A Sant’Anna School team of 8 researchers from the agriculture department - Gruppo di Agroecologia (GOA), participated in the “First Agroecology Europe Forum”, which was held in Lyon (France) on 25-27 October 2017. The event was organised with the support of “Agroecology Europe”, a European association that “aims to analyse, design, develop and promote the transition towards agroecology-based farming and food systems”.

Over 300 scholars, students, policy maker, stakeholders, farmers and representatives of NGOs from across Europe met to discuss “How to Connect Science, Social Movements and Practice of Agroecology”. The main goal of the Agroecology association is to support agro-ecological research and promote agroecology in sustainable agriculture and global food system.

During the forum, Anna Camilla Moonen, a researcher of the Gruppo di Agroecologia- GOA team, coordinated the workshop 5 “Agrobiodiversity to Support Agroecology”. Simone Marini, postdoctoral fellow of the Gruppo di Agroecologia- GOA team, presented his study conducted in Pisa – as a part of the EU QuESSA project, “A participatory approach between researchers, farmers and beekeepers to define a common point of view about semi-natural habitat and agro-ecosystem service” as an innovative approach to enhance biodiversity in an intensive agricultural farming system (mass-flowering crop – sunflower).

Cian Blaix, a PhD candidate of Sant’Anna School Life Sciences Institute, participated in the poster session with a talk on the monitoring of hoverflies (Diptera Syrphidae) in the Parco regionale di San Rossore – Pisa, and Mariateresa Lazzaro, a postdoctoral fellow of the Gruppo di Agroecologia- GOA team, gave her talk on the Horizon 2020CAPSELLA spade-test” a “Digitalized soil health self-assessment: a SPADE-TEST app from the collaboration with farmers from Italy and Greece”, including demonstration of the CAPSELLA smartphone app for soil quality evaluation.

Fernando Pellegrini, a PhD candidate of Sant’Anna School Life Sciences Institute, gave his talk for the workshop 17 “Legumes in European cropping systems for climate change adaptation” on “The use of Participatory Learning and Action methodologies for Agroecology: conducting research on living mulches in central Italy” as a part of the Horizon 2020 LEGVALUE, FERTILCROP project. The same topic was explored by Hailie Shiferaw Wolle from Ethiopia, a PhD candidate of Sant’Anna School Life Sciences Institute. Stefano Carlesi, a postdoctoral fellow of the Gruppo di Agroecologia- GOA team, presented his research on agro-ecological livestock farming systems in the Valle delle Giudicarie (Trento), as a part of the INVERSION project supported by the Provincia di Trento authority.

 Paolo Bàrberi, as the Gruppo di Agroecologia - GOA team coordinator, chaired the “Development of Agroecological practices” session to exchange knowledge about agroecology and build a common understanding for the future of food and agriculture in Europe and in the world. Antsa Rafenomanjato, a PhD candidate of Sant’Anna School Life Sciences Institute, presented his project on “Malagasy farmers’ view on the use of Stylosanthes guianensis for weed management in no-till rain-fed rice cropping systems” supported by CIRAD-SPAD, Antsirabe, Madagascar.

 Paolo Bàrberi, as a member of the “Agroecology Europe” Committee, highlighted the Forum’s focus “The participation of social movements and NGOs at the first forum in Lyon was essential to bring in the voice of farmers who are at the forefront of the agro- ecological transition. For social movements, agroecology is not just a set of practices but also a political proposal”.

Cover photo: the “CAPSELLA spade-test” for the digitalized soil health self-assessment performed in Lyon.

Photo gallery: the Gruppo di Agroecologia- GOA research team at the First Agroecology Europe Forum, Lyon, 25-27 October 2017. From left to right: Paolo Bàrberi, Stefano Carlesi, Camilla Moonen, Hailie Shiferaw Wolle, Mariateresa Lazzaro and Simone Marini. Kneeling posture, from left to right: Daniele Antichi (Università di Pisa), Fernando Pellegrini, Ambrogio Costanzo (The Organic Research Centre, UK), and Antsa Rafenomanjato.