The international project Growing Consciousness: RIS Challenge is a series of educational activities that aim to bridge the innovation gap between high yielding agricultural areas, typical of large intensively farmed plains – and rural areas with fragmented production, often in difficult terrain where niche varieties are grown locally.
The participants of the project will gain knowledge about sustainable, innovative methods of cultivation and will learn about modern tools for digitising agriculture, which will allow them to manage the farm more effectively and increase the yield efficiency.
The aim of the project is to train farmers who want to live and work in rural areas and to enrich the food supply chain with innovative crops of ancient cereals, which can be the basis for new or reconstituted food products in Europe. This also brings with it new opportunities for the development of side streams and the development of local industry.
Given the growing popularity of products based on ancient cereal varieties – which are attributed a much higher nutritional value than those produced on an industrial scale – we can expect that professional training of farmers from small farms will allow them to become fully-fledged players in the food production market.
The main objective of the project is to promote innovation in the agri-food sector of RIS regions by increasing the biodiversity of crop varieties, striving for sustainable production and promoting a model of the food supply chain that encourages life and activity in European rural areas.
The reduction in the biodiversity of agricultural crops calls into question the possibility of feeding the world in the near future. In response to this challenge, we propose measures to encourage European producers (especially from the RIS regions) to diversify their crops and bring a wide range of cereal, medicinal and herbal processing products from a variety of plant species into the food chain.
Food products from sustainable cultivation will be increasingly sought after on the market, especially where environmentally and socially responsible consumption is becoming increasingly important and thus influencing individual consumer decisions.
The project received funding for the EIT Food for 2020. Polish partners involved in the project are the Maspex Group and the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn.
Other partners involved in the project: University of Turin, Grupo AN, Technische Universität München, CLC North-East, CLC South and Agricolus