This is an archived version of
ACT for a sustainable and just food system! | Civic Europe
Environment and sustainability

ACT for a sustainable and just food system!

Empowering citizens to organize around re-localizing their food system as a practice of participative democracy and food justice, with direct and long-term benefits.


Who is behind this?

Mihaela Vetan

ASAT - Asociația pentru Susținerea Agriculturii Țărănești


Who is joining forces?

CRIES- The Centre of Resources for Ethical and Solidarity Initiatives - organisation involved in promoting social solidarity economy and participative democracy.


ECOSENS - organisation involved in promoting responsible consumption.


Slow-Food Cluj Transilvania - is involved in promoting sustainable food


CRIES- would support our educational program in schools. ECOSENS would be our partner in organising public events. Slow-Food Cluj will sustain our communication among producers and consumers.


Idea pitch

ASAT is a solution for achieving local food, preparing citizens to be active in designing a sustainable and just food system. Taking responsibility, ensuring participation, transparency and solidarity are core values for our approach. More than 20 producers and 500 consumers will be trained about ASAT and will be supported to implement this democratic model in 5 different cities. 100 citizens will be empowered to address local authorities to develop public policies for sustainable food systems.

Where will your project idea take place?

5 cities in Romania (Timișoara, Bucharest, Cluj, Sibiu, Odorheiu-Secuiesc) and rural areas around.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The one word that would best summarize the societal change that we are seeing around us is “disconnect”. As wealth increases in urban areas, also social and economic inequality rise, with Romania being one of the most unequal EU members. High-income people concentrate in cities, disconnected from the larger parts of society that live on the brim of poverty or even in extreme poverty. A staggering 20 % of Romanians have chosen to disconnect and emigrate, and as a consequence, rural areas are being abandoned, disabling small farmers’ livelihoods and local food production. High rates of food imports of a low quality are endangering the country’s food sovereignty, and people’s health, especially lower income people. The all powerful retail sector disconnects food producers from consumers.

Who are you doing it for?

- 20 small farmers will be supported to initiate ASAT partnerships as a democratic solidarity-economy model;
- 500 consumers (including vulnerable and low-income persons) will be supported to initiate local partnerships in 5 cities (see above). Out of them 100 persons (selected to represent diverse voices) will be trained to approach local authorities, get involved and promote resilient, just food systems in their areas.
- 150 students will be trained about alternative, inclusive and resilient food systems, managed in a democratic manner;
- 15 representatives of local authorities will be trained about sustainable local food policies and food justice.
- 50 journalists and influencers will be trained on how the current global food system impacts the 5 regions, and ASAT's approach.

How do you plan to get there?

1. Promoting CSA as a democratic solution for access to agroecological food:
1.1. Workshops: 20 small farmers and 500 consumers regarding ASAT model;
1.2. Training events: 150 students and 50 media people regarding sustainable and democratic food systems.
2. Promoting active roles for local public authorities in ensuring food sovereignty:
2.1. Analysis of different models for the role of local authorities in promoting sustainable food policies;
2.2. Recorded Webinar :15 representatives of local authorities on sustainable local food policies;
2.3. Organize and empower: 100 citizens to engage with local authorities to make systemic changes in food policy.
3. Promoting access to healthy food for all:
3.1.Piloting a methodology for involving low-income people in ASAT partnership.

What are the expected results?

Citizens in the project regions become aware of the complex issues generated by an unfair and unsustainable food system. They will get organized to start solidarity partnerships with local food producers, and design how to tackle food injustice and make good food available more widely. They become empowered to demand sustainable and just local food policies and get involved in designing them. Small-scale food producers realize the livelihood potential of their work and agroecological methods of production. Both consumers and producers will be enabled to make decisions together regarding their own partnership as a political statement towards the relocalized and just food systems of the future. Local officials will consult the community and implement local and just food policies.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

ASAT promotes a democratic model, based on informed and organized citizens, who take responsibility to create local food systems. ASAT facilitates the connection between rural and urban areas, between consumers and local producers, educating and empowering all of them.
In ASAT, the producers and consumers plan together the production and the budget. They share information and experience, decision processes, and resources.
Collaboration in a local food system generates positive societal outcomes like non-violence, empathy, trust, self-confidence, civic involvement and active democratic participation.
We want to enable communities to decide and design how their local food systems will look, especially in a post-pandemic context, by promoting solidarity, inclusivity, and food justice.

Why is this idea important to you?

ASAT is a civic initiative that has been growing for years. It is mature and the cumulative experience with the partner organizations is exhaustive. Beyond a certain size, the growth of the existing user base, especially starting or helping young CSA communities reach self-sustainability must be stimulated by hiring specialized resources (facilitators) who can ensure achieving these goals.
The opportunity we see here is also spurred by the global meltdown of logistic, proving the terrible vulnerability of food systems which are not people-centered. Neglecting local resilience in face of disasters, not giving people a seat at the table, pandemics, coercive measures, political and economic agendas, climate crises, all demand a focus on fairness and inclusivity in food relations.

€ 50500,-

Total budget

€ 49500,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Human resources (4 facilitators will be employed): 43.800 euro;
Transport and accommodation: 2.000 euro;
Rental and other costs to organize educational events: 1000 euro;
Graphics of printed materials and video-making: 2.500 euro;
Other services (financial management): 1200 euro

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We are very interested to find information on public authorities from Central and Eastern Europe which implement local policies for sustainable food system. Also everything food justice-related. Thanks!





Brindusa Birhala

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

Write comment