On the 10th of July 2017, the 1st RAIN meeting was organised in Belgium. Twenty-one people, most of which being farmers, attended this meeting, that was organised at ILVO in Merelbeke (Ghent).
The meeting started with a visit to an experimental agroforestry field at ILVO, where a variety trial of hazelnut trees was recently established, and where the effects are studied of combining short-rotation coppice (willow) or hazelnut trees with laying hens on free-range use, animal welfare, soil conditions and plant growth.
After the field visit, the AFINET project was presented, and each RAIN-member introduced him/herself and explained his/her interest in agroforestry as well as present agroforestry related activities. Next, an interactive brainstorm exercise was held, to identify the main bottlenecks and challenges (potential) agroforestry practitioners are faced with. The meeting was concluded with a discussion on these challenges, through which needs and priorities to focus on during the AFINET project were identified. Practicalities such as how to organise intermediate communication and exchange of information within the group, were also discussed.
More information on agroforestry activities organised in Flanders can be found here.