Since 2014 there has been a partnership between the University of Applied Sciences of Bochum, the University of Cordoba and the University of Seville, the National Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, the Ecovillage “Los Portales” and two Andalusian olive growers as Enclave de Oliva with their families interested in science and education for sustainable development.
The focus is on the cultivation of sustainable olive oil and on raising awareness of organic and regenerative agriculture. Within this olive oil project, which in the meantime is regularly anchored in the studies of sustainable development/applied sustainability projects, we want to concentrate on exchange and dialogue between students, teachers, olive oil consumers and producers in Spain. The objective of the students is to experiment and learn about sustainability in its real application, using the example of the sustainable production and consumption (SDG 12) of olive oil in Andalusia as an example.
Year after year, in October/November, a new harvest of olives and the production of high quality oil is planned. Since the year of exploitation is structured according to different activities, there are also certain rhythms in the olive oil project, but there is always potential for new ideas and further development. Students are encouraged to explore in a practical and self-determined way the problems they encounter in everyday life and in relation to the theme of our project, and to develop them in interdisciplinary teams of university members and external Andalusians. Through own agile organisation and constant critical reflection, practical solutions can be tested (e.g. in personal feedback with producers through online interviews, or during on-site summer excursions/schools) and finally implemented. Controlling the results and formulating new milestones based on them is part of all phases of the process.
Some examples of topics developed in the project may be :
- Lack of awareness about sustainable and regenerative agriculture in Germany and southern Spain.
- Operate the olive oil sales process in solidarity and anchor it in the long term (also develop local business models).
- Communicate findings from past phases of the project to the next generations of projects (project documentation and communication).
- Development of long-term communication strategies (between producers and consumers, the project consortium and also with critical voices) and interdisciplinary research themes.
- Support and strengthen local farmer partners through scientific exchanges, regular visits and the creation of markets for common ideas.