Category Archives: Uncategorised


Measuring the Environmental Performance of Agriculture

Digital data has been gathered to examine the environmental impact of farming image

Against the background of increased attention to the sustainability of the agriculture sector, the OECD has developed indicators of the environmental performance of agriculture. Covering the OECD as a whole and all individual OECD countries over the period 1990-2018, the data in this report show that, while most OECD countries increased their agricultural production in the last decade, the environmental performance of the agriculture sector registered mixed results.

Progress was achieved reducing phosphorus balances, ammonia emissions, nitrogen balances, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensities. However, a lack of progress was observed in reducing GHG emissions and, for those countries where relevant, improving biodiversity as measured by the presence of farmland birds. The OECD agri-environmental indicators presented in this report provide a reliable and robust source of data that can be used to benchmark environmental performance and inform policy action.

Download the report 

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European Regions Week workshop on rural connections

As part of European Regions week, an online workshop will be held from 11.30-13.00 CET on October 14th 2021 on the theme “Rural Connections  – green and digital innovation to unlock the potential of rural and remote areas”. The workshop is organised by the European Broadband Competence Offices Network and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions.

Registration for the workshop

The workshop explores how recent innovation can improve the vitality and sustainability of rural and remote communities – from health, education and digitalisation to mobility and agriculture.

Workshop Agenda

Welcome – Andreas Wolter, Mayor of the City of Cologne, Climate Alliance President

Introduction – Clara Aguilera, Member of the European Parliament, Co-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas (RUMRA) and Smart Villages

Digitalisation – Eddy Hartog, Technologies for Smart Communities, Head of Unit, European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technologies (DG CNECT)

Healthcare – Simona Ferrante, Project ESSENCE (Empathic platform to personally monitor, stimulate, enrich, and assist elders and children in their environment), Associate Professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan

Education – Goran Škvarč, e-Schools (2020 REGIOSTARS competition awardee in the category ‘Skills and Education for a digital Europe’), Deputy Project Manager, National Research and Education Network of Croatia (CARNET)

Agriculture – George Beers, The Internet of Food and Farm 2020 (IoF2020), Project Coordinator, Wageningen University and Research

Mobility – Carola Gunnarsson, Lord Mayor of Sala, Swedish Association of Local Authorities

Questions and Answers, Spokesperson for the Council of European Municipalities and Regions

Concluding remarks – European Broadband Competence Offices Network Support Facility




SEED Publishes Curriculum Framework

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The SEED Project has published the final version of its Curriculum for vocational training for Digital Farming.

Following extensive peer review and critical analysis, the content of the curricular units comprising a Joint Qualification in Digital Farming has been completed. They were validated with national focus-groups and at a series of international peer-review events. The result is a brand-new Curriculum mapped both to DigComp (European Digital Competence Framework for citizens) and EntreComp (European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework) consisting of 3 interrelated and interconnected competence areas.

The curriculum can be used as a stand alone EQF5 new profile in Digital Farming or as a modular and flexible VET course to update or integrate the existing ones.

Download the Curriculum Framework

Curriculum (Dutch version)

New adventures in agriculture and rural development for SEED Italian partners

While the SEED project is entering its last implementation phase, the Italian members of our consortium are kicking off several innovative European projects that have just been approved within the framework of the last Erasmus+ calls and they are all focusing on smart agriculture and rural development.

The projects operate at different levels to involve both young people, adults and experts by using digital tools, sustainable approaches, exchange of good practises, with the final aim to promote personal, professional and social development of those who are or are willing to work in agriculture and other related fields.

UmbraFlor, the SEED project coordinator, is involved in AGROGEN, a KA2 Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership in the field of Youth. The project promotes mountain agriculture as an opportunity for youth employment and it targets young people, between 18 and 30 years old, who are rooted in rural areas, with personal or professional aspirations focused on the agricultural and forestry sectors. It especially wants to give opportunities to participants with common interests and needs, in order to provide them with strategies, skills and attitudes that motivate them to join the productive network of their areas of origin.

