Showcasing farmer innovation across Europe

This February Hannah Norman and Sim Osborn from Innovative Farmers travelled to Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski in Bulgaria to discuss optimising innovation as part of the Horizon 2020 funded LIAISON project.

The meeting in Sofia was a great success, and we were fortunate to have the chance to develop closer relationships with our partners and carve out a workplan for the next period of the project. We are looking forward to seeing how LIAISON progresses, particularly around the EU Rural Innovation Contest, which we will be feeding back on at the next meeting in Portugal in Autumn 2019.

We have been involved with LIAISON since it’s launch in May 2018 and this was the third general meeting to discuss progress and plans as a full group. Innovative Farmers are one of fifteen institutions and organisations from across Europe contributing to the project and are the UK representatives alongside the University of Exeter.

Enter the EU Rural Innovation Contest 2019.

What is LIAISON?

LIAISON is a Europe-wide research and innovation project in the field of socio-economics in sustainable agriculture and forestry. The aim is to support and connect people responsible for innovation in agriculture and forestry, by enhancing the exchange of experiences, helping build alliances and giving farmers and foresters a strong voice in the policy field of innovation projects.

The focus of LIAISON is to gather case studies of successful projects from across Europe, which demonstrate interactive innovation through collaboration and partnership. The project will produce practice-ready methods and tools for optimising the use of the interactive innovation approach in future funded projects.

One of the main areas of discussion over the two day period in Sofia was the launch of the EU Rural Innovation Contest (EURIC) which kicked off in January 2019.

EU Rural Innovation Contest 2019

The contest is seeking‐out innovative, inspiring and ground‐breaking initiatives from within farming, forestry and the agri‐food supply chain that are still in progress or recently completed. They are particularly interested in partnerships that bring together diverse expertise from collaborating partners with different backgrounds. For example, this could be researchers working with farmers or foresters, a project collaboration by local food-focused community groups, or tech minded individuals teaming up with conservationists. They are looking for a minimum of 12 entries from each European country. So whether it be a farmers’ co‐op, a local food hub or a rural conservation initiative, getting involved in this contest will raise awareness of the fantastic work that is happening on the ground.

From the contest entries, a jury will select 15 winners to become European Ambassadors for LIAISON. Each winner will have a promotional video made of their project to demonstrate how their hard work and ideas have made an impact on a local, national or international level. This will be promoted across Europe wide networks, and winners will be invited to attend an award ceremony which will highlight the impact of their work.

There is an abundance of farmer-led research initiatives happening already in our network and we would love to showcase some of this work across Europe.

If you are involved in a project that and would like to enter click here.

The contest is open for entries until Friday 15th March 2019.

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