The Common Good: what did we inherit, what do we want to leave to our children?

In this second workshop with the social innovation actors, the focus was on the ‘protection’ pillar of the VALAB initiative and the question that we aimed to address was that of the ecological heritage received of the participants and their role in transmitting it to future generations.

The workshop lasted one day and was organised on 11th May 2019, in coordination with the partners of the VALAB Operational Group. Two local experts were solicited for their expertise in the ecology of the territory. The focus of the workshop was on the North of Basse-Terre (in Guadeloupe, French West Indies) as a case study area which the participants could relate to. The workshop counted four activities that aimed to highlight participants’ representations of the territorial ecosystem, of the forest ecosystem as well as of their role within, and impact on those ecosystems. The eighteen participants we split into two groups that were guided through the activities by two pairs of facilitators and the experts in ecology. They would come back into plenary to share results and thoughts generated during the activities.

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Towards a shared vision of the Integrated Ecosystemic value-enhancement of the Guadeloupean forest agrobiodiversity: Where are we now and where do we want to go?

At mid-term of the first phase of the VALAB project, this first Innovation Action workshop with the members of the SYAPROVAG and prospective actors of the forest understorey focused on the ‘production’ pillar of the VALAB vision. The objective of this workshop was to assess the current situation, share visions of the future, identify hurdles and potential pathways towards achieving those futures.

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Advanced Course on Social Innovation In Rural Areas

The course will be held at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (Spain) on 18-22 November 2019.

Social innovation has been heralded as a vital part of the European recovery project since the economic crisis in 2008. It is of particular importance to rural areas, especially more disadvantaged rural areas, where multiple problems of depopulation, environmental quality decline and low levels of economic activity have been recurrent. With the trend of rapid urbanisation, the remoter rural areas will continue to be adversely affected.

This course is jointly organised by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), through the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ), and the EU H2020 project SIMRA (Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas) funded under grant agreement No 677622. The course will take place at IAMZ and will be given by an international team of well-qualified lecturers participating in this project, coming from international organisations, research centres, universities and the practice community.

The course will be held over a period of 1 week, from 18 to 22 November 2019, in morning and afternoon sessions and all participants will be exempt from the payment of registration fees.Continue reading

Social innovation in organic farming to revitalise rural areas

Article originally published in Spanish on Revista Agricultura Ecológica number 35.

Available in Spanish here.// Disponible en castellano aquí.

Traditionally, extensive farming[i] has been one of the activities that has fixed more population in disadvantaged rural areas in Europe and the Mediterranean. Moreover, it creates jobs and shapes most of our ecosystems. However, isolation and depopulation in these areas translate into the loss of their activities and the landscapes associated to it. That is why it is necessary to seek new practices that assure its social and economic sustainability.

In that sense, the European project SIMRA (Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas)[ii] shows us some examples. This project aims to make progress in the understanding of social innovation and innovative governance in agriculture, silviculture and rural development and enhance implementation in disadvantaged rural areas in Europe and the Mediterranean. It also understands social innovation as “reconfiguration of social practices, answering social challenges, looking to improve well-being and involve civil society’s actors.”[iii]
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