Foodnected, a new project designed to promote the transition to sustainable and fair food systems in the Mediterranean region, is launched on 10th March at a virtual event as part of the international festival Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, project partners Slow Food, Global Footprint Network, Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE), and GOB Menorca announced.
‘After striving for years to stress the importance of education and raise consumers’ awareness of the value of their food and their connection with the people who produce it, we are excited to collaborate with sustainable fishing and farming organisations to progress to a world where all the actors can come together through common initiatives to improve each other’s lives through an essential aspect of what it means to be human: the food we choose to consume to not only feed our bodies, but also nurture our spirits and communities,’ said Paula Barbeito, Foodnected Co-ordinator at Slow Food.
Funded by the MAVA Foundation over a two-year period, Foodnected is about ‘Connecting people and nature around local, fair and sustainable food systems.’
‘Our foundation supports sustainability initiatives that protect nature and support people’s livelihoods. The way we consume and produce food impacts our environment. We believe that short-chain food systems grounded in local traditions hold a great potential to maintain and preserve biodiversity – both cultivated and wild,’ said Julien Semelin from MAVA Foundation.
Foodnected is driven by the vision of bringing producers and consumers together through a Community of Practice grounded in shared values. By shortening the distance between producers and consumers and developing an ethical code of environmental and social values for the way food is produced and consumed, the project will address shortcomings in the prevailing market system and reverse the unfair situation faced by small-scale producers.
‘Gaining fair access to resources and markets is a fundamental struggle for small-scale low-impact fishers who make up the majority of the European fleet. We believe that working together with others is essential to achieving a positive and meaningful change in our food systems,’ said LIFE Executive Secretary Brian O’Riordan.
‘To be viable, fishers must be rewarded for the value they add through their good practices. On the other hand, consumers need to be able to easily identify sustainable, healthy and fair products, and to know their story, so they can value and select them.’
Foodnected aims to facilitate the emergence of short-chain food systems that work for nature and people – both consumers and the small-scale producers who depend on them for their livelihood.
The project is scheduled to unfold in three phases. First, it will clarify an approach to fair and sustainable food systems through nurturing the development of a Community of Practice composed of actors along the value chain.
‘All of us – as citizens, producers and consumers – can play a central role in the transition towards sustainable food systems. But making the right choices depends on the possibility to rely on scientifically-sound information,’ explained said Alessandro Galli, senior scientist and the Mediterranean-MENA Program Director at Global Footprint Network. ‘For this reason, relying on a science-based approach to identify pertinent practices is going to be a strong aspect of this project. By applying Ecological Footprint accounting, we will be able to quantitatively monitor the impact of such practices.’
Second, pilot initiatives will be implemented to develop market solutions for fair and sustainable food production and consumption at local level, especially in the Balearic Islands.
‘The work we’ve been developing through our local network of farmers is set to enjoy a wider impact thanks to this collaborative project. We’re excited to be actors and to witness firsthand how we can accelerate change at home and inspire other communities,’ said GOB Menorca’s Programme Director Miquel Camps.
Finally, the project aims to share lessons at a regional level. Results from the first two phases will be disseminated through advocacy work at national and wider regional – Mediterranean (GFCM) and EU – levels, especially within the framework of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and in the context of the FAO International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (in 2022).
The Foodnected launch event takes place on Wednesday, 10th March at 2:00 pm CET. Anyone interested in learning more about the project is invited to attend.