SustainFARM

Innovative and sustainable intensification of integrated food and non-food systems to develop climate-resilient agro-ecosystems in Europe and beyond (SustainFARM)

Project summary:

The main objective of SustainFARM is to enhance agronomic, environmental and economic performance of integrated food and non-food production systems (IFNS) by optimizing productivity and valorizing woody components, residual wastes and co-products. IFNS are systems in which trees, crops and livestock components are integrated in different ways at different scales(plot-field-farm). The specific objectives are to a) assess resource use efficiency and design innovative and cost-effective IFNS for optimum productivity, b) develop sustainability metrics to assess agronomic productivity and environmental performance and c) valorization of the woody components, residual waste and co-products into high value bio-energy
carriers and bio-products.
To achieve the objectives, SustainFARM has adopted an innovative case-study approach, whereby locally relevant IFNS are already identified, to work in close collaboration with the local end-users of the technology such as farmers, advisory services and policy makers. By involving the end-users and other stakeholders from the start of the project activity, we will co-generate technology, relevant at the local scale to address productivity issues and enhance valorisation of the unused, residual and co-products.
SustainFARM will investigate the economic and environmental performance of the range of locally relevant IFNS across several agri-climatic zones of Europe and design innovative IFNS systems, which are resilient and climate-smart. To improve the cost-effectiveness, different means of valorising the residual and co-products (woody components and residual wet olive cake etc.)and for multiple uses (bedding material, compost, bioenergy etc.), will be demonstrated at two SME facilities in UK and Italy and the knowledge generated will be shared through the stakeholder platforms. Value chains and life cycle analysis of the new bio-products (torrified pellets, bio-energy and food supplements etc.) will be carried out to assess the environmental footprint of the valorisation
processes.
The best practices and innovative methods will be synthesized into a decision support tool (DST) to enable informed decision making by farmers, advisory services and policy makers. To promote the adoption of IFNS in Europe, SustainFARM will communicate and disseminate through stakeholder-oriented media and tools to facilitate knowledge exchange, based on the scientific and practical agronomic knowledge generated in the project and the needs of the various stakeholder groups. The expected results are a) assessment of locally relevant IFNS b) innovative means for maximum value addition of woody components and residual waste and co-products and c) decision support tool for informed decision making by farmers, advisory services and policy makers.

Coordinator:

Associate Professor Bhim Bahadur Ghaley

Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark
Email: bbg@plen.ku.dk


Project partners:

  • The Progressive Farming Trust Ltd (PFT Ltd) trading as The Organic Research Centre, United Kingdom
  • Department of Geography, Philipps-University Marburg (PUM), Germany
  • Universidad de Cordoba (UCO), Spain
  • University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca (UASVM), Romania
  • National Research Council (CNR), Italy
  • Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation - State Research Institute (IUNG-PIB), Poland