From September 11th to 13th, 2023, our second annual VISIONARY consortium meeting took place at the historic Old Library building of the University of Warsaw, Poland – our host this year. This meeting marked a significant milestone as we reviewed the progress our project thus far and outlined the research plans for the upcoming months. Warsaw welcomed us warmly, even very warmly (30 degrees Celsius). The team from Uni Warsaw made sure that the atmosphere of the meeting was friendly and the conditions comfortable.
The meeting started with a field trip to Listny Cud, an ecological vertical farm located in Warsaw’s Służewiec district (https://listnycud.pl/). Listny Cud’s CEO Matylda Szyrle gave us an extensive tour of their sites, revealing the inner workings of a vertical farm, its operational processes, business model, and the environmental impact of this approach to food production. We gained valuable insights into how vertical farms can actively contribute to the well-being of local communities and even had the opportunity to sample some of their products, including nasturtium micro leaves, which provided a tangible connection to the goals of our VISIONARY project.
Back at the Old Library, the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) led the first session outlining the purpose of the meeting, setting the tone for the discussions. A comprehensive review of Year 1 progress and a general project overview ensued, with insights from WP2 contributors. The day concluded with interactions with REA and DGAgri officers, providing valuable opportunities to engage with external advisors.On Tuesday, the morning commenced with discussions about WP6 – Science-Policy Interfaces (SPIs), emphasising how the outcomes would inform WP3 and WP4. Later, our project’s communications team (WP1) gave an overview of their communication and dissemination activities, highlighting the importance of sharing project insights. At the end of the day, UPV and UNIABDN discussed administrative and financial management issues, crucial for the project’s smooth functioning.
The last day, thematic group work organised by tasks and work packages brought together all VISIONARY partners for in-depth discussions, fostering collaboration. Together, we deliberated on the meaning and common definition of sustainable food production.
The first year of the VISIONARY project was marked by comprehensive reviews and qualitative groundwork, which included formulating research hypotheses, forging collaborations, and building an extensive network of experts in sustainable and organic food production. All partners established productive partnerships with a range of organisations, including food sellers and co-operatives, local governments and administration, and several NGOs.
Looking ahead to the coming year, our primary focus will shift towards designing experiments, based on what we have learned over the past year, and more quantitative research. This will involve the design and execution of economic experiments and consultations with domain experts, as we continue our dedicated efforts to contribute meaningfully to the field of sustainable food production.
We are excited about the journey ahead and the opportunities it presents to further our understanding and impact in this vital area. Stay tuned for more updates and insights from the VISIONARY project as we move forward on this important path.