Climate change, global pandemics, desertification, and chronic disease are by far the greatest challenges our civilization faces today. For the most part, these are symptoms mainly caused by short-term land use concepts and large capital cycles which create artificial and extraneous dependencies. Other direct consequences such as soil degeneration, extreme decline in biodiversity and great loss of CO2-sequesting biomass as well as a sharp decline in natural resource zones for undiscovered active substances and species are threatening life on the planet as we know it. We think it needs alternative solutions for the production of food and fuel, as well as holistic concepts that counteract the mentioned problems. To this end we started with our program to initialize a trans- European network of organizations and institutions to activate, professionalize and connect young people as multipliers and founders of initiatives to develop practical programs for the implementation of the agricultural turnaround. Through this program we give young people the tools to develop their ideas into concepts and how to work together effectively and dynamically across borders to exchange knowledge and experience more quickly in order to build a trans-European network of agents for alternative and regenerative agriculture.
Greencademy – Youth Exchange 2021
From 21st to 30th of September 2021 our European Youth Exchange took place as part of the Greencademy program. The participants from all over Europe moved into their quarters in the Mariengarten a traditional orchard in the south of Erfurt.
In the first days our holistic management expert Leon Bucher introduced the participants to the topic of regenerative agriculture.
Many of the young people grew up on farms, work in this sector or study environment-related subjects. They reported how agriculture is managed in their home countries and what challenges farmers are facing due to the climate crisis and a global economy.
By soil testing the participants learned a simple method to get to know their direct surroundings better and rate it according to holistic principles.
On a bike tour to Cobstädt, a village ten kilometers away from Erfurt, the participants saw many examples of degraded soil stretched over hundreds of hectares. Where once fertile black earth covered the ground, forage maize and wheat cultivation in huge monocultures have strongly restricted biodiversity and caused soil erosion.
At the LebensGut Cobstädt a socio-ecological community project the participants saw a near natural, holistically acting farming operation. This community from a network of nine farms cultivates 12 hectares with a sustainable agro-ecological and cultivation system and is a good example of how plant cultivation and biodiversity can be promoted at the same time as long-term economical success can be guaranteed.
Over the next few days, the young people visited the Erfurt Kressepark one of the oldest aquaponic facilities in the world and learned more about the importance of plant cultivation and seed breeding in the history of Erfurt.
In various project groups they formed their own ideas for a regenerative and holistic agriculture into presentations, which they presented to local actors at the BUGA 2021 the Horticultural Exhibition hosted in Erfurt. During this for example concepts for urban farming, work-networks for farmers and initiatives or prototypes for the realization of holistic regenerative ways of living were created.
On the last day all participants sat down and discussed how they can continue working together on the idea of a Greencademy-network.
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