Towards a sustainable agri-food future. Society - Environment - New Technologies

The two-day seminar titled "Towards a Sustainable Agri-Food Future: Society - Environment - New Technologies" was successfully concluded. 

The sustainability of the agri-food sector in the future, along with the opportunities and modern challenges related to this sector, in combination with society, the environment, and new technologies, were at the heart of the seminar organized by the Center for Agri-Food Entrepreneurship of Messinia (KAEM) at the Horizon Blu Hotel in Kalamata on May 12th and 13th.

During the event, proposals, insights, and experiences regarding the modernization and sustainability of Greek agriculture and businesses involved in the agri-food sector in our country were presented. Significant attention was given to the presentation by the representative of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, Katerina Athanasopoulou, regarding the Strategic Plan of the Common Agricultural Policy as a key driver for initiating a new agri-food development model.

In the first panel discussion, the General Director of the Captain Vassilis and Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation, Xenofon Kappas, the Director of Innovation & Impact Hub at the American Farm School, Eudokia Krystalidou, and Dimitris Petropoulos, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the University of Peloponnese, discussed the current status of research, education, and innovation in Messinia and analyzed their development prospects in the coming years.

Following that, in the panel discussion on digitalization of rural production, Nikos Tsotsolas, Associate Professor at the University of Western Attica and Co-Founder of the "KalaΘos" platform, Eleni Koutsouraki, Managing Director of Green Projects S.A., Kelly Dimitroulia from the Center for Agri-Food Entrepreneurship of Messinia, Valia Kelidou, Communications Manager of the family-owned olive mill "Kyklops S.A.," and Spyros Foundas, Professor at the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the Agricultural University of Athens, discussed smart agriculture and presented examples from all over Greece. They also discussed the benefits of implementing digital services and outlined the next steps for their integration into agricultural production in Messinia.

The first day of the seminar concluded with presentations by Associate Professor Anastasios Darra from the Department of Agriculture at the University of Peloponnese, Georgios Pavlidis, Agronomist and Sales Director at EVYP S.A., and Aglaia Orfanidou, Operations Manager at Mindspace.

The second day's proceedings began with a discussion on climate change and its impact on plant production. Elias Kalfas, Agronomist and Head of Research at Innovation & Impact Hub of the American Farm School, Apostolina Tsaltampasi, President of the Energy Community WEnCoop and President of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Greece, and George Kokkinos, a farmer and President of the board of producers of NILEAS, addressed the effects of climate change on the agri-food sector and proposed solutions to future challenges in this field.

The discussions concluded with presentations of three important programs implemented in Messinia. George Sarelakos, Head of Aegean Rebreath, discussed the underwater and coastal cleaning program, Lefteris Arapakis, General Director and Co-Founder of "Enaleia," presented the program for training fishermen in fishing tourism in Messinia, and Riggas Zafeiriou, Program Coordinator for Sustainable Agri-Food Systems at MedINA, discussed the smart certification program for preserving traditional rural landscapes. Finally, Nikos Kyriakidis, Researcher and Trainer in Alternative Tourism at Innovation & Impact Hub of the American Farm School, elaborated on the sustainable alternative tourism training program.

The seminar concluded with two workshops, one focusing on alternative tourism in Messinia and the other on smart agriculture. Participants had the opportunity to delve deeper into these two themes, presenting successful examples from all over Greece.

For more information regarding the seminar presentations and the activities of the Center for Agri-Food Entrepreneurship of Messinia, you can contact them via email at [email protected]