Another event of the ClimATE Change project is behind us. The international conference "Future Agriculture Farmer- and Climate-friendly" organized by Polish Green Network took place on the 12-13 December 2014 in Warsaw, Poland. We want thank all the attendees for their active participation during those two days. Among many participants of the conference were farmers, food producers, representatives of the academia, journalists and other people engaged in the promotion of sustainable agriculture.
The first day of the conference, moderated by Antoni Bielewicz from the European Climate Foundation, was filled with lectures, presentations and discussions with the participation of Polish experts as well as guests from Germany, Italy and Malta. On the second day of the conference there was a study visit in Mazovia region farms titled "On the trail of climate-smart practices".
The first speaker of the conference was Marcin Popkiewicz, physicist, lecturer, writer and journalist, specializing in the issues of economy, energy, natural resources and environmental protection. His presentation on the impact of climate change on agriculture and vice versa served as an excellent introduction to the themes of the conference. The lecture made it evident that serious reduction of the greenhouse gases emissions from agriculture and transforming the global agricultural production into a more sustainable one are essential to feed our planet in the context of changing climate.
Our next speaker was Łukasz Nowacki from Transformation Foundation, sustainable agriculture promoter and permaculture teacher, specializing in eco-hydrology and ecosystem biotechnologies. His presentation explained how one can protect natural resources on a farm and at the same time contribute to the climate protection. The presentation clearly showed that one of the best ways for farmers to guarantee crop yields in the situation of climate change is restoring natural soil fertility.
Examples from Italy, Malta and Germany
Next speeches were given by our guests from the ClimATE Change project partner organizations. Rosiaro Lembo, from the Italian organization CICMA, spoke about international actions concerning access to water and food in the context of climate change, especially in the global South countries.
In Italy increasingly popular are the so-called eco-regions, which engage local communities in the development of sustainable agriculture. AIAB, the network of Italian organic farming movements, is currently engaged in creation of the network of such initiatives which bring together not only farmers, producers and consumers but also local authorities. AIAB's activities and Italian eco-regions were presented by Pietro Pinto from COSPE.
Irene Mangion, from the Maltese organisation KOPIN, presented challenges related to climate change faced by farmers in Malta. Due to Malta's location and its environmental conditions, farmers struggle there with the lack of access to the enough amount of water. Additionally, soil salinization is increasing which causes big difficulties for both food producers and other island inhabitants. In these conditions especially important are various organic farming initiatives which promote natural food production methods. This is why KOPIN is engaged, among other things, in the promotion of permaculutre. KOPIN representative spoke also about KOPIN projects with farmers in Ethiopia.
Jan Urhahn, from the organization INKOTA, gave presentation about new social movements supporting local food production and consumption in Germany. Among various initiatives gaining increasing popularity are urban gardens, food cooperatives and other consumer groups. INKOTA representative presented also projects implemented by INKOTA together with farmers in Nicaragua and Mozambique.
Voice of the Polish participants
The first day of the conference was concluded with the panel discussion about the situation of the organic farming in Poland in the context of the climate protection activities. Among the speakers were Katarzyna Jagiełło from Greenpeace Poland, Maria Staniszewska from Polish Ecological Club, Aleksandra Priwieziencew from Social Ecological Institute and AgriNatura Foundation, and Piotr Trzaskowski from Warsaw Food Cooperative. Our panelists presented the activities of their organizations and together with other conference participants tried to answer the question how the development of sustainable and organic farming in Poland can be best supported. The discussion ended with the screening of the Polish Green Network's short film "Power in Coop".
Study visit in the Mazovia region farms
The second day of the conference was dedicated to the study visit in three farms, including two organic ones. Our guide was Ewa Sieniarska from Social Ecological Institute, who has been cooperating with farmers in the region for years. During our visit we wanted to show the participants how small farmers and food producers cope in Poland and how their practices, also in case of animal husbandry and meat production, can support climate protection.
To view photos from the conference click here.