Meet our students of the Autumn 2018 cohort!
We offer a program for students that want to work and research how we can make agriculture in Southern Spain more regenerative (environmentally, socially and financially). During a 4 months period the students develop their own research project on La Junquera and are supervised and trained by a wide variety of local and international experts. We herby would like to introduce our Autumn 2018 cohort of students and their research projects!
Student Yanni Evers
Research Big decisions on Spanish national level, or even on a European level, have local results; they influence us all in our daily lives. Choices in the area of food, energy, transport, all are decided somewhere far from here. Big choices, made on European level on for example erosion control, influence farmers in their daily lives too; but how? To what extent do farmers 'feel Brussels' in the remote area of South East Spain? To what extent do the policies work like they are intended to work? These are the questions I am trying to solve using information on farming activities in the "Alvelal" area.
Student Katharina Burholt
Research I research an irrigation method called “Keyline” which was firstly implemented by an Australian farmer. With this method the water from precipitation, which is falling on the field, is diverted almost parallel to the contour lines and in this way enables the water to flow from the wet valleys to the dry ridges and to the areas that should be irrigated. By increasing the waterway from the falling point till the water way in the valley, rainwater is slowed down and causes less erosion to the soil. In fact, it is expected that the organic matter layer of the soil is even building up after only a short time period which would lead to a higher infiltration rate into the soil and therefore makes water accessible to the plants for a longer time. It in a nutshell the soil properties will increase for farming and the costs for irrigation can be decreased per area.
Student Paul Rijskamp
Research My name is Paul and I am a marine biologist stranded in the desert. Since the ocean is not really next door I focus my research here in Spain on smaller water bodies, namely ponds. Every single pond contains more life than we can imagine. Tiny alien-like creatures with most remarkable shapes dwell in these habitats. The presence of certain species can be linked to the quality of the water. Dragonflies, for example, are rather picky and only lay their eggs in water of high quality. Furthermore, animals and plants can affect the state of the pond and promote or prohibit clear water. I will use animals as water quality indicators and will research if the introduction of certain plants can influence the development of healthy ecosystems in newly dug ponds.
Student Laura Bello
Research There is a leader in every chair: everyone holds valuable knowledge and experiences regarding the improvement of agro-ecological farming practices. My research takes a theoretical approach on how to tap into this abundance, by studying mechanisms for co-creation of agro-ecological knowledge.What makes such processes effective? And which conditions should be met for these processes to be effective? Those are the main questions I intend to address by specifically focusing on the co-creation of knowledge between scientists and farmers within the AlVelAl territory.
Student Jeroen Poelert
Research The upcoming 3,5 months I will research the main pond on the sustainable la Junquera farm. The research will be focused on how the pond and its function can be secured for the future with regard to the effects of climate change in this arid region. For the execution I will analyse the climate trends of the last- and upcoming years. I will determine the current condition and functions of the pond. This research will result in a technical report including an advice for the farm.
Student Jesse Frissel & Rick Kappen
Research We are two Dutch students who came to Spain to do research on holistic grazing and the effects on soil quality. Holistic grazing is a way of grazing in which the cattle eats on different pastures of the farm throughout the year. In the time we are here we will create a system that is both efficient and best for the soil. Other than that, we will set up a monitoring plan to continue our grazing system after we go back to the Netherlands. If the system we design works, rainwater will hopefully infiltrate better and the soil will become more fertile, which results in a more diverse vegetation.
Student Mara van den Berg
Research I am doing an experiment with different types of ground-cover in the pistachio orchard at La Junquera. A mix of Yeros, Veza, Cebada and Mustaza will grow along natural occurring vegetation between the pistachio trees. This permanent ground-cover could be an important measure in preventing evaporation of water from the soil. Moreover, the extra biomass in and above the ground will support life in the soil and the build up of organic matter, witch will make the soil more fertile. On top of that the flowers will attract pollinating insects and give beauty to the scene!