1. Breeding for crop mixtures: Opportunities and challenges

Convenors: Lars Kiær (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Alison Karley (The James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom)

When carefully combined, crop mixtures such as intercrops and variety mixtures are found to enhance agronomic performance and ecosystem services such as improved resource use efficiency, pest and pathogen management and yield stability. However, ideotypes for sole cropping may not perform well in crop mixtures, and the need for developing specific genotypes of crops for intercropping has long been recognized.

Workshop format and objectives
The cross-disciplinary workshop will feature flash talks from representatives of breeding, ecology and agronomy. Facilitated discussions will address key challenges for the practical implementation of modern breeding programs for crop mixtures:

  • Identifying relevant breeding targets;
  • Identifying operational breeding methods;
  • Managing genotype-environment interactions;
  • Market opportunities and challenges.

2. Technology inspired by ecology for the adoption in practice of spatial crop diversity

Convenors: Wijnand Sukkel & Dirk van Apeldoorn (Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands) and Cristina Castognotto (Industrias David, Spain, tbc)

Technology has shaped 20th century agriculture neglecting or even excluding ecology. Compared to monocultures, cropping systems with a high spatial diversity have proven to (potentially) perform better on resilience, resource efficiency, productivity and biodiversity. To make use of the potential benefits of diverse cropping systems a different approach is needed in the relations between agronomy, ecology and technology. How should technology inspired by ecology look like? What are the current developments in technology which could support the adoption of diverse cropping systems? And what kind of cooperation, support and inspiration is needed for the transition to a new paradigm in farm technology?

Workshop format and objectives
The workshop will be introduced with a short talk:

  • Technology lock ins for the adoption of spatial crop diversity, relevant technology developments and experiences in the Netherlands
    Speaker: Wijnand Sukkel (Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands)

Facilitated discussions will address the following objectives:

  • Identifying technology needs in primary production and the food chain to enhance adoption of spatial crop diversity;
  • Identifying relevant technology developments which can help to overcome the technology lock ins for adoption of spatial crop diversity;
  • Drawing a discussion brief for actions needed to support technology development to support the adoption of spatial crop diversity.

3. Towards a crop diversification network

Convenors: Antoine Messéan (INRA, France) and Walter Rossing (Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands)

Facilitators: Margarida Ambar (EIP-AGRI, Belgium), Dóra Drexler (ÖMKi, Hungary), John Grin (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Henrik Hauggaard-Nielsen (Roskilde University, Denmark), Pete Iannetta (The James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom), Liisa Kübarsepp (EIP-AGRI, Belgium), Anja Vieweger (ORC, United Kingdom)

The H2020 Crop Diversification cluster (https://www.cropdiversification.eu/) brings together research projects which operate in countries across Europe to increase the impact of crop diversification research. The cluster encourages sustained uptake of diversification measures by European farmers and through innovations across the agri-value chain.  Also, the EIP-AGRI brings together innovation actors (farmers, advisers, researchers, businesses, NGOs and others) at EU level and recently organised a workshop “Cropping for the future: networking for crop rotation and crop diversification”. Against this context, there is a need to align those initiatives and to discuss how networking could be used as a means to support the transition to diversified and sustainable agri-food systems.

Workshop format and objectives
The workshop will be introduced with short talks on (i) what is already being done within the cluster; and (ii) the outcomes of the EIP-AGRI workshop on crop diversification which was held in Almere, The Netherlands, in June 2019. Facilitated discussions will address the following objectives:

  • Identify expectations and needs as well as experiences in terms of networking on crop diversification;
  • Suggest ideas, processes, instruments and tools, and make recommendations to support networking on crop diversification

4. Supporting collaboration rather than competition between diversification value chains in Europe

Convenors: Barbara Koole (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and Kevin Morel (INRA, France)

This workshop explores how competition between stakeholders plays out in collaborative innovation processes for crop diversification. It specifically zooms in on the interactions between scientists and other actors within collaborative research settings. It hopes to facilitate a dialogue based on experiences and theoretical insights from niche management and coopetition literature.

Workshop format and objectives
The workshop will be introduced with a short talk on the outcomes of a preliminary workshop which was held during the DiverIMPACTS annual meeting in Alnarp, Sweden, in July 2019. The workshop will also include flash talks from scientists who faced tensions due to competition in working with value chain actors. Facilitated discussions will address the following objectives:

  • Discussing possibilities and strategies to foster collaboration and sharing rather than competition between actors of diversification value chains in Europe (especially between small and big players);
  • Exploring the position of scientists when facing issues of competition in collaborative research settings;
  • Exploring concrete possibilities to develop a European network for exchanging information for diversification value chain development (especially post-harvest management, processing, marketing, business models and setting prices).

5. Policy recommendations to make the sociotechnical systems more disposed to crop diversification

Convenors: Barbara Pancino (University of Tuscia, Italy), Bálint Balázs (ESSRG, Hungary)

Agricultural policies have contributed to shaping cropping systems over the last decades and play a major role, together with other drivers, in the sociotechnical lock-in that prevents crop diversification despite its benefits. Several measures have been introduced or are being proposed to enhance crop diversity in European agriculture.  Overall, current policies may not provide sufficient incentives to promote crop diversification and it is paramount to take stock of the actual implementation of existing policy instruments and discuss which measures could foster crop diversification while accounting for the high diversity of agroecosystems and socio-economic situations.

Workshop format and objectives
The workshop will be introduced with two talks:

  • How to promote crop diversification across Europe
    Speaker: Barbara Pancino (University of Tuscia, Italy);
  • New governance solutions for legume-based food systems
    Speaker: Bálint Balázs (ESSRG, Hungary).

Facilitated discussions will be based on the experience of case studies from the H2020 Crop Diversification cluster and will address:

  • Policy incentives and barriers to crop diversification;
  • Processes to identify measures and indicators that could be implemented by policy makers.

Some policy-makers will be invited to reflect on the outcomes of discussions.