Community development, Environment and sustainability

Connecting Roots winner

A participatory rural Network to preserve agrobiodiversity, as a natural and cultural heritage, and foster rural dynamization.


Who is behind this?

Pablo Agost Andreu



Who is joining forces?

PEU-UJI: Programa d’Extensio Universitaria de la Universitat Jaume I (University Extension Program of Jaume I University)


FEDINESPV- Federació d’Instituts d’Estudis del País Valencià (Federation of Institutes for the Study of the Valencian Region)


Formigues Liles Coop. V.


Cofunders: CDR Palancia-Mijares; Canopia Collaborations: Eslida city council; SASE; Natural parks of “Serra d’Espadà” and “Tinença de Benifassà”


Idea pitch

Rural areas of Castelló province are lacking innovative initiatives that make use and take care of their heritage and help to stop depopulation. We aim to get together the rural communities in a participatory Network dedicated to recover, preserve and promote their traditional crop varieties and their associated knowledge, while studying their functionality for the dynamization of rural areas. To this end we will facilitate spaces of encounter and impart social, gender and agronomic workshops.

Where will your project idea take place?

Province of Castelló, Valencian Region, Spain

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Inhabitants of these areas are excluded from public policies and development agendas because of the urban-centric paradigm. Resulting in a decline, masculinization and aging of their population, as well as a territorial disarticulation and a lack of social cohesion within the community and between rural communities. Thus, few opportunities for civic engagement and participation are available. Moreover, this process is leading to the disappearance of traditional crop varieties (TCV) and traditional knowledge (TK). TCV & TK are a cultural heritage resulting from the local peasant labor and are important to maintain the stability of the food system and cope with climate change. Recent studies point out an alarming loss of TCV & TK and it’s urgent to implement actions for their conservation.

Who are you doing it for?

Rural communities, especially those people interested in TCV & TK preservation and their application for the socioeconomic dynamization of their territories. We define 4 target groups who are usually neglected:
Rural elderly: main keepers of TCV & TK. The transmission of their wisdom between generations will be a key point of the project.
Young people: forced to migrate to cities by the lack of opportunities. The Network will help them to reconnect with their rural identity while exploring the opportunities that they can find in their territories.
New inhabitants of rural areas: The project will enhance their inclusion in the rural communities.
Women: Their role in TCV & TK preservation has been historically invisibilized. Thus, it is necessary to highlight their role in the network.

How do you plan to get there?

The methodological approach will be participatory and feminist so as to involve a wide diversity of voices in each of the following phases:
DIAGNOSIS AND PROMOTION. Desk research and interviews with key informants to recognize the conditions and needs of each territory related to TCV & TK, compiling a list of stakeholders, initiatives and resources. 8 promotion events will be performed to raise awareness and motivate people to participate in the project. With all the information collected we will rethink the methodology and set up working groups.
LEARNING AND CONNECTING. 16 participatory workshops will be performed to provide participants with social and technical tools to organize and cooperate for working on TCV & TK preservation and revaluation with a rural development perspective. The working groups of the Network will get together in 2 events, where they will share information, create social bonds and engage with collective goals resulting from their common needs and wills
CO-CREATING A COMMON SPACE: Analyze all the information previously collected to co-create, during 3 participatory workshops, the structure, operating agreements and common goals of the Network, and decide its next steps. Co-generate protocols that enhance the participation of different social groups, focusing on women and youth. Promote the Network creating a dissemination strategy and online platform

What are the expected results?

Social cohesion: the TCV Network will get together different rural actors to collaborate in the preservation of their heritage, offering a space of encounter for them to reinforce bonds, fortifying tolerance and social cohesion.
Empowerment of rural women: feminist methodology will highlight the key role of women in rural communities.
Democratic enhancement: the TCV Network will act as a catalyst to create civic spaces and facilitate active political participation, and it will empower local communities to be political interlocutors.
Empowerment of the rural identity by revalorizing the local natural and cultural heritage.
TCV conservation: the TCV Network will contribute to increase TCV understanding and promote production and consumption, reducing their current disappearance risk.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Our experience suggests that TK, with the TCV as a symbolic element, can empower the identity of rural communities and encourage the engagement of different local actors, which are usually polarized. The creation of the TCV Network will generate a common civic space with shared objectives, boosting civic engagement and active participation to preserve and revalue their common heritage. Moreover, it will provide social and civic tools and skills, which in turn will foster social and political participation on the local level. In the long term, the TCV Network will boost food sovereignty and the democratization of the food system by increasing their power of decision on food production and consumption, and encouraging them to embark on local value-added agricultural projects

Why is this idea important to you?

Connecta Natura has been working since 2015 on rural development and biodiversity preservation projects, managing several demonstrative fields. Since 2018 we began to work on TK and TCV recovery and promotion, focussing on the Castelló province, cooperating with rural communities and public entities like councils, Natural Parks and research centers.
Our team is composed of experienced environmentalists and agroecologists living in the region. Our emotional bond with the territory motivates us and has allowed us to create an extensive network of local actors and entities.
For this project, we will work together with Formigues Liles, an entity specialized on gender issues, participatory processes and social engagement.

€ 45352,-

Total budget

€ 34930,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personnel cost - 20,054 EUR
Personnel travels and meals - 5,627 EUR
Office expenses - 935 EUR
Accommodation costs - 1,015 EUR
Materials for the events and workshops - 1,000 EUR
Food for the events - 754 EUR
Formigues Liles Coop. V. (social and participatory tools workshops and assesment on feminist approach) - 5,545 EUR

Confirmed co-funding - 10,422 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

What do you think about our project? What feelings does it generate?
What is your main concern about the project’s implementation?
Could you give us constructive opinions that will help us improve our project?
Could you provide us with some advice for the project’s success?

Project Journey

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Laia Baró-Gómez

Javier Puig

David Navarro-Miró

Idea created on April 22, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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