Innovation in Rural Development

During recent decades, agriculture has experienced major productivity gains. But this trend slowed down in developed countries in recent years. These gains were achieved partly by putting serious strains on natural resources and the environment. 45% of European soils face problems of soil quality (symptomised by low levels of organic matter), and 25% suffer from erosion. Valuable ecosystems, and with them, valuable eco-system services have been damaged or have even disappeared.

These phenomena are not confined to the technologically most advanced parts of the European Union. Europe also has a huge potential in areas characterised by small and traditional farms. However, if those farms follow the same pattern of development, major environmental damage will be inflicted on existing, often rich habitats and biodiversity, and on soil functionality and water resources.

A shift towards a different growth path is needed in order to establish competitive and sustainable agriculture in Europe, and to ensure continued supply of the ecosystem services that we all need. This applies even more urgently to those parts of Europe where farmed ecologically functioning landscapes still exist: it is easier by far, and less costly, to preserve ecosystems than to re-create them.

See the Communication for the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the European Innovation Partnership on Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability, Brussels, 29.2.2012 COM(2012) 79 final.

This new path is brought together under the theme of innovation, as part of the European Commission’s new European Innovation Partnership (EIP). This is not a direct source of funding, but is a vision for policy-making, and for integrating the varied funding and technical support possibilities that exist.

Fundatia ADEPT is carrying out various integrated and innovative policies for increasing the economic viability of small-scale farms, communities and landscapes.

One-stop shop

Providing information on a wide range of topics: applications for measures; obligations linked to measures; food safety and hygiene regulations for processing and direct sales; marketing.

Information and local economy

Packaging information and channeling it through farmer groups. Using SMS in cooperation with Orange Romania. Links to National Rural Development Network.

Communication with the consumer

Such as the ‘Know what you eat, know where it comes from’ campaign, and top quality products to provoke publicity. With Orange Romania, we are developing mobile phone apps for use by consumers.


Training of individual farmers, and of farmers’ associations, to increase their capacity to carry out individual and joint actions.

Innovative machinery

For management of traditional grasslands under agri-environment schemes, but suited to modern expectations.

Innovative processing

To assist micro-producers and to overcome authorization problems such as advisory materials, solar driers for fruits and vegetables and community enterprise.

Innovative marketing

Developing modern brands and packaging, producer groups, short supply chains and genuine farmers’ markets across Romania.

Imaginative diversification

Such as innovative mountain bike trail networks which link guesthouses and attract visitors and income to the area.

Policy development

Thourgh cooperation with the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, and consultations with DG Agriculture, so that design and implementation of measures in current and future Rural Development Programmes are informed by ADEPT’s practical experience.

Related Projects

Development of a European Private Land Conservation Network – LIFE ELCN

LIFE programme: LIFE Preparatory Projects call for Establishment of a European Private Land Conservation Network ADEPT Pilot action: Building commercial incentives for private landowner cooperation in nature conservation.

Funded by: European Commission
Project Duration: 2017 - 2020 (3 years)

RBAPS - Results-Based Payments for Biodiversity: A New Pilot Agri-Environment Scheme for the Tarnava Mare and Pogány Havas Regions

A “results-based” agri-environment scheme which is targeted at High Nature Value hay meadows, rewarding practical management that produces good quality hay and protects wild species.

Funded by: DG Environment
Project Duration: 2016 - 2019 (3 years)

STACCATO - SusTaining AgriCultural ChAnge Through ecological engineering and Optimal use of natural resources

Focus on the analysis and evaluation of Ecosystem Services (ESS), both in isolation and in concert, and their sensitivity to land use patterns in agriculturally dominated landscapes.
Funded by: a BiodivERsA funded EU project
Project Duration: 2014 - 2018 (4 years)

AgriSpin – Space for innovations in Agriculture

The Agrispin Project aims at creating space for agricultural innovations, through amplifying good examples of innovation support systems and through multiactor learning about ways to stimulate innovation and remove obstacles.

Funded by: the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
Project Duration: 2014 - 2017 (3 years)

ESSEDRA - Environmentally Sustainable Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas

International project developed in partnership with Slow Food International and 10 other organizations from 8 countries, for experience sharing, and promoting local/traditional products all around Europe.

Funded by: European Commission through DG Enlargement
Project Duration: 2012 - 2016 (4 years)

Green infrastructure in Sighișoara-Târnava Mare Natura 2000 Site – Discover Târnava Mare by Bike

Creation of a green network or infrastructure, “owned” by local communities, that will catalyse local cooperation in the development of green enterprises
Project Supported by a Grant From Switzerland through the Swiss Contribution to the Enlarged European Union Programme Romania
Project Duration: 2013 - 2016 (3 years)

Want to support our projects?

Watch our videos

See film clips below about ADEPT activities, nature & school projects and agriculture projects in Târnava Mare.




Our Strategic Partners

Biodiversity conservation and community development in Transylvania