Beyond half way: a decisive phase for StarTree
Photos: Sarah Adams
The StarTree project is at the stage where it is vital to reflect on what has been achieved so far and what is still to be attained before the end of the project. Crucial next steps will focus on dissemination activities, including scientific publications and a broad range of StarTree dissemination products. Brainstorming sessions among Consortium members over the course of the 6th General Assembly, held in Joensuu, Finland, from 11 – 13 May, generated many ideas and questions to be followed up in the next months.
There is a wealth of new information and spin-off projects arising from the Action Research (AR) which is being carried out in 6 regions in 5 countries. Partners shared experiences on their work on bees, bluebells, mushrooms, lichens and black cherry, with research including inventory tools, medicinal benefits, apps, branding, label certification, online directories, business planning, legislation and picking rules. Synergies were identified and challenges teased out to find new solutions.
There was clear cross-over with the work being done in the innovation work package and the first morning's animated AR session had a natural follow up in the afternoon's facilitated workshop on innovation planning. Next steps here are to develop an innovation support tool directed towards practice. Generic value from findings and experiences of regional activities, including the In-Depth Case Studies (IDCS) as well as the AR, will feed into the process.
A further imminent action is the forthcoming Delphi survey, which will inform key stakeholders on StarTree results, test the results obtained so far on national trends and the Supply Chain survey, analyse the current economic situation and involve experts in formulating new scenarios linked to NWFP.
StarTree is also now testing the household survey which invites the general public to share their experience and habits concerning NWFPs. At the pilot phase, the questionnaire has been sent to a small test group, comprising of a mix of experts and lay people. These testers are asked to cascade the survey to their own contacts so a broader spread of responses is obtained. The questionnaire will later be disseminated on a much wider scale with the results a fascinating insight into the behaviour and habits of people across Europe and how they relate to NWPS from the forest to the shops.
Further items on the meeting agenda included essential time for individual and group discussions on the various tasks carried out in the work packages and presentations on the StarTree WIKI database and a Marketing Training Course for forest owners.
The StarTree partner fair was back, with stands and presentations by WRL, INFRO, INIA, EFI and LUKE, Additionally, an exhibition of posters prepared by Consortium partners was displayed for the duration of the meeting in the lobby of Metla House, the meeting venue. Around 20 posters included findings from the Action Research, In-depth Case Studies, Supply Chain Survey, Market Training Course, Regional Scale Analysis and Innovative Case Studies.
A regular staple of the StarTree GA, the field trip and Knowledge Exchange Event, took in visits to Lehmo birch plantation, Heinävaara forest, Parppeinpirtti for the market place and the Hermanni winery, before winding up with a very pleasant sauna and dinner at Vainoniemi Villa, hosted by the Regional Council of North Karelia.
StarTree Partner Fair
Regional Stakeholder Group reflections