Crops Working Group and FSA Community of Practice – Rome Event

24th May 2023

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SAI Platform’s Crops Working Group members and the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) Community of Practice gathered last month in Rome, Italy for a three-day event focused on networking and sharing knowledge. The occasion attracted over 60 participants from a broad range of the SAI Platform and FSA community, who came together to exchange experiences of deploying the FSA and to understand how their peers are tackling Climate Smart Agriculture in the field and in supply chains. 

The event kicked off with a field visit to Maccarese Farm, one of Italy’s largest farms, founded in 1925, which produces cereals, vegetables, and almonds and maintains the country’s largest dairy herd. During the visit, Farm Manager Matteo Boggian shared Maccarese’s story and gave participants the opportunity to see the farm in action. 

The following day focused on accelerating collaborative action for a Climate Smart Future. The discussions championed practical, purpose-driven, and people-centric approaches to addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with building climate resilience. High on the agenda was ensuring industry alignment and accessibility for a wide range of contexts. SAI Platform’s FSA and Regenerative Agriculture programmes are already working hard to ensure that there is industry alignment behind some of the sector’s biggest questions and our members have found this approach to offer meaningful interventions.  

The event concluded with the announcement of the winner of the first-ever FSA Growing A Better Planet Award and the sharing of ideas for developing the FSA’s areas of Assurance, Benchmarking, and Outcome Measurement to accommodate the evolving requirements of producers. 

“This was a first for the FSA Community of Practice and the Crops Working Group to come together in Rome and it inspires me to be part of such a passionate, creative, and committed community.” Joe Rushton, FSA Director.

Throughout the event, there was a recurring theme and desire to focus on landscape-level projects that shift the focus from single crops to whole-farm and local ecosystem approaches. Additionally, attendees discussed the need to support in sense-making and refining practical approaches for widespread adoption of effective mitigation and adaptation roadmaps, which are ‘scientifically robust enough’ to inform action and meet reporting needs. 

SAI Platform extends special thanks to the speakers, including Iver Drabaek of Nordzucker, Andrew Utterback of Ingredion Incorporated, Antonio Giuliano of Control Union, Martina Henry of The Kraft Heinz Company, Megan Harrington of Illovo Sugar Africa, Geert Van Aelst of Südzucker, Federica Matteoli of the FAO, Louise Hawson of Sustainable Balance, Kate Mathias of AGRI3 Fund, Guido Rutten of Döhler Group, Andre Eitner of PepsiCo, Gerhard Adam of Bayer, Simon Thorpe of Red Tractor, and James Ede of Cargill, for sharing their wisdom with the community. SAI Platform also extends a special thanks to Andrea Granier of Unilever, who helped make the event a reality. 

The gathering was filled with energy and inspiring discussions, reconnecting, and the striking of new friendships. SAI Platform looks forward to continuing to work with its members to ensure that the FSA is able to fulfil their needs and supporting the development of practical approaches for effective climate mitigation and adaptation roadmaps.