In Loco Association
Tired of watching the global food supply chains dictate what to eat and aware of the huge impact that food and transportation have on Portugal's ecological footprint, a non governmental organization decided to mobilize key-actors in the Algarve region, in order to work on an alternative model for food supply. Farmers, social services and local authorities will be challenged to take a critical look at current systems and to co-create a new model for social feeding, supplied by local production.
It will take place in rural Algarve (South Portugal) in the sparsely populated inlands.
The main challenges are lack of participation, co-decision, bringing consumers and producers together to debate about supply chains and local food systems, namely those that bring farmers and consumers to the discussion; leverage assets and resources at every stage of the supply chain to make food systems change locally; developed skills to support a local food system expansion; building a local supply network of local products in order to contribute to develop sustainable models; raise local authorities and partners on issues like local production, food sustainability, primary sector dynamization and citizens’ participation; raise consumers confidence in local production and local farmers confidence regarding their future activities; options to local products commercialization.
Through its methodology it will promote spaces that highlight participation and engagement, where different local actors will be involved in order to discuss different perspectives towards the issues they have to deal with; generate co-constructed ideas about the territories’ needs and potentialities; contribute to a collaborative model of a locally based food system; understand issues regarding current chain food supply and its impacts, as well as the importance of local production. A multidisciplinary approach will allow target groups to be actively involved in the process, will promote bottom-up decision-making spaces and empower target groups to promote changes at local level, which will contribute to territories sustainability.
In order to discuss and implement a model of local food supply, we’ll need to involve different target groups, namely local farmers, canteens staff, local authorities like municipalities and schools, staff from social services and decision makers. Each participant will bring different perspectives due to its position in the food supplying chain, its purchasing power, its level of compromise and citizen participation, its representation, and also its motivation. We intend to promote sharing spaces where everyone can understand its role in the food supplying chain and the importance of adopting an active part in local food supplying issues, realizing the advantage there is in assuming this issues collectively in order to find satisfactory solutions.
We will use participative investigation-action, which comprehends different phases: researching, planning, taking action, evaluating and building collective knowledge. This approach is deeply engaged with participation. It generates co-creation and co-decision spaces deeply rooted in the territory’s reality, needs and potentialities. Some main steps for implementation: mobilization of key target groups, identification and exchange of good practices in supplying cantines with local food production; training courses to inform and to raise awareness about the impacts of this issue on enhancing local production; focus-Groups and other public meetings to establish a territorial diagnosis and, in an advanced phase, co-create a model to supply canteens with local food production.
A year from now we will have a high range of local actors and authorities aware about the importance of local production as a mean to guarantee social, cultural and economical development at local and regional level; low environmental footprints; fresh/tasty food and nutritionally balanced meals. We’ll also have ii) a participative diagnosis about territory’s reality and capacity to self-provisioning social feeding; iii) a model to supply canteens with local food production that can be implemented by local authorities; iv) key target groups aware and mobilized to implement the model in their own organizations; v) local producers in articulation with schools, town halls and public social services, ready to increase their production in order to answer the increased demand.
In the last few years we have seen that processes of co-decision making, namely those that generate spaces for public discussion about territorial issues, are essential. Our project idea, due to its methodological approach, will contribute to develop personal, social and citizenship skills; allow different perspectives about the discussed issues; put different key-actors in contact (which contributes to stereotypes deconstruction); give voice to those that are not listen; make decision makers aware that different outcomes and results, often more adjusted to people’s needs, come from co-decision spaces; contribute to local development. These is essential to strengthen democracy principles, not just in Europe but also at the national and local level.
The importance of this idea relies in the fact that it is the first phase of a process that can change local production (by increasing it), and local social feeding (by providing fresh, quality and locally based ingredients, in order to guarantee healthier and tasty meals in schools and social equipments). Besides contributing to increase health, this will bring economic growth to the region, sustainability to small farmers, and the maintenance of agricultural activities, landscapes and our cultural food heritage. It is completely aligned with our vision of a participative, solidary and sustainable world, where local development is a process of permanent education, civic participation and solidarity, that tries to fulfill today's needs without compromising futures’ sustainability.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Staff Costs 28415 EUR; Licensed Accountant 855 EUR; Office Expenses 1700 EUR; Travel and Accommodation 6500 EUR; Costs with Events 2030 EUR; Design and Communication 4500 EUR; Consultants 3000 EUR; Trainers 3000 EUR.
We are interested in receiving feedback if there are any similar inspiring ideas regarding applying participative approaches to promote local food systems, or even just about local production and sustainability. We are open to everything that adds different points of view on these issues.