The United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming, the primary aim of which is to promote, develop and strengthen all types of family-oriented agriculture as a socially valuable, economically viable and environmentally sustainable model.
Innovation is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy, which aims to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Today, European farmers are faced with the dual challenges of having not only to produce more, but also to do so in a sustainable manner. The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) sees innovation as a key driver of sustainable agriculture and rural development.
Rural Europe plays a central role in the provision of environmental services such as preserving biodiversity, contributing to climate regulation—by reducing emissions and sequestering carbon, protecting water quality and availability, preserving soil functionality and air quality, reinforcing resilience to flooding and/or fire and maintaining landscape values.
Networking is a policy instrument within the framework of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – otherwise known as Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Experience shows that networks are an effective means of informing, inspiring and empowering local people in rural communities.