The terms abound these days — agroecological, agrobiodiverse — but all involve taking some of the principles, processes and practices of organic farming and using them in farming more generally.
Many of these initiatives also work on certified organic farms too.
The initiative I attended was called Capsella (after the plant) and is about communities of practice — that’s farmers, scientists, SMEs, chefs, distributors and others in the food system — working together as equal partners.
Capsella is about “field, seed and food”. Like other new initiatives, it is about both a bottom up and top down approach.
Cutting out the jargon, producers in the field and researchers working with high powered data sets come together to make the whole food supply chain more efficient.
Capsella focuses more on enrolling the farmer into making the food supply chain work more efficiently.
Open data — freely available, accessible information — is developed from scratch in Capsella and also built upon where it already exists.
There are three scenarios in development:
- “field scenario” — use of functional agro-biodiversity in cropping systems;
- “seeds scenario”, which addressing on-farm genetic diversity conservation and informal seed systems;
- “food scenario” — food chain transparency.
What this means is that everyone in the food supply system can use already existing data to work more efficiently. To take the latter food scenario example, this could mean food purchasing patterns, tourism numbers, restaurant visiting, or aggregated social media food preferences as expressed by relevant consumers, being available in easy to use formats by organic food producer’s co-ops.