International Agroecology Short Course


2-5 May 2018
Polvese Island
Trasimeno Lake
Italy

  

Course description

There is no doubt that humanity needs an alternative agricultural development paradigm, one that encourages more ecologically sound, biodiverse, resilient, sustainable, and socially just forms of agriculture. The basis for such new systems are the myriad of ecologically based agricultural styles developed on hundreds of millions small farms that produce a large share of the food consumed today in the world, mostly without agrochemicals. Agroecology represents this paradigm: a dialogue of wisdoms between traditional agricultural knowledges and modern agricultural sciences that uses ecological concepts and principles for the design and management of sustainable agroecosystems where external inputs are replaced by natural processes.

 

This international Agroecology short course will be held from May 2nd to 5th, 2018 at Centre “Climate Change and Biodiversity of Lakes and Wetlands” in Polvese Island, Lake Trasimeno, Umbria (Italy), and is designed for scholars, students, farmers, practitioners and anyone interested in learning more about agroecology and its applications to the design of more ecologically sound, biodiverse, resilient, sustainable, and socially just food systems in the Mediterranean region. The students will gain the theoretical and practical foundations needed to design an agriculture that ensures food security, conserves natural resources, and provides ecological services in the face of ongoing climate variability and change.

 

Learning outcomes include:

  • knowledge about the principles of agroecology and their application to the design of biodiverse, productive and resilient farms;

  • temporal and spatial diversification schemes at the farm to landscape level;

  • practices and techniques for the ecological management of soils, water and the enhancement of beneficial biodiversity in agroecosystems;

  • understanding of the principles underpinning successful agroecological initiatives that promote food sovereignty and resilience;

  • modelling tools and methodologies to assess agroecosystem sustainability and resilience;

  • agroecological strategies for promoting ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just food systems.


Field trip

The course includes hands-on agroecological assessment of a real farm – the Montalera farm, located in an area between the shores of Lake Trasimeno, and the innermost hill. The farm is dominated by the castle of Montalera, at the top of the highest hill. Along the slope are the terraced olive orchards. In the plain there is arable land where mostly cereals and legumes are grown. Montalera is an organic farm. The crops are perfectly integrated with the surrounding natural environment. Part of the farm is included in a site of the European Natura 2000 Network because it features protected habitats and species of European interest. Due to its characteristics, Montalera can be defined as an agroecological farm.

Keynote speakers:

Clara Inés Nicholls

University of California, Berkeley, USA [web] & Latin American Agroecology Scientific Society (SOCLA) [web]

Miguel A. Altieri

University of California, Berkeley [web] & SOCLA [web]

Guest lecturers:

Antonio Boggia

University of Perugia, Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences (DSA3) [web]

Valentina Della Bella

ARPA Umbria Regional Agency for Environmental Protection [web]

Valeria Negri

University of Perugia, DSA3 [web]

Euro Pannacci

University of Perugia, DSA3 [web]

Luigi Ponti

ENEA – Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development [web] & CASAS Global [web]

Adolfo Rosati

CREA – Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economics Analysis [web]

 


 Program [open]


 Program [close]



Wednesday 2 May 2018

 

Welcome coffee (9:30 – 10:00)

 

Morning – Principles of agroecology (10:00 – 13:00)

  • Welcome and information on the Centre “Climate Change and Biodiversity of Lakes and Wetlands” (Della Bella)

  • Course introduction (Ponti/Boggia)

  • The ecological crisis of modern agriculture (Altieri)

  • Group discussion on the causes and symptoms of the crisis in Italy

 

(Lunch)

 

Afternoon – Diversifying farming systems (14:00 – 17:00)

  • The ecological role and use of biodiversity in agroecosystems (Nicholls)

  • Agroecological strategies for the conversion of farming systems (Altieri)

  • Agroforestry systems in Umbria and Europe (Rosati)

  • Group discussion

Thursday 3 May 2018

Morning – Ecologically based pest management in agroecosystems (9:30 – 13:00)

coffee break 11:30-11:45

    • Biodiversity and pest management in agroecosystems (Nicholls)

    • Soil ecology and management: Healthy soils–healthy crops (Altieri)

    • Ecologically based weed management approaches (Pannacci)

(Lunch)

Afternoon – Promoting food sovereignty and resilience (14:00 – 17:00)

    • Traditional, peasant, indigenous, and small-scale family agriculture (Altieri)

    • Designing climate change-resilient farming systems (Nicholls)

    • Conservation of landraces and crop wild relatives (Negri)

Friday 4 May 2018

Morning – Assessing agroecosystem sustainability and resilience (9:30 – 13:00)

coffee break 11:30-11:45

    • Indicators of resiliency and sustainability (Nicholls)

    • Holistic analysis of sustainable agricultural systems (Ponti)

    • Ecological economics and the evaluation of ecosystem services (Boggia)

(Lunch)

Afternoon – Scaling up agroecological food systems (14:00 – 17:00)

    • Pathways for the amplification of agroecology (Altieri)

    • Perspectives on sustainable rural development in Latin America (Nicholls)

    • Discussion: how does an agroecological food system look like in Italy?

Saturday 5 May 2018

Morning – Assessment of an agroecological farm (field trip) (10:00 – 12:30)

Hands-on agroecological assessment of Montalera farm

(Lunch)

Afternoon – Design/management options and final discussion (field trip) (14:00 – 17:00)

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

Island Connection:

Polvese island is connected to the mainland by a public boat service. This is the timetable:

Time table from March 31 to June 20

 

However, for those not having accommodation on the island, special connections will be arranged with the ARPA Umbria’s boat. This is the timetable: 
 

Wednesday 2 May 2018:
departure from S. Feliciano to Polvese: 9:00
departure from Polvese to S. Feliciano: 18:00

Thursday 3 and Friday 4 May 2018:
departure from S. Feliciano to Polvese: 8:30
departure from Polvese to S. Feliciano: 18:00

 

Please, note that you need about 10-15 minutes walking on the island from the pier to the school facilities.

Saturday 5 May 2018:
For those having accommodation on the island:
departure from Polvese to S. Feliciano: 9:00

It is not expected to return to the island.

For all participants: meeting point for the field trip: S. Feliciano pier at 9:30

  


 

 

Info:

Organized by:

ARPA Umbria - Regional Agency for
Environmental Protection
University of Perugia, Department of
Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences
ENEA - Italian National Agency for New
Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic
Development
CARE srl, Spin off of the University of Perugia

 

Keynote speakers:

Miguel A. Altieri, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Clara I. Nicholls, University of California, Berkeley, USA and SOCLA - Latin American Agroecology Scientific Society

 

Contributions by:

ARPA Umbria - Regional Agency for Environmental Protection
ENEA - Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development
CASAS Global - Center for Analysis of Sustainable Agro-ecological Systems
CREA – Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economics Analysis
SOCLA - Latin American Agroecology Scientific Society
University of California, Berkeley, USA
University of Perugia, Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences