GROW Summer School 2020 begins online


The third annual Summer School “GROW - Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate” opens online with 30 participants attending from 18 countries. The two-week course equips practitioners with the necessary tools, knowledge and understanding to enhance productivity and improve marketing strategies in sustainable and resilient agricultural systems.

The 2020 GROW course focuses on the importance of biodiversity in agriculture, with particular attention to its role in enhancing the resilience and adaptability of cropping and farming systems to climate change.

“Our shared passion and interest for agrobiodiversity brings us all together, even if virtually. This year, digital connectivity gives participants the opportunity to meet exciting speakers from all over the world. GROW aims to inspire innovation and provide the skills needed to protect and manage agrobiodiversity for the future of our planet,” says Mountain Partnership Secretariat (MPS) Coordinator Yuka Makino.

The topic of agrobiodiversity is particularly relevant to mountain areas. Mountain farmers preserve many of the rarest cultivars in functioning biodiverse agro-ecosystems. The harshness of the environment, however, as well as the effects of climate change increasingly pressures mountain communities to modify their traditional approaches to agriculture.

The course analyses the economic value of agricultural biodiversity in food systems, investigating critical management aspects along the agricultural value chain, as an incentive for conservation. It also presents a set of tools and methodologies for improving market access of neglected and underutilized foods and the role of gastronomic heritage as a driver for rural development.

Valeria Barchiesi, Course Manager of the GROW Summer School, states, "I am delighted and proud to see the third edition of this valuable learning opportunity being offered. Every year, the GROW community gets bigger, and participants build long-lasting personal and professional connections. We look forward to the outcomes of GROW 2020."

The training includes joint lectures given by speakers from various national and international organizations, such as Slow Food, IFOAM-Organics International and NaturaSì. Lecturers will illustrate principles and practices for gathering agrobiodiversity data through either participatory diagnostic or empirical approaches, and for their utilization to develop management approaches that improve resilience and adaptability.

Lecturer Eleonora De Falcis from Bioversity International explains the importance of agrobiodiversity for the future: “Agrobiodiversity represents a tremendous opportunity in times of growing uncertainty to sustain economic growth and improve the quality of our lives.”

This year, for the first time, the GROW Summer School includes an innovation contest on “Improving smallholders’ livelihoods through agrobiodiversity and organic solutions.” Participants will present their proposals for the contest on the final day of the course, and the best proposal will win a EUR 1 000 prize offered by NaturaSì.

Of the training’s thirty participants, eight are Mountain Partnership members. The participant ratio included 43 percent of women students.

The Summer School is organized by the MPS, in collaboration with Sapienza University of Rome and the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Technical support is provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Sponsors and partners of the summer school include the Italian Development Cooperation, NaturaSì, Slow Food and IFOAM-Organics International and Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research.

Read more

Home > mountain-partnership > News