Yesterday our course was divided into three small groups to visit three different farms: Rinnebäcks gård/ Värpinge golfbana, Bokeslundsgården & Romelekött. Two of them we already visited now but our group went to Romelekött, a farm in Veberöd. They have around 300ha crop land, 150ha forest and 150ha grazing land for their cows and sheeps. The farm focus on meat and crop production. Their business strategy is a close connection to their consumers and to have a diverse business going on. The owner was very open minded, invited us afterwards to juice & cookies and drove with us through their property. We also were allowed to take a little walk with the dog which was really cool.
The exercise is know to analyse the farmers needs for advisory services. Therefore we have to write an individual assignment.
By the way, today is Valborg Fest! All people are celebrating it at the moment with candles, lights and fires. It is a nice spectacle! 🙂
Today I will tell you something about Partnership Alnarp, an organisation which enables knowledge transfer from research at SLU Alnarp to businesses and companies (partners) in Southern Sweden. Partnership Alnarp is run by a main facilitator, C.-O. Schwartz, who works there half-time, and two other half-time employees.
One major problem today is that scientific results and research is not communicated transparent enough to the working environment. Partnership Alnarp tries to solve this problem. At the moment, the organisation has around 90 partners (companies/ businesses), from wine growers, to construction companies, farmer associations and so on. The partners are divided into seven area specific advisory groups: livestock production, market & management, communication, gardening & vegetables, traditional growing, forestry and biobased industry raw materials. There are advisory members who are partners themselves with special areas of expertise and every area specific group has one chairmen. Researchers and students can apply at Partnership Alnarp for max. half of their budget needed for their project. The requirement is, that they have to hand in their project idea compressed on some pages. When the partners decided if they want to be involved in one project and support it, the chairmen of each advisory group ( of the partners) and C.-O. Schwartz decide on the approval and funding of the project.
If you ever have a great idea where you need support, then go there! I think to combine our theoretical knowledge and research from university with the “practical world” is the best thing we can do to make research applicable and meaningful.
for several weeks we have been taking the course project management and process facilitation now. The general aim of the course is to provide an overview of the need for stakeholder collaboration. We work a lot with approaches of individual and collaborative development and a main part of this is the advisory service in the agricultural sector. There are different ways to take the role of an administrator and convey knowledge transfer. I will give you an idea how we realise those concepts within the course:
Our first exercise was an individual description of the learning system of an e-case farm which we already know from the first course, Agroecology basics. The task was to focus on different sources of knowledge used by farmers in different countries, e.g. local knowledge, knowledge from experiences, scientific knowledge, etc.
At the moment we are in process of exercise 2. We got divided in small groups and had to interview a person who is related or works in the field of advisory services. This were the organisations we visited: Hushållningssällskapet in Borgeby, Jordbruksverket (Swedish Board of Agriculture), LRF Konsult and Partnership Alnarp. It was quit interesting to see how stakeholder collaboration can look like in reality and how important it is. We got an insight into collaboration between university & working environment, researchers & policies and university & farmers. We were surprised that there are some organisations and projects where you as a student can get easily involved as well, e.g. with your degree project or some ideas you can get support from Partnership Alnarp or people at SLU help you to find mentors and financial support for travel costs, material, etc.
On Monday we will interview a farmer about his needs and use of projects and processes (advisory services). So, you can see the bridge: at first we heard something about the various advisory options and now we are going “out in the field” and try to find out if those services are used.
At the end of March Ludwig wrote something about the Agroecology Day… and on Friday we printed our posters and the program flyers! So, there is no way back anymore. 😉
Our theme this year will be on Food Security and how the role of Agroecology is imperative to this. With the various lectures we planned (on the 8th of May), we try to build up an encompassing view on the whole food system. The panel discussion at the end of the knowledge-food market and the lectures should deal with the question: How should our food system be designed to achieve sustainable food security globally? We even have a moderator to facilitate the discussion!
We expanded the Agroecology Day 2019 a bit, because on the 9th of May we now have a participatory workshop with the topic: How can we better promote our Agroecology qualifications to employers? This participatory workshop will be facilitated by Agroecologists from the Norwegian University of Life sciences (NMBU).
You are more then welcome to join both days! We will hopefully arrange a livestream of the lectures and the panel discussion. But stay updated on our web channels. It is so exciting and we are incredibly nervous how everything will work. But it is so much fun! If you will be studying Agroecology here some day, take this chance, find motivated nice fellow students and organise the next AED! 🙂
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This weekend we followed the call from a farm near Höör that needed urgent help for planting and seedbed preparation. The two women Cecilia and Monica moved out from the city Malmö to the countryside and become rural farmers near the Lake Ringsjön. Therefore, they left heir urban farm behind, or better to say took it to the countryside and expanded it.
Due to this is their first season that they grow on their own 4,75 ha of land we found an empty field that was a former pasture when we came there on Saturday. The plot was covered with plastic for two months to suffocate the vegetation. Additionally it was cultivated. Due to there is a big plague of Quick grass our first task was to clear a plot of 20×11 m from their rhizomes. After that we spread a bit manure and prepared the soil for planting out hundreds of onions. We planted them in 10 cm spacing with 20cm wide rows, all by hand with hand tools. A second group weeded the garlic that was already set out before and covered it with hey afterwards to protect the bare soil and keep weeds down.
Luckily there came around 19 people to help on this day. That made the working progress very fast and we have had much fun. It is always great to meet likeminded people that are interested in growing and exchange thoughts with them. During the whole day the weather was very sunny and we as well had the chance to sit in the sun during lunch and Fika. We can just recommend to join such voluntary working calls – its just so much fun!
Since last week the weather is continuously getting better and the most of the days are sunny and the day temperatures are quite nice. That means that the fields are dried up and the seedbed preparation and the drilling of the first crops has started.
As well on the farm were Ludwig is working the work is more and more concentrated out on the field. This week I was rolling some of the fields where field beans were drilled before to compact the seedbed a bit better and improve the contact of the seeds to the soil so they will hopefully germinate soon. Another task was to harrow a bare left field to brake up the harsh crust. This was carried out by a machine that I helped to rebuild during the last weeks and it was equipped it with new goose-foot blades. You can see the difference of a worked and non-worked plot on the pictures below.