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How can multifunctionality address the challenges of mountain farming?

In times of increasing challenges of the social and economic viability of European farms, especially those in mountainous and remote areas, an option worth considering is multifunctional farming. By diversifying their activities, farmers can secure different income sources while at the same time promoting the cultural and natural heritage of their territory.

 

Promoting multifunctional farming and conserving Europe’s agricultural landscapes

FEAL, short for multifunctional Farming for the sustainability of European Agricultural Landscapes, is an ERASMUS+ project. It has been running since 2016, and partners recently presented their conclusions during the final conference on May 6, 2019 in Brussels.

The core aim of FEAL is to create a win-win situation: guaranteeing the social and economic viability of farms through multifunctional farming, while also maintaining and promoting European agricultural landscapes (EALs). Agriculture has a fundamental role in the creation and maintenance of EALs. In turn, these landscapes offer many ecosystem services (e.g. biodiversity) and present a rich array of cultural and historical values. When EALs are managed sustainably, they provide added value to the farming activity through the services and products deriving from them. These mechanisms have been researched at length by the European Horizon 2020 project PEGASUS, standing for Public Ecosystem Good and Services from land management – Unlocking the Synergies, of which Euromontana was a partner.

Examples of multifunctional farming are presented in the following image, and include quality labels, tourism and social services. Agrotourism for instance can be a way to promote natural heritage of mountain areas as well as traditions, know-hows and mountain products. This can also revitalize remote mountain areas while developing sustainable tourism options in these territories.

 

 

Addressing the knowledge gap through open-access education

Despite the opportunities offered by multifunctional farming, the FEAL project identified an important knowledge gap: on the one hand, farmers are often unaware of ecological, cultural, social and economic benefits of EALs. On the other hand, many do not know how to maintain and promote these landscapes through sustainable multifunctional farming practices.

Hence, FEAL addresses this knowledge gap. The development of open-access e-learning tools enables farmers to learn without having to leave the farm. The learning tools target young farmers, rural entrepreneurs, and family farmers, and are available in 7 languages on FEAL Eduweb. The e-learning platform proposes 5 training modules including both theory and self-assessment questionnaires. The modules cover principles of multifunctional agriculture and EALs; entrepreneurial concepts and elements of business planning; and communication for cooperation and collaboration.

 

Why is multifunctional farming important for mountain areas?

With issues such as rural depopulation, acute climate change and low incomes pressuring farming systems, multifunctional farming is especially important in mountainous and remote areas. Through positive synergies between the landscape and farming practices, the farm can become economically and socially viable, whilst also environmentally sustainable.

  • The Farm Vrhovc, in the pre-Alpine hills of Western Slovenia, is an example of how to combine a broad set of activities into one farm. The farm has existed since the 18th century and was based on livestock production up till 2010. The owner then decided to diversify towards tourism-based activities using the surrounding landscape. However, offering food and accommodation was not enough. Now the farm has a sports fishing pond, offers various home-made culinary specialties, a picnic and social games area, a children’s playground, and a football field. The location also allows other activities such as hiking, cycling, and skiing.
  •  Another example is the Sibillini Ranch in the Sibillini Mountains National Park, Italy, illustrating resilience in the face of disaster. In 2016, the area was hit by earthquakes. While most people left, the owners of this ranch decided to stay. To ensure their economic survival, they opted for diversification. Nowadays, the ranch produces several crops representing the region’s agrobiodiversity, such as the famous lentil “Castelluccio di Norcia” (PGI); purebred horses for riding schools and trekking tours in the spectacular highlands of Castelluccio di Norcia; and rears local bovine, sheep and swine races, to produce products like steak from the Chianina breed (PGI) and Norcia ham (PGI). Overall, the ranch makes admirable use of the area’s cultural and natural heritage.

Multifunctional farming addresses at the same time various issues occurring in mountain areas. The above-mentioned examples demonstrate how such projects can participate in boosting the vitality of a territory, promoting sustainable tourism and gastronomy as well as including farmers in the social life of the area. For more inspiration, take a look at the FEAL Case Studies or PEGASUS case studies.

