Promoting sustainable farming in the Mediterranean through multi-actor research and innovation

Farms4Climate is the short name of the project "Smart governance and operational models for agroecological carbon farming." It is co-funded by PRIMA (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area - Grant Agreement 2111), and it was built to respond to the 2021 call for innovation actions, topic "increasing the environmental and socio-economic performance of small scale farming systems through improvements in organisational aspects and new value chain governance models."

The stepping stone that led to a funded project was the realisation that to change behaviours, it is important to provide economic metrics in support of the shift, but even more importantly, broader socio-cultural motivators have to be provoked. In other words, farmers need to be inspired by a vision that they can connect to, and use this vision to drive actions that go beyond strict economic considerations. Therefore, based on their demonstrated capacity to generate systemic changes, the consortium decided to apply the living lab process, inspired by two success stories strongly rooted in rural communities: the Economy of Love and the 4 Returns model. The overall goal of Farms4Climate is to adapt these two models for ethical and sustainable economies for the promotion of healthy relationships between people and nature in six Mediterranean regions.

To meet the overall goal of the project, a number of objectives were defined. These start from establishing living labs in each targeted region and end up in the creation of specific digital tools to support rural transformation. How the project structure and plan would contribute to reach these objectives is presented in this section.    

The consortium if composed of 12 partners from 6 Mediterranean countries. Who they are and what they do is broadly described here. 

Innovative solutions are being co-created in 6 different regions, each one with its own characteristics in respect of underlying meteorological conditions and the most diffuse cropping systems. A brief introduction of the challenges and potential opportunities in these 6 areas is presented here.