Nefg organic

MSc Perennial Crops Field Course in Crete

MSc students with some of our Cretan hosts, the NEFG team and guests at the group’s final meal in Crete (Photo Credit Oduwole Olatunde)

From 23 May to 6 June, 26 MSc students from programmes in the Newcastle University School of Agriculture participated in a field course based in Sivas, Crete.

The field course takes place every year as part of the MSc in Organic Farming and the MSc in Sustainable Food Security.

This year, students attended lectures with Professor Carlo Leifert and Dr Nikos Volakakis at Livadopa field station, an NEFG research station based at an organic olive orchard. The course also included regular field trips to view local production systems in Crete.

This included a visit to Zacharioudakis, an organic vineyard and winery to learn about how they established different grape varieties in a semi-arid terraced system.

The view from Zacharioudakis winery

At Livadopa field station, Dr Nikos Volakakis gave students a tour of spelt trials as part of HealthyMinorCereals and showed them PhD student Enas Sufar’s chickpea trials.

Dr Nikos Volakakis in the spelt trials

Students also visited sheep and rabbit production systems in the Cretan Mountains, led by PhD student Nikos Voutzourakis, whose research contributed to the Low Input Breeds project.

Nikos Voutzourakis describes a nearby low-input sheep dairy production system while pointing to an organic system further up the hill

The final field trip was to Bianame, an organic vegetable producing, distributing and marketing company, to view their distribution centre and one of their nursery and vegetable production sites.

Students visiting the Bianame vegetable fields

During the trip, a small group of students also participated in a local 9k race and were featured in the local newspaper!

The local paper following the 9k race from Feistos to Kalamaki

Overall, it was a very successful trip, and the entire NEFG team thanks all the students and our hosts for a great 2 weeks! We’d also like to thank Peter and Juliet Kindersley of Sheepdrove Organic Farm for visiting and supporting the trip.

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