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ILVO Press Release - Monday, March 9, 2020

Knowledge sharing and research on agroecology and organic farming: Living Lab Agroecology and Organic Agriculture (LLAEBIO) is born at ILVO.

ILVO has created a living lab for agroecology and organic agriculture, or LLAEBIO for short. The aim is for farmers, researchers and information officers as well as the general public to find their way to information, cooperation and workable systems. For the information and contact function, a central website will be launched: https://www.llaebio.be.
Living labs are knowledge hubs as well as hubs where entrepreneurs and organizations can work on innovation in co-creation with researchers. Marion Liberloo (LLAEBIO coordinating team at ILVO): 'We apply this principle by facilitating collaboration with all interested partners within LLAEBIO. There will be all kinds of activities in support of research, knowledge sharing and innovation in agroecology and organic.

Agroecology as a joint development path for organic and conventional agriculture

Agroecology aims at resilient agriculture in which relationships between humans, agriculture and nature work optimally to design sustainable food systems and keep them running. Agroecology combines a set of principles and practices: sustainable use of local renewable resources, closing cycles, food sovereignty, healthy, high-quality food as a result, and increased biodiversity for ecosystem services.

Organic farmers are often pioneers of agroecology. But even mainstream farmers are already using agroecological practices. LLAEBIO consciously wants to appeal to both groups, in order to stimulate the exchange of knowledge and to build up further knowledge.

Room for experimentation

The living lab is first and foremost a meeting place, but it is also an experimental space where different scientific disciplines and practical experiences come together to tackle questions in the field. Depending on the nature of the research question to be addressed or the knowledge-sharing activity, varying groups of collaborating partners arise.

We are an open collective. New stakeholders are welcome.

The initiators of the LLAEBIO align their mission and operating principles with those of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL): Openness and the very active involvement of end users and other stakeholders are thus central.

Systems thinking is also a basic approach in the living lab. We approach a problem from multiple perspectives. We look for the mutual relationships between the most important facets of an issue, and from there we look for solutions.

Activities of LLAEBIO

The LLAEBIO organizes an annual co-creative workshop to select the topics that the participants will tackle together. In 2020 there will certainly be a day for dialogue with policy makers and farmers. After all, anyone who experiments with agro-ecological practices as a farmer is often confronted with legislation. After all, legislation is mainly based on established practices and ways of working.
There will also be a meeting point between conventional and organic farmers to share knowledge. the two groups of farmers do not yet find each other sufficiently in their joint search for sustainable agriculture. Dates for these activities have not yet been fixed.

The LLAEBIO will also start working on questions in the field. Marion Liberloo gives an example: “A small-scale organic farmer who wants to offer a wide range of products will find it difficult to determine the cost price per product. Getting a fair income as a farmer is one of the important principles in agroecology – and this turns out not to be such an easy task. By looking at the broad context of the story and bringing the right experts to the table, LLAEBIO tries to find inspiring strategies".

Call for participants and contact info

Is the living lab LLEABIO for you? Then take a look at the website https://www.llaebio.be, or contact the coordinating team at ILVO.

Marion Liberloo (ILVOllaebio@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, https://www.llaebio.be), +32 9 272 23 74
Greet Riebbels (ILVO Communication), Greet.Riebbels@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, M. +32 486 26 00 14