Farming the Future

Farming the Future – Building Rural Networks for Climate-Adaptive Agriculture

Acronym: FARM LIFE

Project coordinator: Eurídice Leyequién – Professor of Management of Forested Landscapes. Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences.

Partners: The consortium comprises 7 partners.

Instituut Voor Landbouw En Visserijonderzoek (ILVO), Belgium

Wendeland B.V.

Horst Beheer B.V.

Bosboom B.V.

Boefkik B.V.

Stichting Landgoed De Koekoek

Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences

Funding: LIFE Climate Change Adaptation

Duration: September 1st 2018 – August 31 2023

Cost: Total budget for the project – 2,439,287 Euro

          European financial contribution – 1,463,570 Euro

The European Union has clearly identified and set priorities for the rural development in its member states. Addressing the challenges of how to enhance the viability and competitiveness of agriculture while restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems requires an integrated approach that would allow an effective transition towards a climate adaptive agriculture in this time of climate change. This integrated approach should incorporate and promote resource efficient agricultural practices that are low-carbon and climate-resilient. Agroforestry is a multifunctional agricultural system that diversifies and adapts the production while reducing the carbon footprint and minimizing the management efforts and input costs; where trees, crops and/or livestock open business opportunities in the food value chains as well as in the waste stream chains. Agroforestry can play a key role in closing loops (circularity), creating short value chains, generating nature-based entrepreneurship, strengthening local markets, and generating socially and environmentally acceptable landscapes.

FARM LIFE aims to contribute to a climate-resilient Europe by developing and demonstrating innovative adaptation technologies and approaches that support the transition of conventional agriculture towards climate resilient agroforestry systems. The FARM LIFE takes action on:

Adaptive Farm Plans. Developing adaptive farm plans for implementation and replication. A contextualized farm design is done using agroforestry following the triple bottom line People, Planet, Profit.

Co-creation. Constructing roadmaps for agricultural transition, co-created with entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes, government, and societal partners. 

Transition toolkit. Building a transition toolkit for replication addressing farmers, policy makers and societal partners. The transition toolkit contains all knowledge and information for replication both methodological and technical.

Future transition managers. Preparing the future agricultural transition managers by developing new training pathways for helping future agricultural managers conveying into the transition processes for climate adaptive farming.

Knowledge sharing. Connecting to other projects, e.g. AFINET, AGFORWARD, AGROFE for knowledge sharing. Developing innovative training tools by means of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – free online course available for anyone and especially disseminated to pertinent key target groups.

Making Farmers in charge again. Building farmer-driven business networks by supporting farmers to self-organize in a resilient networks in the form of cooperative or other partnership with clear developed business strategies.

Value creation and competitiveness. Developing agroforestry food products and branding strategies value, as well as defining certification set-up.

Transition into politics. Connecting to politics by bringing results under political attention at the European Union, Dutch and Belgium contexts, and regional levels.

The area of action of FARM LIFE is the Netherlands and Belgium.

Three demonstration farm sites are participating in the Dutch province of North Brabant. The three demonstration farm sites were selected  as trendsetters in implementing agroforestry as a feasible and profitable business model. To build resilient business networks five replication farm sites are selected for boosting business synergies with the demonstration farmers. Farm sites are located in the municipalities of Drimmelen, Alphen and Liempde, respectively.

The co-creative learning in agricultural transition processes and the development of the transition toolkit takes place in both Belgium and the Netherlands.