In the Mediterranean area there are plenty of small-scale farms due to the land distribution by legacy and to geographical aspects characterized by mountainous areas. Many entrepreneurs have seen medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), known as well as herbs, as an alternative crop to be implemented in these areas where traditional ones (cereal, vineyard, olive trees…) have no place because they are not profitable. Also people escaping from urban areas due the economic crisis see an opportunity in this.
But then they face to the reality: the small productions are not enough to bulk-selling to wholesalers, and decide to elaborateproducts made of herbs to sell directly to consumer. So they have to deal with different aspects (processing, safety aspects, norms and procedures, marketing, etc.) that go far beyond those simply producing herbs (cultivating and raw material transformation).
Even more, most of them have not the capacity to invest in expensive industrial equipments, so they focus in producing in a high quality and traditional way, becoming herbal craftsmen. But there no exists specific legal regulation for this profession, so no specialised training is addressed for this craftsmanship.
The main objective of HERBARTIS project is to achieve the professional development of adult learners by developing useful tools and methods, improving the offer of high quality learning opportunities, and validating the non-formal learning and career guidance.
For this reason its specific objective is to provide educators with all the competences and skills needed to deliver high quality services and to develop training tools addressed to adult learners from the primary agricultural production to achieve professional skills’ recognition of craft processing of aromatic and medicinal plants for obtaining high quality products.
To reach the objectives the methodology is based in knowing deeply the herbs craft’s production sector needs, the existing training, designing a new curricula and the syllabus of a blended course (virtual/face-to-face), developing a high quality learning material according to technical and legal requirements and implementing a useful, practical and reachable training to adult learners using ICT tools and transnational mobilities, to enhance the peer-learning and the contact with existing businesses.
So, 4 blended courses on herbal craft’s production will be implemented, one per country. Each course will have an on-line course, face-to-face practical workshops and virtual networking activities. These courses will be complemented with transnational training activities (one per country) where a technical seminar, networking workshops and professional visits to sector’s companies will take place.
Several intellectual outputs are previewed:
- Guidelines of training methodologies and policy recommendations for qualification recognition of herbal craft’s production (book and reports).
- Syllabus of a blended course on herbal craft’s production
- Training materials on herbal craft’s production (course texts, training videos, seminars’ proceedings, herbal companies’ reports, networking conclusions).
This project will allow participating partners’ staff improving their teaching skills on MAPs processing and find a common workspace to strengthen their collaboration, enhancing the knowledge chain, technology transfer and networking with MAPs sector stakeholders. Adult learners participating in blended courses will have the opportunity to improve multilingualism, technical, digital and social skills, and to interact with other learners and realities in the blended transnational mobilities. Other MAPs sector stakeholders (producers, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, companies, students) and education providers will be able to access to open educational resources that will improve their knowledge and training opportunities. Finally, the guidelines provided by the project will be useful to influence education, agriculture, industry and business’ decision makers about the sector requirements and training needs, and strengthen the network with MAPs sector stakeholders and professional associations from other countries, in order to address to similar problems and jointly find solutions and driving specifications proposals to policy makers.