Inclusion of vulnerable groups in rural areas by environmental wareness and social entrepreneurship through mycology


About the project

Rural poverty and difficult access to education for vulnerable groups often constitute an added disadvantage of life in rural settings. The FUNGIPRENEURS project is aimed at supporting the social inclusion of vulnerable groups in rural areas through environmental awareness about the importance of fungi for the ecosystems and the marketable value of mycological resources, promoting behaviour change, green skills development and responsible and sustainable social entrepreneurship.

The project will focus on adult educators (project users) and on vulnerable groups in rural areas (project beneficiaries) by:

  • Developing the competences of adult educators dealing with project beneficiaries.
  • Producing ICT-based educational tools and methods that adult educators will use with vulnerable groups in rural areas to develop their skills and guide them to social entrepreneurship based on the use of mycological resources.
  • Testing the tools developed in real educational contexts.

Key points of the project

Project Q&A

Why fungi?

Fungi are one of the most species rich groups of organisms in Europe, with at least 75,000 species. Fungi play an essential ecological role in forest ecosystems and most European countries have produced fungal Red-Lists, with more than 5,500 macrofungi. Up to 10-20% of European macrofungi are threatened, and one main cause is unsuitable forest and farmland management. Thus, it is necessary to develop sustainable forest management strategies to improve resilience of forests, promoting conservation and environmental improvement of habitats and mycological resources.

Forest mushrooms also provide recreational services and are marketable, potentially profitable as edible, nutraceutical and medicinal products or components. In some areas, the value of mushroom resources greatly exceeds that of timber and companies have been created to process edible and medicinal fungi. Mushrooms are also a delicious dish and mushroom picking has become one important forest recreational activity in many parts of Europe.

Why vulnerable groups in rural areas?

Statistics show that people in rural areas have the highest risk of poverty or social exclusion (23,9%), affecting 32 million of Europeans according to Eurostat. Rural poverty is linked to the specific disadvantages of rural areas, and affects more women, youth, elderly, migrants, ethnic minorities, small farmers and agricultural seasonal workers.

The agricultural and farming sector faces specific challenges in this regard, including low income, lack of knowledge and entrepreneurial skills or lack of continuity in family farming. On the one hand, the need for suitable entrepreneurship support, education and training are key factors that could contribute to better employment in rural areas and, on the other, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP has been highlighted as a tool for creating new jobs, boost local economies and strengthening rural communities.

The European Green Deal is aimed at achieving climate neutrality in the EU by 2050. For this, it is essential to produce a change in people’s values, attitudes and skills, and this change can only be achieved through education. The education-based strategy is especially necessary in vulnerable communities, where alternative strategies (based on the access to innovative technologies and financial resources) are less realistic.


Project users – Adult educators
Project beneficiaries – Vulnerable groups in rural areas


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