The International Summer School of Agroecology – ISSAE started in 2010 and is supported since September 2015 by Erasmus+, the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport.
The modern food system is not sustainable: i) growing world population and changing diet in emerging countries lead to a huge increase in food demand; ii) the depletion of fossil fuels fosters a demand for green fuels extracted from biomass, competing with food production for land; iii) climate change threatens agricultural productivity; iv) intensive agriculture reduces ecological services and water quality; v) hunger affects a large fraction of the world population while the amount of wasted food all along the food chain has never been so high. As a consequence, several international organizations are calling for a transition to agroecology (ex: IAASTD (2009) Agriculture at a Crossroads: Synthesis Report; agassessment.org; SCAR (2011) Sustainable Food Consumption and Production in a Resource-Constrained World; ec.europa.eu/research/agriculture/; FAO).
ISSAE aims to favour the transition from intensive agriculture to agroecology in Europe by scaling-up and scaling out a concept of learning that we have been experiencing since 2010, first in Belgium and then in France. We want to implement a better-adapted pedagogy for preparing students and professionals to develop skills for the agroecological transition. Active Learning is at the centre of our approach.
The ISSAE mix Master and PhD students with professionals (teachers, developers, advisers, civil servants, farmers). The goal is to put students in contact with real working environments, develop a culture of life-long training for professionals, and attract attention to opportunities offered at EU level. Professionals will learn to work with scientists and question them. We also aim at developing skills at the interface of research and development. By strengthening cooperation between the world of education or training, and the working world we believe we will contribute to a more cohesive society.
We are committed to the European Higher Educational System that emerged after the Bologna Process. Thanks to this system, students will have the possibility to complement their education in their home country by acquiring ECTS. In addition, the partnership incorporates the objective of internationalizing educational practices. Finally, the development of a positive attitude towards EU values requires overcoming the barrier of languages. By working together on an active learning process, participants will be forced to jump this barrier.