How do regional initiatives in agriculture, nature conservation and landscape management in the Dresden region finance themselves? On a calm Saturday afternoon mid of July actors from the solidarity farms (Solawi) Dein Hof, WirGarten and the Grüne Liga Dresden discussed this with interested parties from civil society at the KITCHEN TALK on regional financing models.
The concept of solidarity farming was used to present joint financing systems for regional and seasonal food security. With regard to funding conditions in agriculture and nature conservation, some wishes remained unfulfilled, e. g. increased financial rewards for costly environmental and landscape services through extensive grazing, mowing or ecological and regenerative farming practices in general. Particularly small farms with little land and financial leeway make an enormous contribution to strengthening ecosystem services, but would be correspondingly lowly "remunerated" for their daily work for healthy and resilient soils and landscapes compared to large farms with a lot of land.
The KITCHEN TALKS event series brings together people who are actively involved in sustainable land management, regional food and sustainable production, processing and supply of regional food. Among others, the OLGA project supports the event with funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
More information on the Kitchen Talks at: https://ufer-projekte.de/alte-gaertnerei/projekte/koko/kitchen-talks/ (in German)
The OLGA project meeting on 14th of July 2021 took place on Thomas Domin's farm in Peickwitz near Senftenberg. In the morning, we visited the agroforestry areas and talked about the diverse ecosystem services that an agroforestry system can provide when appropriately designed. The rows of fast-growing woody plants here in Peickwitz were planted primarily because of the locally prevailing wind erosion. Poplar, willow & co. are lined up in alternation with cereals such as teff or rye. They protect the soil from erosion, bind carbon and can serve for the production of wood biomass and fruits (e.g. rock pear or chestnut). There was also a lot of talk about new marketing strategies that take more account of the land use concept of agroforestry and communicate it to society, such as through "agroforestry eggs", etc.
Likewise, the measuring installations on the OLGA agroforestry trial area along the Peickwitzer Mühlgraben were inspected and the first results of the temperature, precipitation and water flow measurements were looked at. At the end of the measurement series in 2023, they should provide information on the extent to which the woody plants contribute to the protection of the watercourse, e.g. in the form of shading and pollutant input reduction.
In the afternoon, the OLGA partners discussed the current status of the research work in the project. In addition to the first measurement results from the two trial areas, the results of the agricultural woodland potential analysis on watercourses for the Dresden region were evaluated. These will subsequently be further refined and, if necessary, extended to agricultural areas. Furthermore, the Citizen Science survey "How regional is your shopping?", which runs until 30.09.2021, and other participative events and measures in summer and autumn 2021 were introduced.
The Saxon Ministry for the Agriculture (SMEKUL) is currently setting up a centre of excellence for organic farming in Nossen (Saxony). For this purpose, the Ministry launched a participation process for practitioners of organic farming. Participation takes place via an online survey and anonymously via a so-called active box on the ministry's organic farming website. There, practitioners can rate and value the future research topics of the competence centre proposed on the website and add further topics. Participation is possible until 31 August 2021.
The Competence Centre for Organic Farming is currently being established at the Saxon State Office for the Environment and Geology (LfULG). Its work focuses on applied research, knowledge transfer and an impulse advisory service for existing or future agricultural enterprises involved in organic farming.
Within the framework of OLGA, Marie Herzig and Lena Schwarz, students of TU Dresden, determined the potential for agrowood to improve the ecological condition of smaller waterstreams in the City of Dresden and the surrounding districts.
In order to achieve the goals of the European Water Framework Directive, the significant reduction of substance inputs into watercourses is imperative. For the most part, such substance inputs are caused by erosion from intensively farmed areas. The establishment of agroforestry plantations as buffer strips between fields or grassland and watercourses can relieve the watercourses of substances and enhance the ecological value of the riparian zone. In addition, agroforestry plantations contribute to agricultural value creation.
The presented work serves as a first assessment of the area potentials for agricultural wood on arable land, grassland and brownfields in the Dresden region. After carrying out the analysis, 3,302 areas within the study area come into question for the establishment of agrowood plantations. These have a total area of 13,296 ha, which corresponds to a share of 9.6 % of the total grassland, arable land and fallow land in the study area. It is noticeable that most of the areas have the minimum size, i.e. they are rather small. On average, the area size is 4 ha, with the largest potential area being 33 ha.
Optimally, plantations should be established on special agricultural sites or fallow land so as not to compete with land used for food production. Moreover, agroforestry structures are a valuable climate adaptation measure to reduce increasing extreme events in the the Dresden region.
