The main objective of SEA FENNEL4MED is the introduction of new sustainable organic sea fennel (Chritmum maritimum L)-based cropping systems, able to cope with limited resources (fresh waters/fertile soils), environmental constrains (biodiversity loss, chemical pollution) and climate-related risks (soil salinization, water drought) for the enhancement of food production stability over time and increase of farmers’ incomes.
Specific objectives of the project are:
I. Designing of innovative production systems of sustainable organic sea fennel crops in the Mediterranean basin while preserving biodiversity, soil quality, soil health and land cover. This specific objective deals with the development of protocols for sustainable production of organic sea fennel crop in the Mediterranean basin in agreement with the EU zero-pollution ambition. This objective will be reached by introducing Mediterranean sea fennel germplasm well adapted to climate change and Mediterranean conditions (i.e. water shortage, low soil fertility, high salinity) and by carrying out cultivation trials in both demo and open field. To this end, environmentally friendly techniques will be adopted for pest management and weeds control, combined with minimum tillage, implementation of soil quality/health/fertility by exploring soil application of regenerative microorganisms, irrigation with brackish water, land cover monitoring with digital technologies. All cultivation protocols will be implemented for production of organic sea fennel crop at industrial level.
II. Developing new high value foods from the new sea fennel crops to increase profitability of smallholder farming systems that adopt sustainable farming practices. This specific objective deals with development and quality evaluation of new foods, based on sustainably produced new organic sea fennel crops.
III. Valorising by-products of the new sea fennel crop (not edible aerial parts) for production of food ingredients/nutraceuticals/soil amendments to add value to these residue plant biomasses and to approach the zero-waste farming system target; this objective will open new perspectives on the managing and utilisation of no edible parts of sea fennel crop allowing industries to embrace the circular economy approach by utilizing both products and by-products they obtain in the production chain.
IV. Measuring economic, social, and environmental impact of the implemented innovations through a Triple Bottom Line assessment carried out exploiting information from stakeholders and using an integrated evaluation of the economic, social, environmental and governance dimensions involved in sea fennel production.
V. Disseminating/communicating the SEA FENNEL4MED proposed solutions in the Mediterranean; this objective deals with the strengthening of awareness/research/technological development/innovation in Mediterranean cropping/farming systems, with positive socio-economic and environmental impacts. The objective will be reached by disseminating the innovative solutions developed in the project to both new (potential) and existing enterprises and by developing cross-border value chains. With this objective, the project will promote inclusive and sustainable rural development, with a specific focus on poverty eradication, women’s empowerment, and youth employment.
The strong synergy between Partners will permit to reach all the above-mentioned specific objectives.