Nowadays, more and more focus has been put on short food chains that value the position of the farmer, as well as bridge the connection between consumers and producers. This is the aim of the COCOREADO project, but also of several local initiatives spread across Europe. Most recently, Svetla Stoeva from JSI, gave us an insight into a new initiative in Bulgaria aiming to provide local healthy food products to children. Today, CONSULAI brings a not so recent but equally relevant initiative to demonstrate the range of opportunities in short food chains, as well as the impact that these initiatives can have on local communities.
Introducing PROVE – Promover e Vender (in English, Promoting and Selling) – a methodology that aims to contribute to the sale of local products, encouraging proximity relations between those who produce and those who consume as well as establishing short commercialisation circuits between small agricultural producers and consumers. Starting in 2006 in two municipalities, it has become an inter-territorial co-operation project between several key actors (sixteen Local Action Groups, producers, and consumers, but also municipalities, farmers’ organisations and various local partners) located around Portugal.
The way PROVE works is through the selling of food baskets prepared for the urban consumer, specifically families that cook one meal a day at home. They are composed exclusively of seasonal products, produced locally. Furthermore, it’s essential that all the products in the basket are produced using environmentally friendly techniques that respect good agricultural practices. The direct contact between producers and consumers allows for the sharing of information on production methods and care for the environment, regional varieties, product quality, difficulties encountered during production, customers’ wishes and motivations, among others.
This type of local commercialisation allows for rural and urban communities to come together again, encouraging solidarity between small local producers and consumers, building bonds of trust and cooperation between those who produce and those who consume.
We hope that the dissemination of these well-established initiatives will act as a steppingstone towards the implementation of fair and equitable practices in value chains, strengthening the farmer’s position and connecting rural and urban contexts.
Joana Faria Anjos – CONSULAI