Progress made in the first two years of DiverIMPACTS will be discussed at our annual meeting in June

DiverIMPACTS has now been running for two years and our second annual meeting will be held in Arnalp, Sweden from 3 to 5 June. This will be an opportunity to discuss the progress made over the last year, to foster interactions between partners and to start framing the outcomes of the project.
A group of people standing in front of a building.

The project team at the Kick-off meeting at the INRA Versailles Centre. Photo: Elisabeth Lancesseur, INRA

In the past two years, a lot of progress has been made. Recently, we took important steps toward understanding success and failure factors of crop diversification experiences across Europe. We assessed meta-analyses and summarised results of 3736 experimental studies to develop knowledge on the impacts of crop diversification. Our 25 case studies were supported through a learning-for-innovation platform and started implementing their action plan. A case study monitoring system was set up and indicators were selected to support case studies in monitoring the economic, environmental and social performance of diversified systems. We engaged in developing options to overcome socio-technical lock-ins identified in selected case studies. Our network of 10 field experiments (FEs) was built and produced preliminary results on the impacts of diversified cropping systems for the 2018 field season. Decision-support tools and methods, and agro-environmental policies were inventoried and reviewed, respectively, as a first step towards the identification of windows of opportunities for crop diversification.

During our annual meeting, four workshops will be held to foster interactions between participants and promote discussions on challenges for crop diversification. These interactive workshops aim to increase the added value and impact of the project on both short-term and long-term perspectives: (i) practice abstracts as a dissemination means; (ii) building on crop diversification experiences and meta-analyses; (iii) supporting case study dynamics and evolutions by objectively assessing the performance of their crop diversification strategies; (iv) which framework and tools to promote sustainable diversification options design and uptake?

The first review of our project by the European Commission was conducted on 14-15 February in Brussels. Overall, the ambition and first achievements of the project were acknowledged and several recommendations were made: more emphasis on dissemination and communication of our results outside the consortium; special attention should be paid to  methodological challenges related to multi-site statistical analysis of dynamic and diversified field experiments; clarification on strategies to promote crop diversification in the marketplace, and the specific role of labelling; and increase the involvement of policy-makers in the project. DiverIMPACTS will continue addressing the many challenges raised by the transition of agrifood systems.

Over the last year, our exchanges with the other H2020 multi-actor projects involved in crop diversification (Diverfarming, DIVERSify, ReMIX, LegValue, TRUE) have developed and five working groups were set up: barriers to crop diversification, tools and methods to foster crop diversification, indicators and multicriteria assessments, policy analysis, and communication and dissemination.

Later this year, DiverIMPACTS, in close collaboration with the other projects in the cluster, is organising the European Conference on Crop Diversification in Budapest (18-21 September) where 300 delegates are expected. This will be a unique opportunity to learn about the impacts of crop diversification, how to remove lock-ins and sustain crop diversification over time and engage in a dialogue with value chain actors and policy-makers.