International Final Conference Black Sea AGREEN project in Thessaloniki, May 2023

The International Final Conference of the European project AGREEN Cross-Border Alliance for Climate-Smart and Green Agriculture in the Black Sea Basin was successfully held on May 5th, 2023 in the premises of the American Farm School on the outskirts of Thessaloniki.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss the need of Climate Smart Agriculture being included in the educational material of ground schools, high schools and college institutions and to highlight the benefits of Climate Smart Agriculture in the production of high added value products for both producers and consumers in the future.

The opening speeches were held by Thanassis Sarakinos, counselor on behalf of the Mayor of Thermi Municipality, and Jacob Sarigiannis, general director of Anatoliki S.A. Organization for Local Development.

Vaso Papadopoulou, MSc Chemical Engineer and the director of Planning and Sustainable Development Department of Anatoliki S.A., moderated the meeting and presented the results of the AGREEN project, which expires in the end of May 2023.

The meeting consisted of two sessions. The first session was about the education on Climate Smart Agriculture. Vicky Crystalidou, PhD in Agronomy and director of the Innovation and Impact Hub of the American Farm School, referred to the activities of the School, with special emphasis on how the concepts of Climate Smart Agriculture can be included in adult’s educational training.

Natasa Rizopoulou, MSc Agricultural Technologist from Anatoliki S.A., made a presentation of the project platform and its networking and educational tools. She then referred to the benefits of the introduction of Climate Smart Agriculture educational material in schools.

The benefits of Climate Smart Agriculture in the production of high added value products was the subject of the meeting’s second session, starting with Panagiota Sergaki’s speech. The associate professor from the School of Agriculture of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki explained the challenges of the agro-food sector, the consumer preferences and gave some examples of cooperatives that successfully produce and trade Climate Smart Agriculture products.

Dimitris Mustakis, a consultant/researcher of the Innovation and Impact HUB of the American Farm School, made his speech about the substantial footprint of the agricultural sector and how it could decrease. He also presented a series of crops with measured data on their total CO2 emissions, CO2 emissions per sq.m. and per m.

The consumer’s point of view was explained by Panos Giakoumidis, a member of BIOSCOOP, Social Consumer Cooperative of Thessaloniki, in the last speech of the meeting, where he stressed the consumers’ preference for greener products, also referring to the challenges and perspectives of the Cooperative.

A vivid and rich in outcomes Q&R session evolved around possible cooperations between the agricultural and other sectors, followed by a short tour in the American Farm School premises.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the OECON Business Consultants Company, researchers, agronomists, students and Educational Training Institutes members, among others.

The project Cross-Border Alliance for Climate-Smart and Green Agriculture in The Black Sea Basin (AGREEN), Ref. No. BSB 1135 is funded by the Joint Operational Program for Cross-Border Cooperation under the European Neighborhood Instrument “Black Sea Basin 2014- 2020”, under Priority 1.2 “Increasing cross-border opportunities for trade and modernization of agriculture and related sectors”.

Joint Operational Programme Black Sea Basin 2014-2020 is co-financed by the European Union through the European Neighborhood Instrument and by the participating countries: Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.