project - Research and innovation

COACH Collaborative Agri-food Chains: Driving Innovation in Territorial Food Systems and Improving Outcomes for Producers and Consumers
"COACH Collaborative Agri-food Chains: Driving Innovation in Territorial Food Systems and Improving Outcomes for Producers and Consumers"

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Completed | 2020 - 2023 Other, United Kingdom
Completed | 2020 - 2023 Other, United Kingdom
Currently showing page content in native language where available

Objectives

COACH is a 3-year, EU funded project focusing on collaborative agri-food initiatives anchored in territorial food systems. The project facilitates collaboration between farmers, consumers, local governments and other actors to scale up short agri-food chains which rebalance farmers’ position, create win-wins for producers and consumers and drive innovation in territorial food systems. 

Objectives

"see objectives in English"

 

Activities

The project delivers training, capacity-building and knowledge-exchange activities, including coaching and mentoring, to support farmers and small operators in the food chain to build their capacity to connect with consumers. Key project outputs include: an online ‘Living Library’ of 30+ good practice case studies; a farm-to-fork public procurement toolkit; 11 multi-actor dialogues; 7 training events, and new insights and guidance on costs and margins in collaborative short food supply chains. Project resources are disseminated through an online Communications, Learning and Innovation Platform (CLIP).  

Context

Farmers and small operators are often in a weak position in the value chain. They lack bargaining power, face barriers to accessing markets, and struggle to achieve a fair income. At the same time, due to growing public awareness of the environmental crisis, and the rise of diet-related ill-health, many consumers want to conveniently access high quality, healthy and sustainable foods. In response, many innovative consumer-driven opportunities for farmers to access markets are now available.

Territorial food systems have existed for a long time and in many different places, yet have only just begun to gain recognition for their potential for developing more just and sustainable food systems. There are many experiences and projects to learn from across Europe, but there is much work to do to coordinate strategy and develop best practice on how to strengthen territorial food systems, including to fully harness the potential of sustainable/green public procurement.

COACH seeks to coordinate strategies and disseminate good practices on how to strengthen territorial food systems and collaborative agri-food chains based on three building blocks: 1) ‘Short Food Supply Chains’; 2) ‘Sustainable Public Food Procurement’ and 3) ‘Civic Food Networks’.

Project details
Main funding source
Horizon 2020 (EU Research and Innovation Programme)
Location
Main geographical location
Warwickshire

€ 3,021,762.5

Total budget

Total contributions including EU funding.

Currently showing page content in native language where available

24 Practice Abstracts

During the COACH project a mutual learning process emerged between various inspiring initiatives that are active participants and drivers of alternative grain economies. While an online course was not initially planned to be a project output, the process of learning together and collaborating with the initiatives (a.k.a. COACH Beacons) made clear the vital need for knowledge co-creation and sharing which can play an important role in the development of these networks. The main objective of the training material is to encourage and empower both new and already operating actors to participate actively in the development of collaborative grain economies. While some materials already exist on this topic, the material produced with COACH is unique in terms of bringing various perspectives together and sharing information in a way that is freely and easily accessible for a wider audience. By taking the course a learner will discover the fundamentals and benefits of alternative grains, learn about the most pressing challenges existing initiatives face and become inspired by the new and creative ways in which they work together. All are invited to be part of a live and growing network of enthusiastic and dedicated people, farmers, millers, bakers, brewers, etc., as well as conscious consumers from various parts of Europe, who are one way or another contributing to creating healthier, more just and resilient food systems.   The material is hosted on the online learning platform of ESSRG and can also be freely accessed both in English and Hungarian language via the page on alternative grain networks related resources on the COACH resources hub:https://hub.urgenci.net/alternative-grain-networks


A COACH projekt során különböző inspiráló kezdeményezésekkel működtünk együtt, amelyek aktív résztvevői és mozgatórugói az alternatív gabonagazdaságoknak. Bár online kurzus nem volt a tervezett projekt eredmények közt, a közös tanulási folyamat a kezdeményezésekkel (COACH Beacon-ök) rávilágított, hogy nagy szükség van a tudásmegosztásra és közös tudásteremtésre, és, hogy mindez fontos szerepet játszhat e hálózatok fejlesztésében. A képzési anyag fő célja, hogy mind az új, mind a már működő szereplőket bátorítsa és képessé tegye arra, hogy aktívan részt vegyenek az együttműködő gabonagazdaságok fejlesztésében. Bár a témában már létezik néhány online elérhető anyag, a jelenlegi tananyag egyedülálló a különböző nézőpontok együttes bemutatása szempontjából, illetve abban, hogy szabadon és könnyen hozzáférhető a szélesebb közönség számára.  Főbb ajánlások: Ha részt vesz a tanfolyamon megismerheti az alternatív gabonahálózatok előnyeit, a jelenleg aktív kezdeményezések néhány legsürgetőbb kihívását, és inspirálódhat az új és kreatív együttműködési módoktól. Meghívjuk Önt, hogy részese legyen egy élő és növekvő hálózatnak, amely lelkes és elkötelezett emberekből, gazdálkodókból, molnárokból, pékekből, sörfőzőkből stb. és tudatos fogyasztókból áll Európa különböző részein, akik valamilyen módon mind hozzájárulnak az egészségesebb, igazságosabb és ellenállóbb élelmezésirendszerek megteremtéséhez. Az tananyag megtalálható az ESSRG honlapján, és szabadon hozzáférhető angol és magyar nyelven is a CLIP alternatív gabonahálózatokkal kapcsolatos forrásokról szóló oldalán: https://hub.urgenci.net/alternative-grain-networks/

