy affects biodiversity before illustrating some of the simple practices that I implement on my farm that I believe have a positive environmental impact.  

Paul Moore

Farmer (Ireland)

I am an eight-generation tillage and beef farmer near Midleton in east Co Cork. I have had a lifelong interest in wildlife and have been actively involved in nature conservation for thirty years.

With my interest in birds I am contributing to two studies on tillage farmland biodiversity and experimenting on my own farm on how different farming management practices can affect farmland bird populations.

Dr. Dóra Beke - Soil compaction: Good soil condition leads to healthy crops

Soil compaction significantly influences the success of tillage and the biological activity of the soil. By loosening the compacted layer or layers, we can take a big step towards preserving organic matter and maintaining soil fertility and decreasing the loss of soil moisture. Improvement in the soil physical and biological condition is equally favourable for farming and environmental protection.

Dr. Dóra Beke 

Associate Professor, University of Győr, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Department of Plant Sciences

My main research interests are soil conservation, soil compaction, correlations between tillage and structural degradation, plant nutrition, composting. My educational activities are also related to these topics.

I facilitate lectures in Water and soil remediation; Soil conservation, Soil management, The Basics of Pedology, Sustainable crop production, Risk Analysis. I have been involved in several international research projects.

Petra Sladek - Regenerating a traditional farm

We keep a plant seed bank of approximately 600 wild and grown plant species and varieties, all collected at the farm.

In 2019 the farm received an ARK centre certificate for breeding autochtonous domestic animal breeds: drežnica goat, istra sheep and steyer chichen – everyone of which have a total population at around 1000 animals per species.

For educational purposes we are registered as a botanical garden and a Zoo.

Petra Sladek

Farmer (Slovenia)
I am a biologist, finishing a PHD in systematic botany at University of Ljubljana, department of Biology. My first job was multitasking in Botanical garden of Ljubljana. After that I started my own business out of a hobby for collecting plants and a love for animals.

I registered a Zoo and a botanical garden. In 2012 my parents and I bought a derelict farm, Last autumn my parents retired, and I moved to the farm with my husband.

We intend to continue renewing and developing the farm along with perusing projects associated with nature conservation, traditional farming conservation and nature-based integration for migrants and other marginalised groups.

Mr. Orlando Luigi Vella -The point of view on CA of a small farmer from southern Italy

I shall present my experience about CA, describing why and how I decided to practice it, the main benefits I received and the problems I had to face while shifting to no-till. I offer some tips to other farmers willing to follow my example and some perspectives I got from the study-trips I had in Argentina, France and Australia.

Mr. Orlando Luigi Vella

Farmer (Italy)

I am a small farmer from mid-southern Italy. My holding is 8 hectares mainly devoted to the cultivation of winter crops (cereals and legumes).

I started adopting conservation agriculture in 2010 with the main aim to simplify the cultivation of land and reduce production costs related to soil tillage.

Nowadays main CA operations in my farm are entrusted to service companies specialized in No-till cultivation techniques.

Closing remarks by Fouli Papageorgiou

Closing remarks by Fouli Papageorgiou, Euracademy Association (Vice President)

Keep Up to Date

Keep up to date with the latest with SECAD’s Regenerative & Bioversity Enriching Agriculture efforts.