On 15th September 2020 the first grassroots event was organized: ‘Webinar – Impact of COVID-19 in EU rural and urban areas’ with a special focus on young people. This first webinar counted with the participation of EC representatives, EU networks like Rural Youth Europe and the European Youth Forum, and other H2020 projects such as RURITAGE and NEWBIE. At the same time, participants had the opportunity to hear directly from young people how COVID-19 impacted them and how they adapted and transformed their businesses and life to cope with the global health crisis.
RURALIZATION project participated in Konekilleri farm machinery exhibition which was organized in Jyväskylä, Finland, in October 2020.
Research Director Tuomas Kuhmonen, Finland Futures Research Centre, gave a lecture to the exhibition visitors. The title of his presentation was ‘Trends in European agriculture’ and he discussed alternative rural and farming futures affected by climate change, transition from fossil economy to bioeconomy and circular economy, reformed policies and bifurcation of the food system. Renewal of many systems – including the food system – appears to be cyclical and several indicators would suggest that the next stage of the Finnish food system would be reorganization.
This Grassroot Event was focused on the topic of farm succession. Initially, De Landgenoten wanted to organise two regional events where successors and transferors of agro-ecological farms would be able to meet and exchange in an informal setting. However, due to covid restrictions, they were forced to organise an online event.
They switched between presenting information, leaving space for questions, storytelling through the 3 testimonials and actively encouraging participants to share their personal stories and needs. Participants were already quite familiar with the challenges rural areas face in regard to rural regeneration and generational renewal.
Initially, this dream inventory research would happen by organising physical events. Due to Covid-19, the physical events had to be cancelled and were replaced with an online survey and TU Delft organised a number of focus groups in which respondents of the online survey could further elaborate on their dreams. Moreover, this gave the researchers the opportunity to ask deepening questions and to disseminate the Ruralization project to relevant rural youth.
The events were organised in the Fall of 2020 and in early 2021. Initially, they were organised as physical events. However, a second Covid-19 wave made it necessary to organise the focus groups as Zoom meetings. Nonetheless, the first event was physically organised in the village of Bruinisse.
The grassroots event organised by Terre de Liens was linked to RURALIZATION Work Package 6 on Access to Land. The event presented and promoted a novel land practice developed within this task, known under the name “Ferme de Sarliève”, which aims at transforming a large peri-urban industrialised farm into a citizen-led “territorial farm” hosting several new entrants, a farm incubator, and diverse agroecological activities. In addition, the event included discussions on the general RURALIZATION assessment framework as well as debates on how to best combine academic and practitioner perspectives to support social innovation.
This event helped make known the work carried out within RURALIZATION and enriched the local community through the co-construction of new knowledge on how to scale up innovative land work.
This Grassroots event was arranged as part of the “Green Night”, an annual event organized by Associazione Casa delle AgriCulture “Tullia e Gino”, which is one of Ruralization´s case studies. The event was also co-organised by many other associations, NGOs, and local entities. In particular, UNICAL was involved in the “Rural Parliament” activities. On the 27-28th August UNICAL participated in the discussion on ”Newcomers in depopulating villages” and on the 29-30th in “Access to land to overcome fragmentation of land”. The “parliaments” were attended by different stakeholders (researchers, farmers, members of association and local politicians). The outcomes of the discussions were reported in a public event on the last night of the event.
On the evening of the 28th of August, Annamaria Vitale from UNICAL participated in a public discussion titled “Land: instruments to overcome abandonment and fragmentation”. The event was streamed on the Association Casa delle Agriculture´s Facebook account (793 views).
For this Grassroots event Kulturland organised the workshop “The village as an airstrip for newcomers”, which was held within the annual conference of the Young Eco-Farmers(Ökolandwirte-Tagung). The two-hour session was structured in three parts:
a) introduction to the topic and project presentation,
b) discussion round and identification of measures to improve interaction of newcomers and existing population and
c) elaboration on selected measures in three small groups including presentation of results.