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Supporting small farms with innovation

The EU project GUARDIANS focuses on understanding the challenges facing small and medium-sized farms, and developing innovative digital solutions that can bridge the technological gap between small and large farms.

Small and medium-sized farms and agricultural structures in rural areas are the key to sustainable food production, including more organic farming models, regenerative agriculture, natural grazing and the promotion of pollinators.

GUARDIANS will develop cost-effective digital solutions to strengthen the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of this type of agriculture. Nine different technologies, combining software and hardware, will be adapted and tested on a total of 27 small and medium-sized farms and farm structures. And over the course of the project, the results will be replicated on up to 95 farms across Europe.

IVL is focusing on two parts of the project: analysing pathways towards a more sustainable, productive and resilient agricultural system, and analysing biodiversity using environmental DNA. The latter is a promising technology for quickly and easily assessing biodiversity both in the landscape and in soils, thus providing a picture of soil health.

IVL is also responsible for the Swedish test bed in the project where, in addition to environmental DNA, a drone to scare away wildlife from agricultural land is being tested by the company FLOX Robotics. Wildlife accounts for major crop losses in agriculture every year.

Project facts

  • GUARDIANS Smart solutions to empower small- and medium- sized farms as guardians of their territories
  • Project partners: CTIC, Art 21, NOFIMA, CZU, ITACyL, RINA, SERIDA, Campoastur Farmers, FLOX, Shine2Europe, ICONS, Links, ZD Kvetna, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Smact Scpa, CRPISUERGA Farmers, CLAS SAT Farmers, Naturbeteskött i Sverige, CAPSA, M.I.A.C Scpa, Carbon Harvesters, PEDAL Consulting
  • Budget: EUR 4,997,500
  • Financing body: European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme, Grant Agreement no. 101084468
  • Project homepage
  • Period: 2023 - 2027


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Contributes to the UN Global Goals

  • 12. Responsible consumtion and production
  • 15. Life on land

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