Principles from agriculture in the ‘good old days’ may inspire to sustainable and resilient solutions for the future. Instead of moving towards a higher degree of specialization, the MIXED project looks into the benefits of mixed farming and agroforestry systems for climate, environment and society in general. The efficiency of production in terms of the use of resources such as water, nutrients, land and ecosystem services must be strengthened in European agriculture.
Climate change and more extreme weather also make it necessary to look at agriculture with new eyes. Therefore, networks of both organic and conventional farmers and research institutions from 10 countries have joined forces in a project application that has now become the MIXED project, where innovative solutions in mixed farming and agroforestry are in focus. Aarhus University, Denmark, coordinates the project.
The whole project is built around networking and learning. The backbone of the project is a network of farmers who have a lot of knowledge that others can benefit from. "A farmer in Denmark may work in one way, while a farmer in France does it differently, and maybe the two can learn something from each other. There are, for example, networks in the project within agroforestry, where you have trees together with crops or livestock, where the different partners can share experiences and perhaps create new and more adaptable and sustainable cultivation systems" says Professor Tommy Dalgaard, the Project Coordinator from Aarhus University.
During the four years the project will last, the plan is to develop many different networks across Europe covering a wide range of different mixed agricultural and agroforestry systems. And in addition to the learning that will take place between the partners, it will also create a foundation of scientific knowledge about the various methods and systems that can help to develop the European agricultural sector in a sustainable and resilient direction.