S1. Environment
Faculty: Jonathan Minchin

We envisage a future for Farming that is local, producing diverse and stable crop yields and also capable of remediating ecological impacts.  Through this series of Seasonal Seminars at Can Valldaura Self-sufficient Labs, we combine ecological principles together with digital information systems, exploring innovative approaches to growing food to feed a growing population. We engage ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems and implement polyculture strategies that aim to increase the capacity of local farming and reduce dependence on global industrial agriculture.

The 130 hectare estate of Can Valldaura, together with its laboratories for Self Sufficiency provide a unique space and community to explore interdisciplinary approaches to agriculture. Expect to get your hands dirty, look through microscopes, plant trees and eat the crops you plant. Participants will gain a broad understanding of a variety of agro ecosystems, whilst engage in historical, technical, botanic and above all practical programs.

Whilst incorporating pre-industrial techniques with modern alternatives such as agro-ecology, participants will be introduced to novel techniques such as Aquaponics, Hydroponics, Agro-forestry and mycology. These practical workshops will cover the production of sensing devices and the use of Geographic information systems created at the the Green Fab Lab, a location for both the Fab Academy (MIT) and the Bio Academy (Harvard).

Ultimately, by putting biodiversity and ecology as an outcome for agriculture and by documenting knowledge through the use of digital information systems, these seminars explore how we move from the current model of a global mass production of industrial monocultures, to a local model of diversity of ecology and polyculture systems.