- EIP-AGRI Projects
- Focus groups
|Geographical scope|| |
Update 26 June
The Rural Inspiration Awards are an EU-wide rural development good practice competition organised by the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD). The awards included three categories: bioeconomy, climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation. An expert jury selected one winner per category and a fourth winner based on the results of a popular vote.
Out of the 71 entries for the ENRD Rural Inspiration Awards 2020 competition, 15 projects have been shortlisted for an award, and 3 of these are EIP-AGRI Operational Groups.
The winners have been announced during an online ceremony on 25 June, 17:00 (CET time). The one-hour ceremony was held via Zoom and broadcast on the ENRD's YouTube channel (EURural).
The 2020 winners are:
More information about the winners is available at the ENRD website: https://enrd.ec.europa.eu/news-events/news/rural-inspiration-awards-2020-meet-winners_en
More information about the Rural Innovation Award is available at the ENRD website: https://enrd.ec.europa.eu/news-events/events/rural-inspiration-awards-2020_en
Knowledge exchange network to foster collaboration around organic agriculture
ECOPIONET aims to create a network of organic pioneer farmers who are supported by scientists and technical consultants. These pioneers will create a Producers' Organisation to improve their negotiating position, allowing their farming activity to generate sustainable profit over time, and reactivating the economic flow in the rural world.
The network includes farmers, scientists and researchers to improve the actors’ knowledge of agroecosystems, new technologies, farm management and commercialisation. It supports farmers to increase their farm profitability whilst simultaneously promoting organic and/or more environmentally-friendly practices that protect the environment and increase the farmers’ capacity to adapt to climate change.
The project was developed in the dryland cereal areas in Spain’s interior (Salamanca, Toledo and Guadalajara), where production has been massively abandoned for different reasons, including climate change. As a result the viability of many farms has been compromised. ECOPIONET promotes organic farming practices, conversion and marketing, as these systems allow for greater adaptation to climate change and provide the tools for farm businesses to increase profitability. Organic farming practices help secure the farms’ economic sustainability and guarantee their viability over time. The network establishes a knowledge exchange system where various actors (farmers, researchers, technicians, industry representatives) share their knowledge and viewpoints to support adaptation to climate change.
A knowledge sharing network has been successfully established between farmers researchers, scientists, industry representatives, technical advisers and associations engaged in organic farming. The structure and activities of the network have created a dynamic flow of information amongst the actors ranging from practical experience and knowledge to scientific findings from formal trials. This approach has led to producer organisations and associations promoting organic production, empowering farmers through solutions and insights into best practices, value-added strategies, and helping them to improve the environmental impacts of their production and adapt to climate change.
Multifunctional borders for sustainable landscape and agriculture
Establishing multifunctional hedgerows around agricultural fields is a steadily increasing activity, which is included in several policies as a means to secure sustainable agriculture and climate change adaptation. This project in the region of Murcia, Spain involves the design, implementation and monitoring of multifunctional hedgerows to contribute to a sustainable agricultural system with a low environmental impact.
By planting and growing perennial vegetation, more CO2 will be captured, contributing to climate change mitigation. Creating ecological corridors and diversifying the vegetation will also increase the resilience and biodiversity of farming systems, a key element in addressing the current environmental crisis the planet is facing. A particular feature of the project is that it involves multiple actors at different levels of the agricultural sector. For instance, very important scientific information was provided through the collaboration with research institutes and that knowledge was then applied in the field to different types of agriculture. The main actions undertaken by the project were planting, and monitoring of natural hedgerows and the public dissemination of practical information related to these sustainable, climate-focused actions.
By the project’s end, 20 hedgerows spread across 5 ha are expected to be fully established, with 35 000 seedlings planted. In addition to their environmental benefits, including wildlife habitat, natural pest management, and climate mitigation through carbon sequestration and storage, the hedges also offer significant adaptation benefits. Hedges increase soil organic matter and improve soil structure to provide erosion control, infiltration and water retention capacity to combat the impacts of extreme rainfall and drought.
Natural soil improver made of regional river sediment, sods and grass clippings.
Brickz is a fertiliser in block form, made from local and regional biomass materials (river sediment, turf and grass clippings), which are naturally rich in organic matter and spore elements. It is actively enriched with healthy soil fungi, mycorrhiza and nematodes which help to make Brickz a sustainable alternative to artificial fertilisers. Brickz also helps store carbon for decades, because residue material is used by trees.
The objective of this EIP-AGRI Operational Group was to create a new cooperation between nature conservation organisations and tree nurseries. Previously, nature conservation organisations only purchased trees from tree nurseries. Now they also deliver them material for natural soil improvement. By avoiding disposal costs (typically EUR 50 per tonne) the organisations save money which can be used for other conservation purposes. Nature conservation organisations then buy trees from tree nurseries that have used Brickz, thus creating a closed nutrient circle. The use of Brickz will lead to higher yields for tree nurseries, partly because fewer trees will die due to the May-beetle grub. Also soil quality has improved. Brickz are now being manufactured and sold. Considerable growth across The Netherlands is anticipated.