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How EU-funded ‘Living Labs’ give farmers a chance to develop and adopt sustainable agricultural practices

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: European Union-funded 'Living Labs' are empowering farmers to explore and adopt sustainable agricultural practices directly on their land
• These labs enable farmers to conduct research trials in collaboration with supply chain partners, testing new, greener farming techniques to determine their economic viability and environmental benefits

🔭 The context: The initiative, part of the EU project LEGUMINOSE, involves 180 trials across several countries, allowing farmers to experiment with practices such as intercropping
• This hands-on approach provides farmers with ownership of the research process, offering practical insights into improving yield, soil health, and reducing agrochemical use

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Sustainable agricultural practices like those being tested in the 'Living Labs' have the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of farming
• By promoting methods that lead to higher yields and healthier soils while decreasing agrochemical dependency, these labs contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural sector

⏭️ What's next: The 'Living Labs' aim to scale up successful sustainable practices, like intercropping, which has already shown a 27% yield increase in some trials
• The project seeks to broaden the adoption of these practices among farmers, overcoming barriers related to tradition and the learning curve associated with new agricultural techniques

💬 One quote: "We need to find a way of farming where we can continue to provide everyone who works on the farm with a decent living, feed people and make the planet a better place," (Dougal Hosford, a farmer participating in the LEGUMINOSE project)

📈 One stat: Only 2% of European farmers currently use a legume-cereal intercrop, despite its proven benefits, highlighting the room for growth in sustainable farming practices

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