TAPE: pilot research of agroecological transition in Poland

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The Jurajska Food Cooperative in cooperation with the international organization Schola Campesina and the Agro-Perma-Lab Foundation as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has completed a pilot research on farms of Silesia and Lodzkie regions testing TAPE (Tool for Agroecology Perfomance Evaluation).

The research is conducted in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Balkans and Central Asia – and now also in Poland. 15 agro-ecosystems of food producing farms located within 40 km from Częstochowa were assessed. The research and interviews were held with farmers cooperating with the Jurajska Food Cooperative.

“Agroecology grows from the bottom up, it starts out of the living experience of those who have farmed the land for thousands of years and still, on just 25% of farmland, produce 70% of the world’s food consumed.”

WHAT ARE THE RESEARCH AIMS AND RESULTS?

DISCOVER TAPE – slideshow

DISCOVER AGROECOLOGY – slideshow

PILOT RESEARCH AIMS:

  • Provide policymakers with evidence on how agroecology contributes to sustainable farming and food systems
  • Provide data and specific analyzes
  • Enable cross-sector and inter-ministerial cooperation
  • Contribute to the empowerment of producers through self-diagnosis and assessment of the conversion level and performance of their agricultural ecosystem.

RESULTS BELOW: WATCH PILOT RESEARCH REPORT

STEPS of TAPE pilot research

• Step 0 – description: context, territory
• Step 1 – the state of agroecology on the farm
• Step 2 – detailed state of agroecology on the farm
• Step 3 – Participant data analysis, feedback to farmers and communities

STEP 0 – description: context, territory

CONSULTATIONS WITH REGIONAL PARTNERS – TERRITORY CHARACTERISTICS

Marian Stępień, Head of the Department of Environmental Protection, Agriculture and Forestry
Zbigniew Czajkowski, employee at the Agricultural Advisory Center in Kłobuck
Justyna Kapitan, WEDD in Częstochowa
Internet sources

CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, REGIONAL CONDITIONS

  • The natural and soil conditions in the Śląskie Voivodeship are varied
  • Difficult conditions for agricultural production are characteristic of the following poviats: Myszkowski, Częstochowa, Kłobuck
  • Light soils with low soil classes, often acidic and very acidic, prevail here
  • Water scarcity has increased in recent years
  • The environment is relatively clean
  • There are many wild animals: biodiversity, crop destruction
  • Chemicalization of agriculture is a problem
  • Nitrogen fertilizer, which increases nitrate and nitrite levels in soil and deep waters, is overused

AREAS OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION, TYPES OF FARM, MARKET ACCESS, PROFILE OF MANUFACTURERS.

  • The total area of land on farms in the Śląskie Voivodeship in June 2019 was 404.7 thousand. ha. Downward trend
  • The number of farms with agricultural land in the Śląskie Voivodeship in June 2019 amounted to 53.9 thousand, which accounted for 3.8% of farms with agricultural land in the country. Decreasing tendency
  • Farms with an ecological certificate – 106 in 2019. Decreasing tendency
  • The production systems are mostly conventional
  • There are also large and highly commercial-industrial ones
  • Restructuring programs help
  • Direct sales, internet. Markets: low profitability
  • Small peasant-worker farms: family, traditional farms. They are often economically inefficient
  • There is a noticeable tendency to increase the size and consolidation of farms, as well as exclusion of land from agricultural production, which is caused by the population of villages from cities.
  • The average size of farms is 4.5 ha

STEP 1 – the state of agroecology on the farm

We got acquainted with the TAPE study and the KoBo platform. We translated the documents and the survey. In e-mail and telephone consultations, we explained the questions and made the necessary corrections.

STEP 2 – detailed research of the state of agroecology on the farm

Consultations with institutional actors in the region – dialogue of perspectives.
We met with Marian Stępień: Head of the Department of Environmental Protection, Agriculture and Forestry, Poviat Starosty in Częstochowa.
In a several-hour conversation, Mr. Stępień shared his knowledge about our region.

We were helped by: Justyna Kapitan: Silesian Agricultural Advisory Center in Częstochowa and Zbigniew Czajkowski: County Agricultural Advisory Team in Kłobuck. In a telephone conversation and e-mail correspondence, they provided information about our region.

STEP 3 – Participant data analysis, feedback to farmers and communities

We split the group of 15 farmers into 3 meetings. In the first part, we presented TAPE, data on the region and Agroecology. Farmers eagerly commented and shared their observations and experiences. Then we moved on to the survey and clarifying the questions. Farmers agreed that such meetings, discussions and studies were badly needed. Some people doubt if it can make a difference, others hope for a change in agriculture. The topic of agroecology encouraged the farmers to discuss and our first meeting lasted 4 hours. In the next ones, we were sticking to the schedule so that the meeting lasted 2 hours. The participants of the study see a great need to reach other farmers and consumers with agroecological knowledge.

STEP 4: TAPE Study Step 2 – Detailed farm survey.

Słoneczna 25 Farm from Michałów Kłomnicki was invited to this approximately 5-hour study. A small farm using organic methods, growing vegetables, herbs and fruit. They also deal with processing. On their farm, farmers keep the seeds of old varieties of crops, maintain the tradition of meetings in the field and in the garden so that agroecological knowledge is alive.

RESULTS: Reporting on TAPE testing

The research and interviews were held with farmers cooperating with the Jurajska Food Cooperative (Polish: Jurajska Kooperatywa Spożywcza, JKS). Farms located within 40 km from Częstochowa were assessed.

We split the group of 15 farmers into 3 meetings. In the first part, we presented TAPE, data on the region and Agroecology. Farmers eagerly commented and shared their observations and experiences. Then we moved on to the survey and clarifying the questions. Farmers agreed that such meetings, discussions and studies were badly needed. Some people doubt if it can make a difference, others hope for a change in agriculture. The topic of agroecology had encouraged the farmers to discuss and our first meeting had lasted 4 hours. In the next ones, we were sticking to the schedule so that the meetings lasted 2 hours each. The participants of the study see a great need to reach other  farmers and consumers with agroecological knowledge.

 Assessed farms are located in Silesian voivodship and Łódzkie voivodship.

Jurajska Food Cooperative is a grass-root organisation founded in 2017. It associates local agroecological producers and consumers, who care for common good and Mother Earth’s condition.

15 farmers took part in Step 1 and 1 farmer participated in Step 2 of TAPE testing.

3 research meetings were carried out by Wioletta Olejarczyk and Barbara Kurek, who are members of the Cooperative.

ANALYSIS: Report by FAO on the basis of collected data

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