Diversifying food at all levels: in agriculture, supply chains, consumption, to reduce distances, solve problems and promote a more natural and healthy diet. That is, in short, the goal of Foodiverse - Diversifying sustainable and organic food systems - the European project launched yesterday with an international online event. In three years, with one million euro funding, it aims to strengthen food policies and lifestyles for global sustainable development.
The project, which is coordinated by the University of Giessen (Germany), will be implemented by an international consortium, including Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway), the University of Coventry (UK), Jagiellonian University of Krakow (Poland) and the University of Trento (Italy).
The University of Trento, which participates with the Department of Sociology and Social Research and the C3A - Agriculture Food Environment Center, can contribute significantly to the project through its "Nutrire Trento" living lab, the initiative developed with the City of Trento in the framework of UniCittà to promote sustainable supply chains.
Francesca Forno, professor of the Department of Sociology and Social Research and member of the Steering committee of UniCittà, coordinates the Trento group with colleagues Natalia Magnani and Katia Pilati. She commented: "The European Commission launched the 'Farm to Fork' strategy as a new food and agriculture policy combining benefits for both producers and consumers. One of the main objectives of the strategy is to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming in 10 years".
This is where Foodiverse comes into play: "Foodiverse aims to explore food production diversification based on consumption habits to identify mechanisms that could help make sustainability more available and affordable. We believe that research can be fundamental to start a virtuous cycle, in particular at local level. Years ago, we launched "Nutrire Trento", a living lab with a community-engaged research approach that we would like to disseminate as best practice within this project".
And while European research has just started, we already have data that emerged from the first lockdown period. Francesca Forno observed: "Diversified food systems (with a diversity of producers and suppliers, that have nothing to deal with major supermarket chains) are more resilient and can therefore better respond to crisis. Think about what happened last year between March and May.
Despite restrictions, where supermarkets coexist side by side with small grocery shops and the farming sector includes large and small businesses, local fresh produce have always been available to people with no need to queue. This benefits our health and the environment".
FOOdIVERSE is funded by the European Commission within the international projects ERA-NET SUSFOOD2 (Sustainable Food Production and Consumption) and CORE Organic Cofund (Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems) with the support of the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MIPAAF).
Further information: https://sites.google.com/unitn.it/coact/