Graduation of CLUSTER trainees in Catalonia: Empowering women and youth in Organic Farming for sustainable employment

Alexis Jensen

The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), Lead Beneficiary of CLUSTER, celebrated the graduation of participants from the Organic Farming On-site Training, a part of the CLUSTER initiative aimed at fostering the inclusion of women and youth in the Catalan marketplace through the acquisition of skills in the sustainability sector.

This comprehensive course took place between 15th and 19th May 2023 in Barcelona and its surrounding areas. Participants had the opportunity to engage in field trips to various ecological farms and therapeutic gardens, which provided specialized training in these areas, enabling CLUSTER beneficiaries to enhance their sustainability skills.

Prior to the on-site training, students had already completed an online course in organic farming through the CLUSTER E-learning Platform, equipping them with the necessary knowledge to fully engage with trainers and the practical work showcased during the on-site sessions.

Throughout the training program, significant learning experiences were offered to the participants:

On the first day, students received training in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and had the opportunity to develop their own strategies, which they later presented to a special guest, Dr. Patricia Martí Puig, Founder and CEO of Oceanogami. Dr. Martí Puig attended the session to share insights into her organization's CSR initiatives, providing valuable feedback and guidance to the students.

The second day involved a visit to the urban farm of Fundació Ferré Sustainability in Barcelona, where participants discovered how ecological agriculture can be successfully implemented in an urban environment.

On the third day, CLUSTER beneficiaries explored the role of biodiversity in organic farming through Associació L'Era and EcoRegió.

The fourth day featured visits to the organic farm of Petit Bané in Barcelona, where participants learned about product commercialization derived from organic farming. They also visited the AbonoKm0 and Connect Hort plants, gaining insights into compost creation and its sustainable application in farming practices.

On the fifth and last day, CLUSTER students first visited the therapeutic garden of the Fundación Asociación Bienestar y Desarrollo where they learned about cultivating plants and flowers for health-related purposes.

The next stop was at St. Paul's School in Barcelona, where students learned about the production and service of organic food in a high-volume kitchen setting. They had the opportunity to observe and understand the processes involved in preparing and serving ecological food at scale.

Later, students returned to Fundació Ferrer Sustainability, where they were awarded their diplomas as recognition for their hard work and collaboration throughout the week. The students and trainers had fruitful discussions about the lessons learned and shared their impressions of the training. They expressed how this comprehensive program in organic farming will greatly contribute to their employment prospects in this field.

Equipped with the newly acquired skills from this training, students are now well-prepared to pursue new positions and projects within the Green and Sustainability sector!

Out of these onsite trainees, the top 10 students from the course will have the opportunity to apply for remunerated traineeships in the sector in Catalonia.