Social innovation against rural desertification

Rural regeneration is the aim of the Regeneration Academy project

Rural regeneration is the aim of the Regeneration Academy project Rural regeneration is the aim of the Regeneration Academy project

One of the images generally used to visualize a future scenario with more than 2ºC , is the increase in sea level that would flood highly populated cities in Asia. However, there are other images used less to raise awareness about climate change that are closer to our environment, such as field desertification, an issue that is already evident in some areas of Spain.

In the Murcian highlands, which are 1,200 meters above sea level and where rainfall is increasingly scarce and when it does occur it is torrential, there is a pioneering project, the "Regeneration Academy" located on the regenerative farm, La Junquera, which is accredited as a "Lighthouse farm" by the Dutch University of Wageningen. This initiative, based on "regenerative agriculture", aims to stop soil degradation and encourage entrepreneurship among small farmers in the area.

The "Regeneration Academy" is a business model in which, on the one hand, it researches the best practices to stop soil degradation and on the other hand it provides training to farmers and their families living in the area.

The purpose of the training is for them to change their agricultural practices taking into account the objective of regenerating the quality of the soil and for their children to become inspired with a future in agriculture, becoming entrepreneurs selling organic products under demand. This training will enable them to upkeep a profitable agricultural activity, in line with EU support under the "fair transition" principle. This aid is intended to mitigate the effect of the risk of climate change on employment in isolated agricultural areas.

Research is carried out through partnerships with universities and organizations that are at the forefront of soil regeneration technologies. To this end, it maintains on-site research programs, attracting researchers and students from the European Union to farms where they can expand their research or develop regenerative agricultural experience skills.

In short, it is a project of social innovation to deal with a situation that is already a "climate emergency".

*About the author:
Joaquín Garralda is a professor at IE University, a specialist in strategy and focused on the area of Corporate Social Responsibility. He is a speaker at several conferences and programs, and also acts as a driving force for CSR from various platforms. Chairman of Spainsif and Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the MicroBank Ethic Fund (Grupo Caixabank). He is a regular contributor to the leading economic information media in Spain and Latin America.