Research


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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-04-01 - 2021-03-31

Integrating two or more animal species with crop production or agroforestry on a farm potentially provides many benefits including more efficient pasture use and parasite management. However, organic mixed livestock farms (OMLF) tend to specialize or display limited integration between farm components. This limited integration may reduce the practical benefits of OMLF. Therefore, we aim to (i) characterize OMLF in Europe, especially their level of integration between farm components, (ii) assess their sustainability and robustness to adverse events, (iii) compare their performances with those of specialized farms, (iv) integrate the knowledge developed on OMLF into models that can simulate their performances against climatic and economic variability, (v) conduct farm-level experiments to generate knowledge about OMLF (to feed into the models) and (vi) co-design with farmers more sustainable and robust OMLF. We will survey OMLF to collect technical and socio-economic data. Then we will enlarge existing concepts and methods to assess the level of integration between farm components and apply these methods to surveyed OMLF. We will also develop an indicator system for integrated assessment of OMLF and apply it to connect the sustainability and robustness of surveyed OMLF with their level of integration among farm components. In parallel we will conduct farm-level experimentation of organic specialized and mixed livestock situations for the comparison of specific aspects of animal husbandry (e.g. pasture use, animal health). We will extend farm simulation models to OMLF and analyze the benefits and drawbacks of livestock diversity. Using these models, we will develop and implement participatory methods to co-design with farmers sustainable and robust OMLF. To inform practice and policy-making, we will communicate our results to shed light on the potentialities of OMLF and the way to manage it sustainably or the way to reach it starting from a specialized farm.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-04-01 - 2020-09-30

The project ensures - in the sense of a participative action research - the scientific monitoring and documentation of the construction of a network of seed savers for traditional crops of the Alpine region in the municipality of Assling. At the core of the activities is the establishment of a network of gardeners and farmers, who grow traditional crops such as poppy, horse bean, turnips or potatoes, who preserve the local varieties of these crops and pass them on to the community. Since seeds and the associated local knowledge represent both tangible and intangible cultural heritage - comparable to books - the library Assling is closely involved in the project. In the near future it should be possible not only to borrow books in the library Assling, but also seeds of the Assling seed savers network. Anyone who has successfully cultivated and harvested returns part of the harvested seed back to the library in the following year, and shares his or her knowledge of at the library cafe, which also discusses gardening knowledge. The network of Asslinger seed savers is embedded in a series of educational measures. These are intended to increase understanding of the importance of seed saving and to provide the necessary technical skills that are essential for successful seed saving.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2017-09-01 - 2020-03-31

Social sustainable integration of disabled people (with rehabilitative social needs) in the working process of horticultural farms The objectives of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as of the Austrian Action Plan 2012 (for implementation of an inclusive society) are the full and effective participation of disabled people in society. This project will provide scientific evidence, which will contribute to the integration of disabled people in the working society. The overall goal of the project is to provide all necessary information for a successful cooperation between day-care centers for disabled persons and private horticultural farms. The creation of such possibilities for a collaboration will offer disabled people a participation in general working life. The identification of suitable working processes and tasks requires the compilation of culture related activity and ability profiles for working processes or tasks. In order to be able to find out which crops require what kind of working skills, the tasks and sub-tasks referring to the crops cultivated by up to 6 representative Austrian horticultural farms must be identified. The method used is the classification of REFA time studies. In order to determine the skills and needs of disabled people in day-care centers, it is necessary to capture their abilities, by creating ability profiles for up to 50 persons. Based on these ability profiles, it is possible to allocate and categorize the necessary tasks. The ability profiles will be created mainly by means of the well-proven “IMBA method” (Integration of persons with disabilities in a working environment). In order to set up a fruitful collaboration, horticultural farms and day-care centers will be interviewed about their interests, needs and expectations. On the basis of this information, it will be possible to give recommendations for a sustainable collaboration. Based on the surveyed results and identified requirements, a training concept for nursing staff, company managers and trainers will be developed and optimized in order to guarantee a high degree of working quality and job satisfaction for both parties in the project (social sustainability, which offers socially produced products). The efficient knowledge transfer of scientific results will be ensured by the production of blended learning material, a recommendation booklet and guidance of the implementation carried out in pilot companies.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations