In the ReNu2Farm project partners are very much interested in developing, testing and evaluating recycling-derived fertilisers (RDF) and demonstrating their suitability to replace their conventional traded equivalents. In addition to those, they are also interested in communication of project work to relevant audiences. Such target groups also include the so called “learning networks” which are groups of people training in relevant areas.
One such expedition for outreach was undertaken on Tuesday 28 January 2020 by the ReNu2Farm Institute of Technology Carlow project manager, Dr Thomaé Kakouli-Duarte. The IT Carlow team in the project works to carry out the agro-ecological risk assessment of the RDF, in other words, to ensure that the novel fertilisers are good for the soil ecosystem onto which they are applied. They also seek to ensure that RDFs are free of pathogens and other detrimental for the environment agents, and of course are actively involved in project communication.
In this latest context and for that purpose, Dr Kakouli-Duarte visited on Jan 28th the IT Carlow Co. Wexford campus, where nearly 60 undergraduate students study in the Bachelor of Science Sustainable Farm Management and Agribusiness and Bachelor of Science (Honours) Sustainable Farm Management and Agribusiness programmes. It was this audience that formed the Learning Network that the ReNu2Farm worker reached towards to communicate the project. These two programmes are relatively new courses and unique in Ireland, tailored towards learners who mostly come from farming backgrounds, but who also wish to enhance their base of understanding of the various aspects of farming and consolidate it with scientific evidence and business skills. Essentially, these students are a highly educated and scientifically trained part of the Irish farming community, who will eventually form Ireland’s next generation of farmers. It was considered therefore an ideal group to constitute a learning network to communicate various aspects of the project. Dr Kakouli-Duarte gave an overview of the project with its aims, work carried out so far and work that is to follow, and presented the various partners involved and their role in the project. She particularly emphasized the importance of consultation of the ReNu2Farm partners with the farming community in several NW European countries, in order to tailor make RDFs to the farmers’ needs. She also emphasized the impact of ReNu2Farm and its significance on soil nutrient sustainability in North West Europe. On their part the audience was very attentive and interested in the topic and its various implications, particularly from economical, agronomic and environmental perspectives, as manifested by the discussion that followed the seminar. Overall, it was a great session with much interest and interaction amongst all involved.