Diversity in farmers' homegardens in Eastern Tyrol (Austria)

"Homegrown - There's nothing like a homegarden!" Agro-bio-diversity in farmers-homegardens in Eastern Tyrol (Austria)

Farmers’ homegardens, their diversity of the plant species used and the associated knowledge of the garden managers are an integral part of the cultural landscape of the Lienz district of Eastern Tyrol. Scientists and scholars of the BG/BRG Lienz, together with high-school teachers of Biology, Mathematics & English, will investigate farmers ‘ homegardens, i.e., the plant inventory and the use of plants. The results will be compared to data collected from surveys conducted 20 years ago in the same gardens and will help identify transformations of the gardens and their management.

To obtain a better understanding of the local perception of the significance of these homegardens, additionally the perception of the garden managers and their neighbors on ecosystem-services delivered by the gardens will be recorded. In the course, the management techniques that adapt to extreme weather conditions and the securing of sustainable management practices will be explored. Within the scope of a complementary citizen science module the local community will be invited to collect additional data on ecosystem-services in their homegardens.

Scholars will be integrated into the entire research process with regard to their affinities and resources. In workshops they will be prepared for their cooperation. The research process, the analysis and the communication of the results will be reviewed with them. The preparation of in depth pre-scientific papers will allow particularly motivated scholars to monitor birds, insects or soil parameters in farmers’ homegardens. Complementary the project offers a gender sensitive approach and promotion of women in MINT studies.

With the integration of the project into the schools subject mathematics a highly professional quantitative analysis of the results is intended. Also with the integration into the subject English the use of a technical correct terminology will be accomplished. Communication about the research process and its results will be supported by the use of the scholars’ mobile phone cameras. Experts will teach scholars, the professional handling of video and photographic images, for the purpose of documentation supplemented by inputs on creative writing techniques. Web-sites, science blogs and science slams will provide information to the broader public.