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CITIZEN-SHEEP - Civic challenges for pastoralists | Civic Europe
Community development, Social inclusion

CITIZEN-SHEEP - Civic challenges for pastoralists

"It mirrors your life, the life of a shepherd .... he drives his flock over the fields, sees the flocks, the streams, the grass; tired at evening he rests: expecting nothing more" cit.


Who is behind this?

Verdiana Morandi



Who is joining forces?

Veterinari Senza Frontiere Italia ONLUS



Idea pitch

Pastoralism is facing harsh times, as it is affected by abandonment, ageing and social disprestige, despite its well recognized socio-economic and environmental role. This initiative aims to build a network of collaboration for an expert-supported exchange of echnical advice, good practices, innovations and, where possible, of mutual aid between pastoral farmers. Using ITC and social media, the network will connect distant pastoral farms of inner and remote areas, which face similar challenges

Where will your project idea take place?

Italian Alps, Apeninnes and Sardinia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Pastoral farmers normally operate in remote areas and harsh territories, poorly connected and faraway from policy and markets centres, and are often on the move in search for natural grazing. They are always busy in taking care of their animals, which often monopolize their daylife. They face constraints in networking, common action and political representation/advocacy. These shortcomings are evident in dealing with technical matters, as well as in interfacing with policy dimensions, including with local authorities, within regional and national frameworks, and with the EU CAPolicy – whose outreach they are often excluded. As such pastoral farmers get no support from official organizations, syndicates and unions, that support more sedentary and intensive farming systems and producers.

Who are you doing it for?

This Civic Europe initiative addresses pastoral farmers – including rural youth, women and migrants – that inhabit and maintain alive and vibrant remote and harsh territories. In Italy this includes about 60.000 farms, which mostly graze sheep and goats. Reports from the field indicate that women and migrants are increasingly part of this constituency as they are increasingly engaged as entrepreneurs or shepherds. In some areas, young neo-rurals also represent an important component of the contemporary pastoral community, with important implications in terms of social innovation and civic networking. Opportunities will also be considered to network with and share experiences and lessons with neighbouring pastoral communities, including in France, Spain, Greece and Slovenia

How do you plan to get there?

This project will invest in the most effective way to connect and network pastoral farmers in mountains and islands of Italy.
An ITC platform hub will provide the opportunity to interconnect and exchange to the social media channels and tools that exist at local levels – community websites, facebook groups, local initiatives, farm profiles. This platform would also facilitate and enhance pastoralists’ capacity to engage in societal debate, civic engagement, as well as political dialogue.

ICT-based devices / groups will be established at national levels, with a view to exchange experiences and specifically get real-time, on-line technical assistance on three main domains of concern for pastoralists:
Technical advice on production practices, including agricultural and veterinarian aspects, through a tailored App that interlinks producers and technical advisors, and though which organizing on-line events that enhance upgrading, innovations and networking.
Legal advice on issues related to i) co-habiting with natural parks, predators and tourism, as well as on matters related to policy options, regulations and support schemes; ii) working conditions; iii) migrants’ citizenship rights; iv) land use – land grabbing,
Market information systems, that would help monitoring and spreading updated information, networks and opportunities that might improve income generation

What are the expected results?

Exchange of ideas and good practices, supported by experts, through the Citizen-sheep network will help connecting pastoral farmers distantly located in inner and remote areas of the country. Pastoralists that have joined the action will be stronger in pursuing common action and political representation/advocacy/lobbying, including interactions with local authorities. In addition, improved appreciation by consumers, users, and citizens and society at large of services provided by pastoralism to society as a whole, including quality animal proteins, fibres and services is expected. Such appreciation will help improving socio-economic conditions and societal integration of pastoral farmers, but also decreasing conflicts which may arise between pastoralists and non-farmers

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

A stronger engagement of pastoralists in society is pursued with the initiative, supporting them to tackle local and broader problems and to raise their voice (ie. trading, local service provisions, policy making at different levels, including CAP), enhancing active citizenship practices through improved capacities to network, pool resources and communicate. On the other hand, society will benefit from improved dialogue and negotiation attitudes. Better representation of the magnitude of the contribution of young people, women and immigrants that are increasingly involved in this profession in many areas of the country will also be achieved

Why is this idea important to you?

The team is made by people actively engaged both in Rete Appia and in Veterinari Senza Frontiere Italia. Verdiana Morandi: extensive livestock breeder in Alpine region; president of the Rete Appia. Nunzio Marcelli: longstanding sheep breeder in Anversa (Apennines), founder of Rete APPIA. Gavino Pulinas: sheep breeder in Osilo, Sardinia. Local community leader and Vice-president of the Rete Appia. Sara Di Lello: Veterinarian, over 20 years as international cooperator in African countries with strong pastoral vocation. Collaborator of IFAD funded project on pastoralism. Antonio Barsanti: Veterinarian, dealing with issues related to breeding settlements. Elena Cardini: Veterinarian in a public research institute. She provides support to pastoral farmers in Tuscany

€ 39070,-

Total budget

€ 33070,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

ICT/WEB manager - 2.000 EUR
ICT-based business accounts - 2.000 EUR
Animal health and production advisor - 8400 EUR
Social and legal advisor - 8400 EUR
Market advisor - 8400 EUR
Network meetings and thematic training - 1500 EUR
Coordination activities and thematic follow up - 6000 EUR
Administrative expenses; unplanned but subsequently needed expenses - 3070

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would appreciate people sharing similar experiences, to exchange feedback and suggestions. Please tell us how we can improve this project, what you liked and what you didn’t and if you think changes are needed.




Idea created on April 26, 2021

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