These workshops are means not only to engage with the stakeholders but also to create regional networks of interested stakeholders in RUSTICA products and solutions. This will potentially allow the establishment of cooperation and collaboration among interested actors in bio-based solutions even after the project ends. What is even more important is that the RUSTICA project, while offering potential solutions and products, could attract the attention of the stakeholders and put emphasis on the valorisation of agricultural waste, which largely stays on the fields, and show how this can be looped back on the fields in forms of bio-based fertilisers.
Moreover, such multi-actor networks could help RUSTICA products and solutions get closer to local needs. Hence, the RUSTICA research process could be more aligned with regional needs, increasing the RUSTICA relevance. In this regard, during the workshops, RUSTICA will present its research processes, frameworks, and results, which could be reflected upon, further modified, and validated by the stakeholders. The participation of the stakeholders will allow RUSTICA to see different facets of the problem, which without them, would have been unobservable.
So far, the first round of regional workshops in the five RUSTICA regions – Almeria, Flanders, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Pays de la Loire, Valle del Cauca – has been organized. In these workshops, future scenarios, common visions and needs, stakeholder mapping and the technical characteristics of the end-product (the bio-based fertiliser) were discussed. Taking up the results of the first round of workshops and adding the upcoming RUSTICA research processes, the second round will be organized around May/June 2022. More details of the second round of workshops will be provided in March/April 2022.