 

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14 May 2019

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6 days ago

Euromontana

Vă invităm în perioada 23 – 25 mai 2019, la cea de-a XXI–a ediţie a Conferinţei ştiinţifice internaţionale "Turismul rural românesc în context internațional. Actualitate şi perspective", ce va avea loc la Vatra Dornei.

We invite you on May 23 - 25, 2019, at the XXIth edition of the International Scientific Conference "Romanian Rural Tourism in an International Context. Actuality and Perspectives", to be held in Vatra Dornei.

Organizatori: Agenția Națională a Zonei Montane, împreună cu Academia Română, filiala Iaşi – Institutul de Cercetări Economice şi Sociale "Gh. Zane" și Institutul Național de Cercetări Economice "Costin C. Kiriţescu"/INCE Centrul de Economie Montana "CE-MONT" Vatra Dornei, Ministerul Agriculturii și Dezvoltării Rurale – Reteaua Nationala de Dezvoltare Rurala - RNDR, alături de Primăria Municipiului Vatra Dornei, Asociaţia Naţională de Turism Rural Ecologic şi Cultural - ANTREC Bucovina, Institutul Naţional de Cercetare Dezvoltare în Turism - INCDT Bucureşti, Asociaţia Europeană a Ţărilor cu Munţi – Euromontana și Asociația Generală a Economiștilor din România AGER - Filiala Iaşi.

Evenimentul se adresează oamenilor de știință, cercetătorilor, cadrelor didactice universitare, doctoranzilor, masteranzilor, cu preocupări în cercetarea fenomenului turistic din spațiul rural, care, împreună cu managerii de pensiuni turistice și agroturistice încearcă să găsească soluții optime de revigorare a mediului rural și a fenomenului turistic din acest spaţiu.

Tematica manifestării:
 Turismul rural și agroturismul în contextul dezvoltării durabile la nivel naţional, regional și global;
 Tradiționalism vs. modernism în turismul rural;
 Strategii naționale și regionale de dezvoltare a turismului rural;
 Managementul și marketingul e-turismului;
 Comportamentul prestatorilor şi consumatorilor de servicii de turism rural;
 Rolul legislaţiei în domeniu în promovarea şi dezvoltarea turismului rural;
 Turismul rural din perspectivă multidisciplinară şi interdisciplinară: economie, sociologie, drept, psihologie, antropologie, etnografie, folclor etc.
 Bune practici internaționale

Lucrările Conferinței vor avea loc la Agenția Națională a Zonei Montane, din Vatra Dornei, strada Runc nr. 23, în „Amfiteatrul Munților”, după următorul Program:
Joi, 23 mai
13.00 - 14.00 Înregistrarea participanților
14.00 - 14.30 Deschiderea oficială
14.30 - 15.30 Prezentarea lucrărilor ştiinţifice – Partea I
15.30 - 16.00 Pauză cafea
16.00 - 19.00 Prezentarea lucrărilor ştiinţifice – Partea II
20.00 - 21.00 Cina
Vineri, 24 mai
09.00 - 11.00 Prezentarea lucrărilor ştiinţifice – Partea III
11.00 - 11.30 Pauză cafea
11.30 - 14.00 Prezentarea lucrărilor ştiinţifice – Partea IV
14.00 - 15.30 Pauză de masă
15.30 - 17.30 Prezentarea lucrărilor ştiinţifice – Partea V
17.30 - 18.00 Pauză cafea
18.00 - 19.30 Dezbateri, Concluzii
19.30 - 20.00 Închiderea lucrărilor
20.00 - 21.00 Cina festivă
Sâmbătă, 25 mai
09.30 - 16.00 Aplicaţie practică în comuna Vama

Mai multe detalii aici: geodantacu.wixsite.com/rorut?fbclid=IwAR23N_-GCwNINkE37dm48j6EVqTlo-TEWcoqDNnQL6wvl6GSFlr1-w7HJvE
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➡️Assessing our progresses
➡️Presenting and discussing good practices
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