Reforest participation at the AGROMIX Summit: Agroforestry for the Future of European Agriculture

The ‘AGROMIX Summit: Agroforestry for the Future of European Agriculture’ had the aim to facilitate and incentivise the adoption of Mixed Farming and Agroforestry systems under EU legislation. The one-day event provided a stage for an in-depth exchange between policymakers, farmers and researchers that seek to explore agroecological solutions for more resilient land use in Europe as well as the development of tools to implement these practices.

Two ReForest project (101060635 – REFOREST, funded by the European union) partners joined the one-day event in Brussels on 17th April 2024. Robert Borek from Polish Agroforestry Association (OSA) joined as an Agromix partner, since OSA is active in both projects. Johannes Schmitt from Philipps-Universitaet Marburg (UMR) was invited as an academic guest.

The Summit started with an opening speech by Dr Ulrich Schmutz, AGROMIX Project Coordinator and Professor of Organic Horticulture and Ecological Economics at the University of Coventry and Tommy Dalgaard, Coordinator of EU project MIXED and Manager of the research section for Agricultural Systems and Sustainability at the Aarhus University, Department of Agroecology.
After this Elise Van Broeckhoven, a Farmer at Plukboerderij GRONDIG, emphasised the importance of transforming the EU food system towards sustainability and resilience. Following Susana Gaona Sáez, Research Policy Officer at the EU Commission (DG AGRI), presented why the EU is supporting research projects on agroforestry and mixed farming.

To emphasise the wider context of agroforestry in Europe Felix Herzog, Agroscope, and Ulrich Schmutz presented the key results of the AGROMIX Project showing the potential of agroforestry and mixed farming for the transformation of the European food system.
In order to understand the difficulties of this transformation Gerry Lawson, Policy Analyst at European Agroforestry Federation and Lisa Haller, Policy Expert at EU CAP Network presented the challenges and barriers for the implementation of Agroforestry in Europe. To delve deeper into this topic Paola Migliorini, Associate Professor at the University of Gastronomic Science (UNISG) and cofounder Agroecology Europe, and Rosemary Venn, Researcher at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, University of Coventry held a presentation on the current policy environment of agroforestry in Europe.

After a short break the whole summit joined together in a World Café, where participants could discuss on how to promote and implement agroforestry and mixed farming in the EU and national policies. The five topics discussed in the World Café were:

1. Increase and streamline funding and economic incentives, both within and outside of the CAP.
2. Develop training resources, improve education & access to research.
3. Improve and condense the many definitions, statistics & tools used within agroforestry and
mixed farming.
4. Improve policy coherence across interconnected policy objectives and strategies at EU level.
5. Develop diverse value chains for AF/MF products & increase their visibility and access

The outcome of the World Café can be found itt.

After the lunch break Tijs Boelens, Farmer at De Groentelaar, held an emotional speech about the importance of peasant farming and agroecology in the transformation of the EU Food System.

The presentation of main results of the morning session including the World Cafe and introduction to the afternoon session were done by Paola Migliorini. Following journalist Natasha Foote started a podium debate with high level panel and questions from the audience. Panellists were:

•Anja Gassner, EU Director of CIFOR-ICRAF
• Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director ENVI.D – Biodiversity (DG ENVI)
• Morgan Ody, General Coordinator La Via Campesina
• Patrick Worms, Senior Science Policy Advisor at CIFOR-ICRAF and President of the International Union of Agroforestry (IUAF)
• Tamas Szedlak, Forestry Expert at the EU Commission (DG AGRI)
• Alberto Mantino, Assistant Professor at Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the University of Pisa

After the debate Fanny Didou, a graphic facilitator summed up the summit by presenting her artistic interpretation of the summit, which can be found itt.

Ending the summit Paola Migliorini and Vincent Dauby, Researcher in agroecology at Agroecology Europe, did a short conclusion and presented next steps needed to improve the spreading of agroforestry around Europe.

After the summit there was space for the participants to exchange knowledge and to network.