The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and the AAAS Annual meeting is one of the world’s largest annual scientific gatherings, with more than 9,000 attendees from 50 countries this year. The European Commission (EC) sponsored the event, and EU-funded projects, supported by the Research Executive Agency (REA), showcased their outcomes in five AAAS sessions. Addressing the conference theme “Envisioning Tomorrow’s Earth”, our session focused on how crop diversification and value chain reorganisation can help restore the global food supply in a sustainable manner.
Our session was organised around three talks:
- Based on Diverfarming field experiments, Raúl Zornoza, coordinator of Diverfarming (Polytechnic University of Cartagena, UPCT, Spain), discussed the benefits and drawbacks of crop diversification depending on diversification strategies and local contexts.
- Based on DiverIMPACTS case studies, Lise Paresys, the scientific officer of DiverIMPACTS (National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, INRAE, France) emphasised the need to couple (i) innovations in activities across value chains; and (ii) technological innovations (e.g., technical knowledge on crop management, harvesting and processing equipment) with organisational innovations (e.g., different upstream and downstream organisational arrangements, cooperation between agri-food system actors) and institutional innovations (e.g., new policies and regulations) in order to unlock the potential of crop diversification and support sustainability transitions. She addressed strategies to support such developments in innovation niches and society.
- Our guest speaker, Meagan Schipanski (Colorado State University, CSU, Colorado), presented her research group work on evaluating crop diversification strategies within dryland cropping systems, facilitating cooperation across value chains, and developing tools to evaluate policy impacts.
The three talks provided the ground for a lively discussion with the session attendees (Picture 1). During the session, Francesco Guarnaccia, a drawer in the European ERCcOMICS project, made a live drawing of his interpretation of take-home messages (Picture 2).
DiverIMPACTS and Diverfarming also represented the Crop Diversification cluster to the Diversified Agroecosystems Research cluster of the University of British Columbia (UBC-DARC, Vancouver, Canada) to initiate international networking (Picture 3). We presented our clusters and discussed potential linkages between the two clusters with a particular emphasis on multi-criteria assessments at the farm level. We also visited the UBC Farm, which acts as the Living Laboratory of several projects lead by members of the UBC-DARC.
- aaas.org: 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting Archive
- ec.europa.eu: European funded research in AAAS 2020 – Tackling global challenges
- aaas.confex.com: Crop Diversification: Ensuring a Sustainable Global Food Supply
- zenodo.org: Zornoza et al., 2020. Benefits of Crop Diversification to Sustain Yields, Soil Quality and Biodiversity
- zenodo.org: Paresys, L. and Messéan, A., 2020. Removing organisational and institutional barriers to crop diversification
- zenodo.org: Schipanski, M., 2020. Supply chain approaches to support crop diversification for mitigating risk and conserving resources
- ubcfarm.ubc.ca: Diversified Agroecosystems Research cluster
- erccomics.com: About the project