Transforming Landscapes

Agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, and with increasing food insecurity and a rapidly growing global population, our response to these challenges must begin in the field.

Agriculture accounts for

Furthermore,  to eliminate food insecurity, it is estimated that food production must increase by 60% by 2050.

Source: FAO

So, is it possible to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture, whilst simultaneously increasing the quantity and quality of food produced?

We believe so. This is the goal of AGROMIX.

Percentage of European land occupation by monoculture vs. agroforestry

Main land use by land use type, EU (% of total area). Source: Eurostat (online data code:land_use_ovw).

Our Approach

We explore ways to modernise mixed farming and agroforestry practices, evaluating their potential to lead the transition towards more resilient food chains and sustainable land use systems.  However, this journey cannot be led by researchers and policymakers alone; farmers must be at the centre of this process, working with academia, decision makers, private sector, interest groups and other stakeholders to create meaningful change.

What is mixed farming and agroforestry?

Source: Classification based on data available from LUCAS (The Land-Use Change Analysis System)
Modern agriculture is based on uniformity, and our goal is diversity.  

We use a holistic (or landscape) approach, working with the territory as a whole, rather than taking a narrow (or field) approach. To do so, we collaborate with a variety of actors and ‘landscapes’ involved in the land use transition: the physical landscapes where the projects are carried out, the socio-economic landscapes that may benefit from these systems, and the political landscapes required to support the land use transition. 

Potential benefits of transitioning
to agroforestry

Promote
landscape complexity
Mitigate the effects
 of climate change 
Increase 
biodiversity
Enrich
agricultural soils
Improve water 
resource 
management

To achieve its ambitions, AGROMIX focuses on a variety of ‘landscapes’, addressing the physical, socio-economic, cultural, technological, and political aspects of the land use transition.

As for physical landscapes, AGROMIX directly impacts the natural environment of the areas were mixed farming and agroforestry are being implemented. By enhancing regenerative practices, these landscapes are expected to benefit from increased biodiversity, improved water resources, and enriched soil, amongst others.
In relation to  socio-economic landscapes, transitioning to mixed farming and agroforestry diversities farmers’ income,  avoiding dependence on a single crop,  and decreasing external  inputs  for their livelihoods.  Furthermore, transitioning to a diversified production systems generates employment  and enables farmers to incorporate resource-efficient practices  based on circular economy principles.
Cultural landscapes are also greatly impacted by the preservation and adoption of mixed farming and agroforestry. Working with farmers, we access their  experience, history, culture, and beliefs, allowing us to  preserve cultural heritage  by encouraging others to transition towards these traditional land use practices. It works both ways, we support farmers to redesign their production system, and theyl share with us their needs and aspirations, allowing us to develop tools that address farmers’ interests.
Our project uses innovative techniques and advanced  technology  to achieve its goals, designing serious games (games designed for a purpose other than pure entertainment) and a dedicated mobile application to engage stakeholders, building technological landscapes that support the transition towards resilient land use. 
Lastly, for AGROMIX’s vision to become a reality, we need to ensure political landscapes that provide the support and benefits needed for farmers to transition towards mixed farming and agroforestry. We use our field experience and research to develop policies at the regional, national, and international levels.  We develop  policies  with those who’ll be affected by them, and create tools with those who’ll use them.

We are ready to transform landscapes by delivering new research on how mixed farming and agroforestry systems work, designing models for farmers to implement these practices, and offering policy recommendations for decision makers to support the land use transition.

Sara Burbi

Coordinator of AGROMIX
 We want to find new ways to treat this Earth. We will share our experience of how mixed farming and agroforestry can transform landscapes of all kinds, restoring a natural equilibrium between man and land. As long as we eat, we are deeply connected to the land, even if we don’t realise it.

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COORDINATOR
Dr. Sara Burbi - Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience - Coventry University, Ryton Gardens Campus, CV8 LG, UK
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