A New Noah’s Ark: Securing the Transfer of Ancestral Agricultural Knowledges Across Europe’s Changing Regions of Environmental Suitability

Climate change is affecting Europe’s agricultural map, by warming up its ancient agricultural regions in the Old World Mediterranean (OWM) and creating New World Mediterranean (NWM) regions farther north. It is also disrupting historical patterns of agricultural innovation and transfer, which require time for trial-and-error processes to bear their fruits, long-term socio-geographical stability, and safe inter-generational transmission structures. The collapse of these parameters threatens the preservation and transfer of Europe’s ancestral agricultural knowledges precisely when she most needs them, undermining her heritage and future socio-economic security. No systemic knowledge-transfer provision currently exists, either in the public or private sector, to address this problem and support European family farming, which the FAO considers to be the core and foundation of sustainable development. As a result, small- and medium-sized producers in regions losing optimal suitability for agricultural production are left with no realistic adaptation strategies, and no long-term security for their cultural and productive assets. Their counterparts in increasingly suitable regions of production concurrently lack the traditional know-how required to fully exploit their productive capacities and attract investments, and the market advantage that certified designations afford their global competitors. To solve this problem, NOAH will develop and test a new and holistic producer-centred service that combines anthropological mapping, value-certification, and licensing-based knowledge- transfer, to mediate the protected, rapid, and mutually beneficial transmission of ancestral agricultural know-how across environmentally changing areas of production. The service will be provided through the incorporation of a social enterprise that aims to support endangered family farmers across Europe and help them protect their productive and cultural assets.

This project was originally selected for funding by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme (Proof of Concept grant No. 101069168) and is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI – EPSRC) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee (Grant No. EP/X028372/1)



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