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About the Author: Ana Casillas

Innovation Consultant - Ana holds a B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry, which she completed in the Bioremediation department of Queen’s University (Kingston – CA) through the TASSEP Program, and a M.Sc. degree in Applied Plant Biology, both from the Complutense University of Madrid. She started her professional career developing projects in BIOPLAT (the Spanish Technology and Innovation Platform ‘Biomass for the Bioeconomy’) and continued as a Bioeconomy Advisor in the bioeconomy area of the Andalusian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development. Ana defines herself as a defender of the environment and critical thinking.

Empowering Rural Innovators: Innovarum’s Impact in Valderrobres

In the heart of rural Spain, where tradition meets innovation, Innovarum recently organized a dynamic series of events aimed at catalyzing change and fostering awareness in the bioeconomy sector within the framework of the MainstreamBIO project. Over the course of two days, on the 4th and 5th of May, Innovarum made a significant impact at the Valderrobres Livestock and Commercial Fair, followed by a capacity-building workshop on the 6th of May. These events were not just about showcasing project progress; they were about empowering individuals and communities to embrace the future of sustainable living.

Raising Awareness at the Valderrobres Livestock and Commercial Fair

Innovarum’s presence at the fair aimed to showcase the transformative potential of the bioeconomy and highlight the innovative work being carried out within the MainstreamBIO project. Fair attendees were welcomed with open arms and engaged in captivating conversations. Through a series of short talks, Innovarum’s experts addressed a spectrum of crucial topics to understand the bioeconomy. From an introduction to bioeconomy principles to exploring small-scale bio-based solutions for primary producers, the discussions were both informative and inspiring. Participants also delved into nutrient recycling solutions, circular bioeconomy opportunities, and innovative business models tailored for rural and coastal regions. The key takeaway for attendees was a newfound appreciation for the role of the bioeconomy in driving environmental sustainability and economic growth.

 

In parallel to participating in bioeconomy awareness events such as the stand at the Valderrobres fair, the MainstreamBIO project organized a series of educational webinars on the bioeconomy. Innovarum also participated online in these webinars, giving a short talk on rural bioeconomy business models on May 8th and providing information on European Commission funding options for rural bioeconomy on May 16th (you can access the presentation here).

Capacity Building in Valderrobres: Unlocking the Power of the MainstreamBIO Online Toolkit

Building on the momentum of the fair, Innovarum led a workshop focusing on Wool Valorization, co-organized with the AgriFoodTe project. This workshop served as a platform for attendees to delve deeper into the tools and resources available through the project. The highlight of the workshop was the presentation of the MainstreamBIO online toolkit through an interactive session, allowing participants to explore the toolkit’s functionalities firsthand. From practical tools for primary producers to innovative solutions driving bioeconomy development, the toolkit showcased a wealth of resources aimed at empowering rural innovators.

 

The reception was very positive. However, a critical need was revealed: greater accessibility. Many attendees were unaware of the multitude of available tools, highlighting the importance of making existing knowledge more accessible to people in order to bridge the gap between innovation and implementation. The event served as a testament to the growing momentum behind bioeconomy initiatives in rural communities.

Looking to the Future: There is Hope for Rural Innovation

As the echoes of these events fade, the impact reverberates far beyond the fairgrounds and workshop halls. Innovarum’s commitment to empowering rural innovators and driving sustainable change is essential in this ever-evolving world. Looking ahead, the path is clear: through education, awareness, and collaboration, we can unlock the full potential of the bioeconomy.

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