EU Science Hub

Agroecology and ecological intensification for a sustainable food future

Jul 13 2015
Jul 14 2015
EXPO 2015, Milan and JRC, Ispra

The Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS) Unit of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability is organising a workshop on agroecology and ecological intensification for a sustainable food future, which will be held at the EXPO site in Milan and at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra.

The workshop aims to discuss the role of agroecology and ecological intensification in EU agriculture.

Food security will concern nine billion people in 2050, and the debate is growing on how to meet the demand for food in a sustainable way. In the European Union, 2020 goals for resource efficiency and discussions on the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy frame the debate. The forthcoming European Commission Communication on Sustainable Food encompasses all this.

A sustainable food future requires coordinated efforts across a number of sectors. These include reducing food waste, changing diets, and optimising the supply chain. It is necessary to increase production efficiency, reduce environmental impacts and preserve natural capital.

The workshop focuses on aspects of complex systems that are linked to interactions with the environment. Specifically, it deals with how agroecology and ecological intensification can support EU agriculture to meet medium- and long-term goals concerning sustainable food production. The aim is to make the point on:

  • possibilities and solutions offered by agroecology, which are applicable specifically in the European agricultural context, while carefully considering strengths and weaknesses,
  • how the enhancement of the provision of ecosystem services that are beneficial to agriculture (pollination, pest control, nutrient cycling, enhancement of soil fertility, mitigation of soil erosion, etc.), can guarantee optimal levels of production and minimise environmental impacts while improving the overall ecological resilience of agricultural production systems.


The workshop will cover the extent to which such approaches can be beneficial to Europe, in particular to areas already under intensive use, as well as aspects of economic viability.


Draft programme                                                                                          


Monday 13 July 2015 – EXPO2015 EU Pavilion


12.00-13.15 – Lunch on the terrace of the EXPO EU Pavilion


13.30 – Welcome address (ML Paracchini - JRC)

13.35 – 14.15 – Keynote lecture – Miguel Altieri (UC Berkley – USA)

14.15 – 14.30 – questions


14.30 – 14.50 – Lukas Visek (EC DG AGRI) - EU's Common Agricultural Policy and its path to sustainability and growth

14.50 – 15.10 – Guilhelm Brun (French Ministry for Agriculture – FR) - Sustainability of agriculture: implementing agroecology in France

15.10 – 15.30 – Ulrich Schmutz (CAWR Coventry University – UK) Mainstreaming agroecology - implications for EU policies, research and farming

15.30 – 16.00 - questions


16.00 – 16.30 Coffee break


16.30 – 16.50 – Henrik Smith (Lund University – SE) Will ecological intensification simultaneously benefit yields and support biodiversity?

16.50 – 17.10 – Alexander Wezel (ISARA Lyon – FR) Agroecological practices enhancing ecosystem services: potentials and constraints for future European agriculture

17.10 – 17.30 - Alain Peeters (RHEA – BE) Development of a model for agroecology in Europe: science and practice

17.30 – 18.00 – questions and first day wrap-up (Marco Bertaglia – JRC)


18.00 – 22.00 – free time at EXPO

22.00 – Bus transfer to Embassy Hotel (Pero, MI) and Atahotel (Varese)


Tuesday 14 July 2015 – JRC Ispra


08:00 – Bus transfer from Embassy Hotel (Pero, MI) and Atahotel (Varese) to JRC Ispra

09:30 – Welcome coffee

Farmers’ experience (Session chaired by Caterina Batello (FAO)

10.00 – 10.20 -  Elisabeth Simon (Domain de Graux, BE): transition of an arable farm to agroecology, my experience at Graux Estate, Belgium

10.20 – 10.40 – Philippe Pointereau (Solagro – FR) Agroecological transition built upon farmers’ skills and knowledge

10.40 – 11.00 – Silvio Minconetti (Corbaribio - IT) Agroecology into practice: from farm to society

11:00 – 11:15 – Caterina Batello (FAO) From Global to Regional: FAO’s work on Agroecology

11.15 – 11.45 - questions

11.45 – 13.15 - panel discussion and conclusions (facilitator: Allan Buckwell – IEEP, UK)


13.15 - 14.00 – Lunch


14.00 – 15.00  - First group to JRC Visitors' Centre

14.45 – 15.45  - Second group to JRC Visitors' Centre


15.45 – Departure for Malpensa Airport


Click here to download the programme leaflet



Registration and practical arrangements

Registration is free. It includes the EXPO2015 entrance ticket, coffee breaks and lunches on both days, transports as specified below, and the tour of the JRC Visitors Centre. Accommodation is excluded.


Given the restricted number of seats in the EXPO EU pavilion, we can accept a maximum of 85 registrations. If accepted, you will be contacted by workshop organisers. To register, send an email with a short motivation letter (max 300 words) to

Please note that we will accept registrations only from participants who plan to attend both days.


Hotel rooms for the night of 13th July are pre-booked and on hold until 15 May at the following two hotels:

- Embassy Park Hotel, Via Giovanni XXIII 15, Pero (MI),  (single € 100.00)

- Atahotel Varese, Via Albani 73, 21100 Varese,  (single € 113.00 / double € 135.00)


The JRC will provide transportation from EXPO to the hotels on 13 July, from the hotels above to the JRC premises in Ispra, and then to Malpensa Airport on 14 July.


Entry to the Expo site may take a long time, please plan to be at the gates well in advance.