Business opportunities can help revive our rural areas. RURALIZATION is an H2020 research project looking for new solutions to revitalise rural areas and facilitate the entry of newcomers into the farming sector.
Can you introduce RURALIZATION in a few words?
RURALIZATION is a 4-year EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 programme, focused on the study of problems related to rural regeneration and access to land, and the implementation of policies and activities that facilitate the entry of new generations and newcomers to the farming sector.
The project contributes to the development of rural areas by providing exciting opportunities for economic and social sustainability to new rural generations to realise their dreams.
This newsletter issue focuses on the business and economic impact of European agri-food projects. What is the RURALIZATION view on this subject?
We look at a wider angle in which businesses and economics are integrated into a societal and rural context. Our main emphasis is on opportunities for new generations and the ways that this will create even more opportunities for new generations to renew rural areas.
However, to offer new generations opportunities for economic and social sustainability, rural regeneration is needed. Rural regeneration is more than just reversing the decline, or trying to restore a previous state of development, but implies a process of transition and more positive reinvention or revival. Regeneration should be resilient to enable the continued renewal of population and economic activities in rural areas.
How does RURALIZATION contribute to creating new business and economic opportunities for the agricultural and agri-food sector?
Different actions will be carried out that will help create new business and economic opportunities. For example, RURALIZATION will produce a handbook for local authorities on supporting access to land for farmers and a Good Practice Guide to disseminate the lessons learnt from newcomers, new entrants into farming and successors.
There will be an assessment of policies based on insights developed in RURALIZATION and new policies at the regional level will be used to develop a policy agenda to change current regional situations to accommodate the fulfilment of the youth's dreams. Finally, specific actions will be developed to address policymakers at EU and other governance levels and new rural generations to ascertain that they get involved in this process.
RURALIZATION looks at a wider angle that goes beyond the agri-food sector and doesn't focus solely on technological innovation. Social and ecological innovation is central to an integrated approach to rural regeneration.
RURALIZATION and SmartAgriHubs share the same values and objectives. What are our common topics?
We have a common focus on rural development and rural innovation. We are looking at novel practices that will trigger development towards a new rural frontier, offering exciting opportunities for economic and social sustainability within a rural context. The novel practices that are detected in both projects will become instruments and strategies that can be used by other rural areas to engage in a process of rural development and regeneration.
Furthermore, we both seek to produce guides and catalogues easily accessible to farmers that will contain good practices and resources to help farmers and new generations to achieve their dreams.
What opportunities do you see for (more) synergy between the projects?
The synergy between the projects can be very prosperous for both. We can enrich each other by sharing our knowledge and the good practices that have been reported. This will help to achieve our common goals and topics. All the trends, novel practices and solutions that have been identified throughout the course of the projects will be translated into exciting new opportunities for farmers and new generations that will also involve economic and social sustainability.
Moreover, with our collaboration we can offer a broader look at rural innovations going beyond just one field: with our research, we can provide insight into digital, social and cultural innovation.
This project has received funds from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 770747