1st Network Meeting
The HNV-Link Network held its first meeting in Montpellier, France on the 1-2 of September. It was attended by 32 participants from 11 partner countries. The meeting was, above all, a methodological seminar that allowed HNV-Link partners to discuss, adjust, and validate the methodology for two key work packages. In WP1, this is building a common understanding for assessing the baseline situation of the 10 Learning Areas (LA). For WP2, this entailed creating a shared understanding of what an HNV innovation is and how information on examples is collected in the field. This latter task was essential because the literature review of innovations in HNV farmland areas and innovations relevant for HNV farming systems produced very few results (see Outputs).
The partners also critically assessed opportunities to engage with a revised system of agricultural advisory in the EU - the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS). The general feeling was that AKIS, though an important development in the delivery of advisory to farmers across the EU, offers little to actors in HNV farmlands. The reason for this is that, despite the prevalence of HNV farmland in rural areas across most of the EU, the farmers managing HNV farmlands are poorly reached by mainstream agricultural and rural development advisory, education, and research. The partners felt that HNV-Link project could bring out these concerns to the EU level. At the same time, several partners shared successful experiences of engagement with advisory at local and regional levels.
Finally, the participants engaged in a workshop on identifying potential HNV farming actors and the activities that can best reach them and the general public.
2nd Network Meeting
The meeting took place on 2-4 October in Montemor-O-Novo, Portugal. The meeting, entitled “Innovation Fair for High Nature Value farmland”, was a real highlight of the project and brought together 45 participants from ten Learning Areas (LA). The meeting closed the network’s “shaping phase”, which consisted of building a diagnosis of HNV farming situations for the LAs according a common methodology (the “Baseline Assessment”), and producing an HNV Vision to identify challenges and solutions for each LA. The challenges and solutions process included identification of HNV innovations and innovation gaps.
The LA teams brought to the Innovation Fair both their most successful and promising innovation examples, as well as their areas’ needs for solutions to their most pressing problems. The Innovation Fair used a “speed dating” process to match each area’s innovation “wish list” with an innovation “offer list”. Because the LA teams represent the aspirations of many stakeholders in their project areas, they acted as “innovation brokers” for their respective areas in this process.
The innovations have been assembled into an impressive Innovation Compendium (Outputs). The best examples from each LA are already available as Innovation Reports for individual areas at www.hnvlink.eu/learning-areas/.
Prof. Teresa Pinto Correia describes the project to the National Rural Network of Portugal: