LIFE Project Cover Photo

Growing REsilience AgricolTure - Life

Reference: LIFE17 CCA/IT/000067 | Acronym: GREAT LIFE



Climate change, especially warmer and drier weather, negatively affects crop production and thus threatens future food supply. This threat can only be alleviated through the implementation of appropriate adaptation measures. In northern Italy, especially the Po Valley, the most significant effects are observed during summer, with higher temperatures and serious drought conditions. The most widely cultivated cereal crop in the Po Valley in this season is maize, which requires a great amount of irrigation due to its high demand for water: more than 587 000 ha were cultivated with maize in 2016 in this area, compared with nearly 230 000 ha for rice and around 36 000 ha for sorghum. In order to reduce the economic risks for the agricultural sector and the impact on natural resources, as well as guarantee the production of safe food, a change in cultivated species and agricultural techniques is needed.


The overall objective of GREAT LIFE was to implement an innovative and integrated approach, from crops to market, in order to tackle the effects of climate change on agriculture in the Po Plain in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna and in the country as a whole. GREAT LIFE planned to raise awareness about the contribution that food consumption can make to adaptation and resilience. It aimed to show that through crop substitution and the promotion of resilient food among consumers, green public procurement and cafeterias can address EU adaptation priorities in the field of agriculture and rural development. The project’s objective was to tackle the whole value chain in order to stimulate supply and demand of resilient food. In this way, the project would contribute to reaching the targets set by the 2020 Climate & Energy Package, as well as support the more efficient use of natural resources. It was also therefore expected to contribute to the application of the Water Framework Directive and the European Soil Thematic Strategy (COM (2006), while being fully in line with the objectives of the common agricultural policy.



GREAT LIFE demonstrated that it is possible to reduce water consumption by 20% and greenhouse gas (CO2emissions by 50% on farms thanks to the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and the substitution of maize with sorghum and millet.

The project team successfully tested the production of these more resilient crops on three demonstration farms (6 ha overall) in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The alternative cultivation of sorghum and millet was also replicated on farms in the Czech Republic.

A community of consumers and food sector stakeholders was created,with a total of around 600 members, to stimulate the purchase of products from crops that are more resilient to climate change. For instance, associated beneficiary Alce Nero started producing and marketing cookies made of sorghum and millet.

The project team produced recipes that were tested in the canteens of five primary schools based on ingredients such as sorghum and millet that are more environmentally sustainable.The project also organised a series of innovative events to raise awareness among consumers and public authorities of climate-resilient crops, and to promote the benefits of a more responsible approach to food consumption.

Further information can be found in the layman report (See "Read more" section).



Reference: LIFE17 CCA/IT/000067
Start Date: 01/10/2018
End Date: 31/03/2022
Total Eligible Budget: 1,353,162 €
EU Contribution: 811,229 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Alma Mater Studiorum - Universit di Bologna - Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agro Alimentari
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Via Zamboni 33, 40126, Bologna, Italia
Contact Person: Giovanni Dinelli
Email: Send Email
Website: Visit Website

LIFE Project Map



  • Sectoral adaptation (industry-services)
  • Resilient communities


  • public awareness campaign
  • food production
  • water resources management
  • irrigation
  • Agriculture
  • carbon sequestration


  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • COM(2012)673 -"A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources"
  • COM(2013)216 - EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (16.04.2013)
  • COM(2021)699 - EU Soil Strategy for 2030: Reaping the benefits of healthy soils for people, food, nature and climate (17.11.2021)
  • COM/2020/381 final. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system


Name Type
Alma Mater Studiorum - Universita di Bologna - SciencesDipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agro Alimentari Coordinator
KILOWATT SOC. COOP., Italy Participant
Municipality of Cento, Italy Participant
Alce Nero S.p.a, Italy Participant