Multifunctional Agriculture: eTOMATO project and the future of farming

Several Erasmus+ projects are trying to bridge universities and farmers in a productive dialogue, allowing them to exchange knowledge and competences.

The eTOMATO project (“Training and Orientation for Multifunctional Agriculture enTrepreneurial Opportunities”) similarly to SPARKLE has been funded by Erasmus+ and started in 2018. The project tackles the future of the agriculture sector from various points of view with a business-oriented approach, thus closely connected to SPARKLE activities and scope.

eTOMATO project intends to systematise approaches for bringing key skills to University students, traditional farmers and new entrants, turning them into Multifunctional Agriculture (MA) practitioners.  The Multifunctional Agriculture is an approach for diversifying the agricultural business opportunities through the implementation of practices based on Lean Resources Management to bolster the Rural Development.

The project sustains the collaboration of partner Universities expertise in the domains of MA and Farmers already adopting successful business models inspired by MA to create educational pathways aimed at reducing key skills fragmentation, overcoming the detachment between theoretical training learned at the University, and practical experience gained on the field.

As for SPARKLE, eTOMATO wants to fill in the divide existing between Universities and farms, thus contributing in brining innovation into a sector which is usually seen resistant to change. The challenge of both the projects is designing innovative educational paths for educating University students to take these challenges and becoming the actors of change in agriculture.

eTOMATO is an initiative of 10 partners from 4 European countries (BE, BG, IT, ES) aimed at creating an educational offer for easing the uptake of new business practices respecting the Multifunctional Agriculture (MA) framework, particularly in the domains of Social and Didactic Agriculture, Rural Tourism and Short Food Supply Chains.

The eTOMATO consortium is solid and heterogenous, being composed by:

  • 4 Universities(University of Foggia (IT), University of Granada (ES), University of Plovdiv (BG), University of Ghent (BE));
  • 4 farmsspecialized in different fields of MA (Masseria Redenta (IT); Junquera (ES); Wild Farm (BG); Gebroeders Vercammen (BL));
  • 2 companies responsible of dissemination activities (Tinada (IT)) and project management (ValueDo (IT)).

ValueDo, Italian company based in Florence which manages the coworking space 91C:,  is also the technical partner in SPARKLE project.