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First step of CoP in LUCCA RR11

“The food community and agro-biodiversity of Garfagnana”, in Tuscany, is a project managed by the Union of Municipalities, financed under the Rural Development Program of the Tuscany Region (measure 10.2), involving University of Pisa as well.

It aims to improve the food system from the enhancement of local productions, with particular attention to the conservation of agro-food biodiversity and ecosystems. The aim is to stimulate and guarantee at the local level a harmonious, economic, cultural, social and environmental development that is respectful of natural equilibrium. The Community of Food aims to achieve this by trying to fortify and put into practice some of the already-initiated, short-selling, direct sales, purchasing and identity-consuming pathways, according to a strategic vision that can locally be able to bring the various actors together on a common view that inevitably regards the issues of food security, food ethics (understood as tradition, respect for people, and connection with nature) and food sovereignty. The Community is open to all those who, in varying degrees, feel close to these issues, from producers to trade associations, from economic operators to free citizens, with the aim of building a local partnership network that leads to the development of concrete actions .

The meeting that we took part in was conducted in Sillico (Garfagnana) in July 2017 and it was focussed  on  the role of small farmers within the food system and the environment of Garfagnana. The event was organized as a focus group  aimed at improving and creating paths for the realization of a local food system as community and economic development in the territory. For this reason, important institutions of the area and actors operating in agriculture and related activities in the province of Lucca were involved: small farmers, small food businesses, processors, retailers, agricultural organizations, school representatives, consumers’ cooperatives, producers’ cooperatives, solidarity purchasing groups.

It was an important opportunity for comparison and reciprocal exchange of information, useful to participants and institutions, for us as well, that confirmed the importance of making networks: a restaurateur, for example, wishful to offer dishes of local red beans, did not know about the production conducted by custodian farmers in Garfagnana. The meeting allowed us to confirm the potential of this territory, conveying the thought that if the community is able to collaborate and share its own point of strengths, especially their rich culture, wonderful landscapes, local products and food peculiarities, will successfully overcome challenges and constraints. This points out the importance of communicating and sharing information as fundamental basis for the growth and the development of a given context.

The Community of Food of Garfagnana offers a concrete case of experimentation and elaboration for the creation of a model that can be replicated in other economies and realities; this project is also the starting point for the realization of a community of practice in the province of Lucca.

Comments

Thanks, Lucia, for sharing. Great there are already on-going initiatives with which SALSA can link. Even if small farms is not their central focus, it's our opportunity to raise awareness and bring forward many issues relevant for small farms. Since when the Community of Food is existing? Was there something in place before the Region of Tuscany provided financing to the food community project? Is it a network or a more formal organisation? How did you get in contact with the commuity? As the university of Pisa is involved in the project, I guess you have quite regular commnication and joint activities with other partners – what are these?

Dear Lucia

Thank you for sharing this experiencie and as Sandra Says to link with SALSA.

It recommend us to find in Cape Verde some other experiences to share Salsa project and permit get more information about food systems

regards

Arlindo

Hi and thanks for your replies! I'm going to add some information about the constitution of the Community of Food and Agro-Biodiversity of Garfagnana hoping to meet the questions asked by Sandra. The community is not officially set up but it will be formalized as an association by the end of this year (as fixed in the design lines of the project); at the moment it can be considered as an informal network and partnership, within which some farmers have spontaneously established commercial or collaborative relationships. Our department was involved through a convention with the Union of Municipalities, in order to provide a scientific supervision during the realization of a Manual of Practices. In fact, the experience of the Community of Garfagnana is to be considered as a pilot project that will ultimately lead to the drafting of a manual of practices for the creation of potential communities of food elsewhere. Actually, that territory has already experimented a great work of animation and involvement of farmers (especially hobbyists) focused on the conservation of local germoplasm over the last 15 years. The starting point of the Community of food is the existing network of custodian farmers and the local germplasm bank. At first the "Montana Community" (a local authority consisting of the union of tuscan mountainous areas) and now the Union of Municipalities, have sought to support the participation of farmers and their training by involving local communities as a whole (the realization of projects for children and grandparents aimed at rediscovery of local varieties and ancient cultivation traditions). 

The Department was involved through a convention with the Union of Municipalities, for the scientific supervision of the Design Manual's drafting phase, which is the final output of the regional funding. In fact, the experience of the Community of Garfagnana will be resulted in the drafting of a manual of practices for community of food.