How can we communicate to, with and for farmers: Workshop outcomes

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EUROPARC’s Online Conference 2020 included 8 thematic workshops on diverse topics related to practice and capacity building in Protected Areas. In case you have not attended, or want to remind yourself of their outcomes, a series of articles summarises the content of some of these workshops.

From European level, to field experience

In the workshop presentations, insights from two different levels were discussed. First, Stefania Petrosillo, EUROPARC Policy Officer in Brussels, shared the relevant EU Policies that were focused on agriculture and Protected Areas. These included the Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Common Agriculture Policy. There is both a challenge in the increasing pressures on agriculture and an opportunity in the increasing attention for the environment.

Baptiste Hottekiet, Director of the Pays des Collines Nature Park and Representative of the Federation of Nature Parks of Wallonie-Belgium was the second presenter. He explained how Protected Areas can facilitate communication with farmers. This can lead to cooperation that is beneficial for both the Protected Areas and the farmers. For example, the farmer image towards consumers can improve substantially.

Since we accompany farmers in their work for a better sustainable and profitable agriculture, we have each year more and more farmers who participate to our nature’s projects. It’s a long-term process but it works.

The ways Pays des Collines Nature Park communicated and cooperated with farmers varied greatly. Farmers were involved in decision making processes and farmers markets with local products and educational activities were organised.

Presentation Slide - Baptiste Hottekiet

Presentation Slide – Baptiste Hottekiet

What is needed

So where do these insights leave us? In the presentations and discussions, it was evident that communication is key, both with farmers and at an EU level. By using the language of Farmers and understanding what they need, you can start a dialogue. This eventually leads to cooperation that is beneficial to both the farmer and the Protected Area.

Therefore, knowledge on how to communicate is needed in the case of farmers and the case of EU Policy. This can be provided through the creation of ‘tools’ for farmers and the exchange of knowledge between Protected Areas on this subject.

EUROPARC Federation can serve as a forum for capacity building, inspiration and sharing of best practices. By also keeping close contact with the EU institutions, Protected Areas will also stay well-represented in agricultural policies. Read for example the Position Paper on European Protected Areas and Sustainable agriculture.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Stefania Petrosillo, Policy Officer at EUROPARC Federation or to download the workshop presentations below.

Download the presentations:

  • Case study: How Walloon Nature Parks promote a better communication with farmers?, by Baptiste Hottekiet (Director of NP Pays des Collines, BE) – download
  • Presentation: The EU new strategies: Biodiversity 2030 and Farm To Fork, by Stefania Petrosillo (EUROPARC Policy Officer) – download

More info on sustainable agriculture: go here