Agroecology researchers shine at One Health Fair in Brussels

Monday 18 December 2023

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In response to the escalating threat of climate change, the UK and Europe are taking decisive action by actively investing in projects and initiatives geared towards the development of sustainable technologies, the mitigation of climate impacts, and the advancement of climate science.

Among these endeavours was the One Health Fair, a collaborative effort of 15 institutions that took place last month, which served as a platform to showcase research in animal, plant and human health within the context of climate change as well as the collective efforts of the UK’s research and innovation ecosystem to support the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) One Health Initiative.

The WHO initiative seeks to mitigate health emergencies, reimagine how the environment and urbanised ecosystems can contribute to health improvements and reduce the risks and impact of future emerging diseases, especially those with endemic and pandemic potential.

Hosted by the UK Mission to the EU at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Brussels, Dr Lucy Aphramor and Dr Margi Lennartsson Turner from Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) held a series of interactive activities to demonstrate how engagement in agroecology (ecological principles applied to agricultural systems) can foster a comprehensive understanding of the health of people, animals, and plants as an interconnected ecosystem.

The community-focussed engagement of CAWR’s research piqued the interest of the UK Mission to the EU, responsible for articulating and promoting the UK’s interests to EU member states and institution.

CAWR’s activities included identifying and selecting vegetable seeds suitable for gardens and community spaces, a virtual compost bin game focussed on waste reduction and nutrient recycling and a “which is the healthiest milk” quiz that aimed to challenge conventional knowledge-making processes surrounding food, human, animal, and planetary health.

The One Health Fair attracted over 150 participants, including representatives from EU institutions, government officials, non-profit organisations, businesses, and European networks.

Our presence at the One Health Fair reflects our commitment to forging a sustainable future. By showcasing our “soil to food to soil” research, we illuminate the interconnected health of animal plants and people and inspire hope for solutions.

Amidst the challenges posed by our changing climate, CAWR’s collective efforts sow the seeds for positive transformation to a healthier and more equitable tomorrow.

Dr Lucy Aphramor, Associate Professor at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University

Following the UK re-joining Horizon Europe, CAWR’s involvement in the One Health Fair exhibits Coventry University's dynamism, innovation, and engagement at a European level.

It sets the stage for further collaboration, with CAWR anticipating participation in the Climate Health event at COP28 in March 2024, providing additional opportunities to engage with the UK Mission to the EU and contribute to global conversations surrounding sustainable health initiatives.

Find out more about CAWR and the One Health Fair.