SalFar: new initiatives
The idea of several SalFar partners to go beyond the North Sea Region, and focus on upscaling resulted in the project the project SALAD, which was approved in 2020.
Saline AgricuLture for Adaptation is a transcontinental, innovative research project in the field of food systems and climate change. This project is funded by FOSC, the ERA-NET Cofund on Food Systems and Climate. Partners in the SALAD project are the Faculty of Agriculture of the Kafrelsheikh University Egypt; ILVO - Flanders Research Institute on Agriculture and Fisheries; University of Florence, Italy; Mohammed VI Polytechic University Marrakech, Morocco; Salt Farm Foundation, Texel, Netherlands; Van Hall Larenstein, University of Applied Sciences, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Université Cadi Ayyad, Marrakech, Morocco; KU Leuven, Belgium; Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany; The Salt Doctors, Texel, Netherlands; Vrie Universiteit Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental Studies, Netherlands. It addresses the research area of food security under climate change through saline agriculture, aligning vision, research and practice among European and African countries focusing on saline agriculture upscaling.
Climate adaptations in coastal areas - Information and Education
Another follow-up of the SalFar project was initiated by Ökowerk Emden: "Climate adaptations in coastal areas - Information and Education". Funded by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety, the project focuses on climate change, sea level rise, salinization, weather extremes, water management and land use. Workshops, teacher trainings on climate adaptation, culinary events with Halophytes as ingredients, seminars on coastal protection in collaboration with the dike protection department are just a few examples of the activities.
- When we started the project 5 years ago, there was hardly any interest, even worse, people denied that there was any danger of salinization. Meanwhile, and I am sure that also has to do with the droughts in 2018 and 2019, awareness is rising for alternative, resource-saving methods of farming, says Angelica Kaus, SalFar Project Manager from Province of Groningen.
The so-called "Zoet-Zout knooppunt", has been established, a platform where farmers, scientists, and waterboards share knowledge on salinization and future canalization of fresh and salt water. In the South of the Netherlands, there are farmers who go for food from saline soils and deliver their products to exclusive restaurants in Holland and Belgium, whereas in the North, like the Double Dyke project, some entrepreneurs started experiments with ancient legumes, like broad beans, and grains like oats or barley, which prove to be more salt tolerant. Learn more here.
Knowledge Cluster Salinization
Another initiative is the so-called "Knowledge Cluster Salinization", initiated by the provincial council of Fryslan and aiming at stimulating saline farming research. The focus is on the impact of salinisation and on innovative solutions for fresh water issues (availability, drought, distribution, salinity damage), cultivation of high value open field crops. The Knowledge Cluster Salinization wants to contribute to the current needs, which means that the problems encountered by the farmers are central. It aims at an integrative approach (hydrology/soil/soil biology/crop/water efficiency), whereas the technical, economic and social factors determine the success of large scale implementation. Connection with vocational education programmes are as crucial as the translation of research results in ’fitting’ policies and international collaboration on a multi-disciplinary scale.