What changes do we see in local landscape and society, and what would we like to happen in the future? How do we ensure that the effects of these changes are just for everyone?
The European countryside is undergoing great social and natural changes, including climate change. However, the impacts of these changes affect various people differently; therefore, it is crucial to ensure they are fairly distributed.
The aim of the second phase of Just Scapes was to present our findings to the wider public and to gather the public’s opinions in order to broaden our knowledge of the current situation in the research areas. We spent a week amongst the people people in two regions of South Moravia, Slovácko and Horňácko, and a region in East Moravia, Valašsko. Together with the local municipalities and community leaders, we held five participatory workshops on issues important for the landscape and the communities in the research areas. We presented our summer field trip results to our participants (see more here: https://sustainablecz.org/2021/10/12/just-landscape-transformation-in-the-perspective-of-people-from-slovacko-moravian-slovakia-and-valassko-moravian-wallachia-regions/) and then discussed these findings with them. Each workshop took place in a different municipality and on a different day. The participants came from various sectors; there were local government members, farmers, vintners, gamekeepers, NGO members, activists, and locals.
Reflections on the outcomes: there and back again
The topics discussed with the participants were the three crucial topics that emerged from our summer interviews:
- Complex land consolidation, which fundamentally affects ownership over plots and which has to be approved by landowners for any landscape transformation;
- Land attachment and the issues of land lease;
- The role of power holders and large agricultural businesses.
Participants also mentioned agricultural subsidies and the way these, from their perspective, favour large agricultural players. This was a commonly mentioned problem during our summer field trip, but since the legislation changed at the beginning of 2022 in favour of smaller farmers it has been perceived as a less burning issue.
What is next?
The upcoming phase of the Just Scapes project is going to focus on seminars and workshops for policymakers where the insights generated by the case study will be disucced. In the final stage of the project, the second round of transformation lab workshops will take place in the case study municipalities to collectively analyse the results and discuss their implications for the Slovácko, Horňácko, and Valaško communities.