On 10 June 2021, the German Bundestag decided, based on an amendment, to include woody plantations on arable land AND on grassland in the funding. This is a decisive step that will make it easier for farmers to integrate more biodiversity-promoting and climate-adapted measures on their land. And the animals can look forward to more shade and less wind! We are also pleased about this decision.
A so-called Bio-Regio model region brings together actors from the fields of agriculture and food industry as well as regional development in order to implement individual concepts for regional value creation in their regions, preferably also with organic food, and to consolidate regional value chains for the benefit of all.
Within the framework of the 1st call for Bio-Regio model regions, suitable associations can apply with their individual concept. The best concepts will be selected by an expert committee under the leadership of the Saxon State Ministry for the Energy, Climate Protection, Environment and Agriculture (SMEKUL). The selected Bio-Regio model regions have the opportunity to apply for funding for their project through the AbsLE/2019 guideline (in German).
More information on the call can be found HERE (in German)
The "Bioeconomy model farms" ideas competition is looking for innovative and sustainable ideas for bio-based agriculture and forestry: from the production via the processing to the distribution of food, renewable raw materials and biogenic residues. Our goal is to strengthen value chains in the low mountain regions and to give new perspectives to the people who live and work here.
Individual agricultural and forestry enterprises can participate, but also associations of several enterprises or enterprises with crafts, trade, industry and science are permitted, as long as at least one agricultural or forestry partner is involved. Prize money totalling € 15,000 is up for grabs! Applications are possible until 31st August 2021.
More information (in German)
"Present your farm and your products effectively, let consumers participate in your daily work. (...) Regional organic farms are an indispensable part of our long-term goal of making regional products relevant to the system," says Wolfram Günther, Saxon Minister of the Environment and Agriculture, motivating people to take part.
Interested farms are asked to register by 30.06.2021 at firstname.lastname@example.org (keyword: Eco Action Weeks).
Information events for farmers on conversion to organic farming are also planned as part of the Organic Action Weeks.
Wintery hustle and bustle on an afternoon at the end of January: The OLGA project partners from Module 1: "Sustainable use of energy wood along watercourses and on agricultural land" met in Colmnitz to visit the 0.8 ha agricultural wood plantation on the Colmnitzbach, which was planted in 2007. The area is managed by the Colmnitz agricultural cooperative.
During the inspection, the members of the chairs of hydraulic engineering, forest botany and biodiversity and nature conservation at the TU Dresden discussed the suitability of the plantation as a experimental area, especially for modelling the effects of agricultural wood along watercourses on flood retention, aquatic habitats and on vegetation composition and phytodiversity. The agricultural wood plantation in Colmnitz would be the third experimental plot in the OLGA project.
The Saxon State Ministry for Energy, Climate Protection, Environment and Agriculture has launched the added value initiative "Sustainably out of the crisis". A total of 26.5 Mio € in funding is available for innovative projects for sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries, regional value creation, climate impact management and pioneering energy supply. Project applications can be submitted via an online portal until 31 March 2021.
More information (German)
Saxony presents a feasibility study on strengthening regional value creation and organic farming. The study concludes that there is a need for more networking between actors and less bureaucracy in terms of funding and start-up financing. A separate regional agency is to take care of these tasks in the future. It will serve as an instrument to improve value creation from production to processing to marketing and to increase sales.
We in the OLGA project are working towards the same goals in the Dresden region and have recognised that it is precisely this networking of actors and the development of joint cooperation structures that is needed so that small farms can continue to exist. Offering regionally sustainable products in the Dresden region and in Saxony should be a matter of course.
Press release (in German)
After an introductory speed-dating on project-relevant issues, the project partners reported on their work in the individual fields of action. A trial area was acquired in Peickwitz near Senftenberg to investigate the ecosystem services of agrowood plantations. Another trial area will be visited in January 2021 in the Tharandt Forest. At the "Mortelbach" trial site near Waldheim in Central Saxony, further 3D laser scans will be implemented at the beginning of the year to analyse the structure of the wooden structures near the river banks.
In spring 2021, plant physiological studies will be carried out on the agrowood plantation trial area in southern Brandenburg. Potential analyses for sustainable agriculture and energy wood cultivation in the Dresden region are going on. The results will be published here soon. The partners are preparing a public discussion event in Dresden on regional financing instruments and cooperation structures for mid-2021 with the hope of meeting there in an analogue format and thinking about sustainable city-regional solutions in the field of food in person. Networking with stakeholders and regional initiatives are currently in process.
The next OLGA network meeting will take place at the beginning of March 2021.
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