Baltic Ecological Recycling Agriculture and Societ.. (BERAS ..)
Baltic Ecological Recycling Agriculture and Society
Start date: Feb 28, 2003,
End date: Mar 30, 2006
The goal of the project was the evaluation and demonstration of the potential of ecological recycling-based agriculture, combined with priority for local and regional processing, distribution and consumption, in order to reduce consumption of limited resources, emissions of greenhouse gases and nitrogen and phosphorus pollution to the Baltic Sea area by half or more, according to politically decided environmental goals for the region. The goal was to base the knowledge of ecological recycling-based agriculture on practical case studies, primarily in one or two selected rural areas, complemented by selected reference farms in each country, where practical initiatives have been taken to bring about lifestyle changes through the whole of the food chain – from primary agricultural production, via processing, distribution and storage to final consumption – based on ecological production (agriculture and processing), recycling and a minimisation of transport systems which contribute to the greenhouse effect.Results, recommendations and evaluated examples should be published in an Agenda for Baltic Ecological Recycling-based Agriculture and Society. The long-term aim of the project was to develop a knowledge base network of ecological recycling-based farms, able to influence the policy makers regarding possible means of significantly decreasing consumption of non-renewable energy and other limited resources, and of reducing the negative environmental impacts of production, distribution, processing and consumption of food. Achievements: By encouraging exchanges of experience, learning and cooperation among actors involved in similar initiatives, and through exchange and dissemination of experience gained in the different countries of the Baltic Sea region, the project enhanced the knowledge on organic farming, expertise and motivation of the actors concerned and improve the prospects of achieving environmental policy goals and dissemination of sustainable spatial food production and consumption systems.The project has shown very clearly that an alternative in the food chain exists that has the potential to reduce leakage of plant nutrients to the Baltic Sea by 50% and at the same time reduce output of greenhouse gases, strengthen biodiversity, strengthen local culture and local economy. It has also shown in the other scenario that continuing on the current path will lead to 50% increase of plant nutrient leakage from agriculture sources. This is a difference in the proportion 1:3!The project has produced six published and printed scientific reports, an executive summary and a 12 point list of the most important scientific conclusions – with links on where to find the detailed report. These 12 points are a common ground in communications to decision makers, consumers and stakeholders and at the same time give the public direct access to research. Communication with national level decision makers, HELCOM and EU has been strengthened.It is important that all countries around the Baltic Sea have been involved in this project. A network across scientific disciplines, across national borders and across the lines between science workers, farmers, food chain entrepreneurs, consumers and political workers has been built and strengthened.The project has had a great impact on other European regions. The Interreg IIIC project LOF with partners in Estonia, Sweden and England has started as a continuation and widening of the BERAS network. BERAS Com project with partners in Poland, Estonia, Sweden and an inter-European foundation was formed and made an application to FP6 Science in Society call 19. Also a DG Env project Life Kyyvesi was formed with partners in Finland, Poland and Italy. BERAS has also stimulated a similar development – Agriculture et Proximité – in the Mediterranean region with a basis in Provence, France and has raised the question and created an interest for cooperation between the Baltic Sea region and Cheasapeake Bay on the USA East coast, which shares the problem of threatening eutrophication caused by intensive animal husbandry. BERAS has become an internationally known concept for international cooperation.
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