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MIXED is a project funded by the EU Horizon2020 programme. MIXED will explore the benefits of mixed farming and agroforestry systems (MiFAS) to climate, environment and society in general and support the further development of such systems. MIXED explores different types of MIFAS. The assumption is that MiFAS have the potential to be both efficient and resilient and at the same time and provide eco-system services for the benefit of society and the environment. Networks of organic and conventional farmers are the backbone of the project. The different networks have different knowledge and experience that others can benefit from. In MIXED, we create the opportunity for farmers to learn from each other and for researchers to learn from and generate new knowledge from undertaking research together with farmers. The project will work with these groups of farmers and develop networks across Europe covering a wide range of different mixed agricultural and agroforestry systems. This enables farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange. Joint activities between researchers and farmers will create valuable scientific knowledge about the methods and systems, how best to facilitate a wider take-up of Mi- FAS across Europe and how policies can support this. 

The concept
MiFAS come in many shapes and dimensions – operating within a field, a farm, between farms or even in an entire landscape or food-chain. The concept aims at optimizing the use of resources through collaboration and diversified production (crops, trees, animals) where the different enterprises benefit from each other. Resources can be used more efficiently in MiFAS, for example, by using crops, grasslands and woody vegetation to feed and shelter animals and fertilise fields with manure from the animals, as well as provide benefits such as sequester carbon in the system and improve biodiversity. The diversified production can also enhance the resilience of farms and support a more circular use of resources in general. Therefore, MiFAS are regarded as a possible alternative to specialisation.

The challenges
The challenges associated with MiFAS is to achieve economic results comparable to specialised systems. MiFAS are more complex and knowledge-intensive and may involve longer-term planning and investments. Therefore, research is needed to evaluate economic and environmental benefits, improve the systems’ resource and technical efficiency and develop strategies for transition.

The networks
MIXED involves networks of farmers that practice or are in the process of transforming to MiFAS. Systems such as different forms of organic and non-organic agroforestry, land/manure/nutrients as well as grazing exchange between arable and livestock farmers, (re)wetting of arable land in livestockarable land exchange and agrotourism are all represented in the MIXED networks.

The focus
  • Co-creation of knowledge and innovations for enhanced Mixed Farming and Agroforestry Systems (MiFAS)
  • Development of efficient and resilient MiFAS and assessment of effects of MiFAS on environment, climate change resilience and other ecosystem services
  • Decision-support for MiFAS to ease farmers’ transition to MiFAS
  • Estimations at multiple scales of consequences of the introduction of MiFAS for the development of supporting policies
  • Communication of MiFAS and dissemination of project results