An agronomy student in SupAgro in Montpellier, I’m finishing up my engineering studies with my final internship in the Environment and Innovation Department in the Alsace Region Chamber of Agriculture.
Tell us what you do in this internship?
Working with the LIFE Alister Project, I am trying to design new cultivation systems adapted to the local production context which match the needs of the European Hamster: a calm habitat, a sufficient amount of food, and above all, a type of protection with plant cover during its active cycle which allows it to escape from its predators, which are mainly foxes and buzzards.
Initially, you begin to design new cultivation systems by attending “design workshops” with other project partners. The goal is to generate the maximum amount of ideas, such as staggering harvests, sowing seeds in a living vegetation cover, or associating several types of crops in the same agricultural field, etc. After that, we combine these ideas amongst themselves to imagine new cultivation systems with variable breakthrough levels compared to our current systems. We soon will be able to experiment some of these systems in the fields whereas some other ones will be the bases for long-term reflections.
The goal of this project isn’t to propose a “one size fits all” production scheme, but rather a group of possible systems according to agricultural activities (cultivation, dairy farming, etc.) and the production zone.
What do you like about this project?
Having the European Hamster, formerly considered as a “nuisance” and farming exist together hand in hand: this is really an ambitious project. You have to think out-of-the-box to find solutions that all the players will buy into and analyse the potential in each and every idea. You really learn a lot here!