About the Experimental Platform for Agroecology in Hansbeke
The Experimental Platform for Agroecology in Hansbeke (PPAE Hansbeke) is a collaboration between ILVO, organic farmer Felix de Bousies (PHAE farm) and agricultural consultant and researcher Alain Peeters (RHEA). Together they generate and share expertise on the application of agroecological principles in practice.
- conducts research on agroecological techniques in a farm context. The effect of these techniques on soil fertility and crop yield will be monitored without losing sight of the revenue model.
- aims at optimizing agroecological techniques based on scientific observations in practical situations.
- seeks to contribute to the development and dissemination of new and existing knowledge on agroecological applications and as a result stimulate the implementation of these applications.
Once a year, the initiators put their wish list together and jointly decide which research program will be carried out on which plots of land of the 60 ha farm of Felix de Bousies in the coming year.
For PHAE, it is important that the accumulation of knowledge is also in function of the progress that the farm wants to make in terms of soil quality, crop performance, diversification and product valorization. Scientific experimentation and monitoring should not interfere with their business operations and strategy.
RHEA brings in research opportunities that fit the business context and that answer knowledge gaps for further application of agroecological principles to make agriculture more sustainable.
ILVO seeks to frame the research largely within European and nationally funded research projects.
The three initiators have an open culture. The collaboration network can be expanded ad hoc case-by-case.
Research is done in a living lab approach: multiple stakeholders and researchers can be involved. Connection with the network of existing living labs active in the agro-food sector is obvious.