WECF implements projects on sustainable rural development, highlighting the benefits of regional economic value chains.
Through these demonstration projects, WECF promotes examples of sustainable and organic rural development that:
provide healthier food;
improve the overall economic situation in rural areas; and
protect natural resources and ecosystems.
In the new member states, WECF the builds capacity of local authorities, local entrepreneurs and citizens organisations on integrated sustainable rural development, including sustainable agriculture, sustainable waste water and sanitation systems, sustainable solid waste management and energy efficiency and renewable energy systems.
Lessons learned from regional cooperation schemes for sustainable rural development, such as the “Unser Land” network in Germany - where farmers, bakers, butchers, NGOs, churches and supermarkets cooperate to promote 200 locally produced, sustainable products - are shared with other WECF member organisations.
WECF practical implementation projects include the Green Bridges project, where local rural communities from Poland, Germany and Ukraine cooperate to share knowledge and experience on sustainable rural production and marketing, including exchange visits of mayors and farmers from rural towns in the 3 countries starting a long term cooperation.
Diverse Apples: WECF members in Poland and Germany work with farmers on the “diverse apple” project, promoting local products made from traditional apple sorts, as a way of protecting local agro-biodiversity and protecting high-stem orchards. The project includes a mobile “diverse apple” exhibition and publication which is used at public events. Example are given of for example, the production and marketing of apple juice made of local high stem apple orchards.
GMO free regions: WECF accompanies and supports the process of implementing agro-GMO free districts within the Network UNSER LAND (WECF member), and the development and translation of guidelines for implementation in other districts/countries.
Nutrient reuse: WECF members in Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan are demonstrating re-use of nutrients from waste water and composting, as a means of closing local nutrient cycles.