Nucleus on Agroecological AgroForestry Systems of Southern Brazil (SAFAS)
Project MDA/CNPq Nº 39/2014 Português
A rich diversity of experiences on Agroecological AgroForestry in Southern Brazil (SAFAS) has been continuously refined over last decades. This offers an excellent opportunity and pertinent priority to systematically integrate the broad range of results already available. In this sense the present project will broaden and deepen existing efforts to integrate experiences initiated on by the Working Group on Agroforestry of the Ecovida Agroecology Network.
In this context the present project aims to form a decentralized thematic Nucleus on Agroecological Agroforestry in Southern Brazil (“SAFAS”), developing participatory structures and processes of knowledge communication and sharing, in ways that are useful for the integration of outreach, research and training during and beyond the duration of the present project. While using and testing these participatory structures and processes, we aim to analyze how preconditions (e.g. the presence and nature of relevant public policies, external and internal financial and human resources, infrastructure, technologies, etc) influence indicators of multifunctionality and resilience generated by agroecological agroforestry. With a similar approach we also aim to test how these same preconditions affect the severity of bottlenecks which impede or delay the adoption or value addition of agroecologial agroforestry, especially in relation to production/processing chains and short-circuit commercialization of organic agroforestry products. The longer-term goal is to grow the present Nucleus to gradually form a thematic sub-network on agroecological agroforestry within the South-Brazilian Studies Network on Agroecology and Organic Production (ReSNEA), initiated by the funding call MCTI/MAPA/MDA/MEC/MPA/CNPq 81/2013.
With this perspective the project will synthesize results (i.e. practical experiences as well as empirical-theoretical data) already obtained in diverse micro-regions in Southern Brazil on the development of agroecological agroforestry. Our approach is designed to enable analyses that contribute to founding the formulation, implementation and monitoring of public policies as well as grassroots action aimed at socioeconomic and agricultural development, as well as at nature conservation. The interdisciplinary team aims to reciprocally advance the novel theoretical understanding (scientific research component), and the adaptive refinement of productive processes and conservation practices (i.e. agroecological agroforestry practice), especially those that are fundamental to food and nutritional sovereignty, income generation and eradication of poverty.
The actions will be developed in two phases of integrating results:
- Among the different entities of farmers, outreach, as well as technical and university education within each micro-region with well developed agroecological agroforestry experiences (Phase 1); &
- Among the different micro-regions involved (Phase 2).
Each phase will be centered around a 40h training course (participatory workshop). Before, during and after the participatory workshop of each phase we will adapt and document methods and processes of Participatory Training-Action-Research (PTAR) with the objective to construct and socialize knowledge, based on the dialogue and applied integration between traditional versus grassroots innovative versus scientific knowledge. In both phases and all types of activity developed during the project we will incorporate in the working teams:
- Students at different stages of academic training (from college and technical through undergraduate to postgraduate studies) in order to train professionals and technicians in technological and methodological innovation and the construction and socialization of knowledge on agroecology and organic production.
- Members of different generations of farming families with the aim to strengthen the recovery of traditional and grassroots knowledge and its recognition among the youth in formal (technical and higher education) and informal learning environments (among farmers’ and crafts(wo)men offspring).
The team will publicize the diverse results of methodological, technological and theoretical-scientific nature in formats that effectively address the needs identified during the participatory processes developed during the project, including educational printed and open access electronic booklets, as well as peer-reviewed scientific papers. Furthermore, we hope to initiate a continuous process of collective construction of open access permanent online databases on:
a) The geographical distribution of agroflorestry germplasm and collective workshare training sessions, and
b) Ecophysiological, management, processing and commercialization characteristics of agroforestry species for Southern Brazil;
…with the goal to catalyze the adoption and value addition of agroecological agroforestry that sustains communities in their territories.