The overall objective of the CHANGE-UP project is to design innovative farming systems for the Mediterranean area to build resilience to climate change, while ensuring food security and stable farmer income. The project aims to achieve this by leveraging the differentiated capacity of crops to withstand climatic pressures and enable efficient use of inputs.
The project team will test a technological strategy based on the integration of Evolutionary Populations of cereals (barley, common wheat, durum wheat, triticale) under crop rotation with a range of leguminous plants, as well as New Perennial Grains (NPGs, perennial wheat lines). Cereal EPs possess a high degree of within-crop genetic diversity, resulting in a higher buffering capacity to adapt to abiotic and biotic stresses. NPGs are new species obtained by hybridization and/or domestication which enable a reduction in soil-intensive practices, and are associated with positive impacts on soil carbon storage, soil degradation and biodiversity compared to annual crops.
The specific elements of the project include 1) a comparative assessment of the benefits of integrating innovative cropping systems, including their agronomic performance, their safety and quality, economic and social benefits and environmental impacts; 2) the sharing of knowledge among stakeholders, including the technical and organizational dynamics of Mediterranean production systems and by developing policy guidelines to facilitate effective local governance and overcoming potential technical barriers to adoption by farmers.