EGInA, the European Grants International Academy, is involved as a partner in the following projects:

  • SWEDA – Sustainable Wellbeing Entrepreneurship for Diversification in Agriculture – that will improve the entrepreneurial skills of higher education students for the promotion of well-being within agricultural and agri-food enterprises. A short specialization course will be designed and piloted in three European Universities supporting the realization of experimental activities in social farming, animal and environmental wellbeing, bio-economy and biodiversity strategies.
  • YOU_WEEN! – YOUng Women grEen Entrepreneurs – focuses on young women who live in rural and isolated areas to give them tools and support improving their entrepreneurial training in sustainable development and fostering their employability and socio-educational/personal development. Youth workers will engage local youngsters in the participation at contests launched and voted through social networks.
  • DIGIAGRIMARK – Safe Digital Marketing for Agripreneurs – aims at contributing to digitalisation in agriculture, so to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the agricultural sector through improving farmers’ digital marketing skills with digital safety & security.

Finally, the VET Agricultural School “Ciufelli-Einaudi” will be involved in a school exchange project with other institutes from France and North-Macedonia focused on biodiversity and bees.

Digital Farming Expert Qualification Published

The SEED Project has published its latest report on the Digital Farming Expert qualification. Three elements are addressed – AGRI – DIGI – INNO

  1. Agribusiness, which is assumed to be based on economic knowledge  and skills, the logic and organization of production, logistics and selling processes;  and integration in the value chain;
  2. Digital, which is assumed to be the technical knowledge foundations and skills (Information and data literacy, Communication and Collaboration, Digital content creation, Problem solving), all at the Advanced/Highly specialised levels of the Digcomp 2.1 framework, accordingly related to Agribusiness specificities;
  3. Innovation, assumed as the knowledge and skills necessaries to understanding the thread and the opportunities, carrying out feasibility studies, defining the correct approach and implement the due actions, in terms of project management and change management.

Download the report 

State of nature in the EU report blames unsustainable farming

Unsustainable farming has been named by the European Environment Agency in its latest report as one of the top pressures to blame for a drastic decline in Europe’s biodiversity, threatening the survival of thousands of animal species and habitats. They say that EU nature directives and other environmental laws are not being implemented by Member States and more rigorous conservation is needed to reverse the situation.

Find out more from the ‘State of nature in the EU’ report, published at

SEED Assessment standards 2020

After the forced postponement of the SEED transnational mobilities due to the Covid19 pandemic, the partners of the project have started again to organize the traineeships abroad. For a proper implementation, partners are working on the Assessment Standards, one of the key deliverables of the project. The document will serve as reference point during the piloting in order to guarantee the effectiveness and impact of the learning experiences, in particular for those competence units that have been identified by partners as suitable for being piloted during the transnational mobility. The deliverable will help to evaluate the traineeships, check the students progresses and in turn the Curriculum effectiveness and relevance.

The assessment standards have been developed in consistency with the EQAVET framework in order to guarantee a common standard and face the several differences that exist in the VET systems at national level. The EQAVET framework has also defined six building blocks designed to be useful and appropriate for the three main models of WBL:

  • Apprenticeship schemes which combine training in companies and VET schools or other education/training institutions;
  • On-the-job training in companies which typically cover internships, work placements or traineeships which are a compulsory or optional element of VET programmes leading to formal qualifications;
  • Integration into a school-based programme through on-site laboratories, workshops, kitchens, restaurants, junior or practice firms, simulations or real business/industry projects and assignments.

The building blocks provide guidance and set out activities that help VET providers to develop and support a quality assurance approach for WBL in line with the EQAVET Framework.

The SEED Assessment standards will soon be available for project partners and organizations working in the VET field. Are you one of them? While waiting for the publication, discover the EQAVET framework!

Figure 1 Credits to ThisisEngineering RAEng