Updated: Feb 17
Food4Sustainability, a collaborative laboratory in the field of agricultural sustainability, and AlVelAl, a Spanish regenerative landscape association, have joined forces to create the ERASMUS+ Transforming Farmers' communities project.
TransFarmers project promotes the exchange of good practices in almond orchards for farmers and other stakeholders. To this end, visits will be encouraged between Portugal and Spain, namely Idanha-a-Nova and Almería - reference regions in almond production.
TransFarmers focuses on intensive almond farms, due to the high landscape implications, economic potential and extensive application of successful interventions to preserve the local heritage of a consortium member: the Aland Foundation. TransFarmers focuses on creating reskilling methods for adult education and promoting an ERASMUS+ experience across all citizens and generations.
Among the activities planned under TransFarmers, the development of two studies to assess the obstacles faced by farmers and rural communities with changing almond farming systems and identifying successful best practices - investing in regenerative practices in almond can increase the value of ecosystem services by 17-28% in just one year. This project aims to organize two workshops to create a network of almond producers and promote synergies between all stakeholders (farmers, industries, research units, municipalities) to form and develop an "almond school".
For more information, you can consult here.
Almonds have been consumed throughout the world since ancient times and are part of the Mediterranean landscape. Extensive production plays an important economic and cultural role in the Iberian Peninsula, with Spain, with 10% of world production, being considered the largest Mediterranean producer and the second largest producer in the world.
In Portugal, due to favourable climate conditions, it is estimated that the production area will double by 2025, in line with the growth from 300-500 hectares to 10 thousand hectares from 2010 to the present day. Food4Sustainability CoLAB, based in the Idanha-a-Nova region, is in a privileged area where almond production is also expanding, with traditional extensive orchards being replaced by intensive ones. Thus, farmers are encouraged to invest in almond production due to higher prices and higher yields (€3/kg to €9/kg from 2014 to 2019). This intensification of almond farming raises challenges for local communities, causes changes to the landscape and puts pressure on resources (soils, water, and local unemployment); challenges to which TransFarmers aims to respond.
About Food4Sustainability (F4S) CoLAB
The Food4Sustainability (F4S) CoLAB is a collaborative laboratory located in Portugal that aims to solve large-scale problems in organic food systems (e.g. food, fish, algae, vegetables) to achieve climate resilience. F4S CoLAB is at the forefront of the shift from linear agri-food production processes to circular processes. The F4S CoLAB aims to test and implement new approaches in food production systems that positively impact: CO2 mitigation, no use of chemicals, sustainable intensification (maximizing land use), preservation of water bodies and environmental impact, and increased efficiency in the food value chain.
The Aland Foundation supports AlVelAl, a multi-stakeholder project that aims to restore one million hectares of semi-arid plateau landscape. AlVelAl has delivered over 70 workshops, agro-cafés, individual coaching, applied its agricultural assessment system and published agricultural guides. More than 3000 people have so far benefited from this knowledge transfer. AlVelAl is also running projects to diversify the production ecosystem with the Almendrehesa concept and cooperates with universities and institutions such as the Spanish High Council for Scientific Research. To enrich the value chain, increase farmers' livelihoods and avoid land abandonment, AlVelAl promotes entrepreneurship and the foundation of cooperatives and companies to process raw products (such as almonds). AlVelAl also links gastronomy with tourism and agriculture, having participated in networks such as "1000 landscapes for 1 million hectares", cooperating with strong partners such as Commonland.
For further information, contact
Claúdia Costa, F4S Project Manager