The Mountain Partnership Secretariat, in collaboration with the Sapienza University of Rome and Bioversity International has launched the Summer School titled “GROW - Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate: Sustainable production, fragile ecosystems, and resilience to global changes". The summer school is organized with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy.

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

This topic is particularly relevant to mountain areas as mountain farmers are preserving many of the rarest varieties of cultivars in functioning biodiverse agro-ecosystems, while the harshness of the environment as well as the effects of climate change increasingly pressures the mountain communities to modify their traditional approaches to agriculture.

The objective of the training course is to illustrate principles and practices for gathering agro-biodiversity data through either participatory diagnostic and empirical approaches, and for their utilization to develop management approaches that improve resilience and adaptability. The course will also analyse the economic value of agricultural biodiversity in food systems as an incentive to conservation. The most critical management aspects along the agricultural value chain will be investigated, ranging from production to marketing and consumption. 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 will be presented.

The training includes joint lectures by speakers from various national and international organizations and field trips to nearby farms, which will provide hands-on experience on relevant practices.

The aim is to equip participants with the necessary tools, knowledge and understanding to enhance productivity and improve marketing strategies in sustainable and resilient agricultural systems.

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

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