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Revolutionary solutions for local food systems

Posted on | February 8, 2015 | Comments Off

WG20 – Revolutionary solutions for local food systems

Which new (practical) solutions emerge in relation to new societal challenges?
How are they designed and organised?

In recent years practices carrying social and economic innovation through agriculture and food production have grown rapidly, both in numbers and in terms of quality and attention paid by the society. Even more modern economic sectors (like informatics or tourism) are looking with interest to these potential innovative charge coming from the primary sector.
These practices find the way for identifying and implementing solutions that, besides being economically sustainable, contribute to the social and environmental improvement of the community.
These initiatives are “revolutionary solutions”, carrying real social innovation in a lot of fields, like: education to new generations on nutrition and environment (school gardens, pedagogical practices,…); environmental safeguard (biodiversity, landscape, energy, resources managing, actions against food waste, revolutionary ways for accessing/distributing food, rearrangement and closure of local cycles); governance, with modern and participated experiences (food planning, common goods management, urban-rural solutions,…); social justice paths (food access, social farming, critical consumption, poverty reduction,…); urban planning (community gardens, farmers’ markets,…).
These practices are related to food production, based on both rural and urban communities’ wide needs and requirements. Often involves a large number and kind of stakeholders, each with a different expertise and role as farmers, third sector, institutions, users, consumers, different forms of active citizenship.

Local food systems as well as individual practices and their impacts on the development of territories, may be analyzed by using a wide range of theoretical and methodological tools, from very different points of view, and with the contribution of various sciences and expertises, within a multidisciplinary debate, able to involve the society. Scientific debate on local food systems tried to highlight the social impacts of traditional or innovative food system organization on communities, even starting from existing practices.
However there is a strong feeling that, even for a strong dynamic of change taking place at present, in the fields there is a lot more innovation than normally encoded and debated.

We have now the need to bring out the practices that proved to be effective carriers of solutions, in order to better understand them also from different scientific view points. In this perspective, the aim of this working group is to give voice to the leading actors of the change, the ones working in the field, by selecting that practices that may deeply change the way food and farming practices are designed, organized and managed. Those carrying innovation from the point of view of markets, relations with society, environmental impact, flexible and local food choice; so to give models transferable in other contexts.
Aim of this working group is also to introduce practices in a context of international research, able to analyze and valorize them by making practices instantly more visible and easier to understand, so to facilitate their transfer in a logic of partnership between field innovators and scientists.

Specifically, contributions should address the following topics:

• Who is the starter/engine of the innovation
• What the needs that stimulated the born and evolution of the innovation
• What kind of “revolutionary solution” you want to describe? (description of the practice)
• Main areas of innovation: environment, culture, education, governance, social justice, urban planning, transition, …
• What kind of impact (qualitative and quantitative) the innovation has on the territory/society?
• When did you introduced the innovation?/In which phase it’s now (project, start up, maturity, consolidated)?
• Strengths
• Critical points
• Estimated investment required (economic, human resources, time … )
• Replicability

Will be accepted abstract illustrating a revolutionary/innovative best practice in at least one of the above mentioned areas (environment, social justice, culture, transition,…). Proposed abstracts will participate at the AiCARE Revolutionary Solution – Social Innovation for Agriculture of the future Award. Abstracts should be submitted through the website of the conference (www.agricultureinanurbanizingsociety.com) until March, 31st. Will be accepted contributions from different disciplines (economic and sociological research, policy analysis,…) and from a wide range of subjects: researchers/academics, technicals and professionals, organizations, agencies/institutions in a framework of multidisciplinary and knowledge exchange.

Silvia Paolini, AiCARE Italian Agency for Responsible and Ethical Countryside and Agriculture, Italy
Angela Galasso, AiCARE Italian Agency for Responsible and Ethical Countryside and Agriculture, Italy
Paola Scarpellini, Pisa University, AiCARE, Italy
Francesco di Iacovo, Pisa University, Italy


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