Food policy councils (FPCs) are important spaces to re-connect various actors across the food system and to improve integration of these actors’ perspectives in local, regional, or national food policy formulation. They are often confronted with overwhelming workloads regarding the management of success and meaningful participation formats. Moreover, food strategies, resulting from participatory formats organised by FPCs, are often prone to being 'washed soft' or non-implementation along their implementation processes within the responsible governmental structures. Activities conducted in the COACH project helped address key points to strengthen food policy council functioning, with particular focus on 1) improving the design of participation formats and 2) increasing food policy councils' policy impact regarding the implementation of food strategies. Main outcomes summarised below: 1)- Define aims and scope of participatory processes- Differentiate individual steps of participation according to phase and target group- Define beginning and end of participation process- Make working steps and process as transparent as possible, show interim results- targeted use of participation modules, not “all at once”- balance direct and indirect forms of participation- create space to negotiate potentials conflicts of interest- highlight added value and incentives for participation to increase motivation of relevant actors 2)- FPC as moderator to transform individual interests into collective action - creates space for dialogue and networking- Focus on small and targeted measures where FPC can actively contribute to implementation- Create and define milestones - prioritise concrete fields of action

Ernährungsräte (ER) ermöglichen die Vernetzung von Akteur:innen des Ernährungssystems und die Integration ihrer Perspektiven bei der Formulierung lokaler bis nationaler Ernährungspolitik. Die Organisation wirksamer Beteiligungsformate geht oft mit überwältigender Arbeitsbelastung einher. Darüber hinaus sind Ernährungsstrategien, die aus partizipativen Formaten hervorgehen, oft anfällig für eine Verwässerung ihrer Umsetzung innerhalb der zuständigen Regierungsstrukturen.Die im COACH-Projekt realisierten Aktivitäten trugen dazu bei, Schlüsselpunkte zur Stärkung der Funktionsweise der ER zu adressieren. Schwerpunkt lag 1) verbesserter Gestaltung von Beteiligungsformaten & 2) auf verbesserter politischer Einflussnahme von ER auf die Umsetzung von Ernährungsstrategien. Wichtigste Ergebnisse sind im Folgenden zusammengefasst:1)- Ziele und Umfang von Beteiligungsprozessen definieren- Differenzierung einzelner Beteiligungsschritte (Phasen und Zielgruppen)- Beginn und Ende des Beteiligungsprozesses festlegen- Prozess transparent gestalten, Zwischenergebnisse aufzeigen- Gezielter Einsatz von Beteiligungsmodulen, nicht 'alles auf einmal'- direkte und indirekte Formen der Beteiligung ausbalancieren- Raum für Aushandlung möglicher Interessenkonflikte schaffen- Anreize für die Beteiligung geben, um Motivation der Akteur:innen zu erhöhen 2)- ER als Moderator:in, um individuelle Interessen in kollektives Handeln zu verwandeln – Raum für Dialog und Vernetzung- Konzentration auf kleine und gezielte Maßnahmen, bei denen der ER aktiv zur Umsetzung beitragen kann- Schaffung und Definition von Meilensteinen - Priorisierung konkreter Handlungsfelder

The CLIP is the central information hub for the COACH project. The platform is a repository for project materials offering dynamic virtual spaces for coaching & training, advocacy & future projects. The main goals of CLIP are to complement existing resources, support a community of innovation, & expand the network of conscious advocates & initiatives. The platform's vision is to strengthen emancipatory learning for social change, facilitate blended training & learning, centralise a space for allies to meet, learn, act, & reach marginalised audiences. The platform's architecture is situated within the ‘URGENCI E-Learning Village’, to ensure the space & materials survive long after the project end. In the CLIP, users will find thematic hubs to explore COACH outcomes & resources: These are Costs & Benefits, Living Library of case studies (COACH Beacons), Procurement, Training & Mentoring, Food Accessibility, Policy Briefs, & Alternative Grain Networks.  Highlights:- Costs & Margins App: Short Food Supply Chain initiatives (both networks & individual producers) can input their data for the app to visualise their performance along 3 vectors of sustainability: environmental, social, & economic.- Procurement Hub: Practitioners, local food policymakers, advocates, & local governments can learn from successful tenders, integrate best practices for local food procurement, & download the entire toolkit for sustainable food procurement.- Policy Briefs: COACH produced 5 policy briefs offering policymakers & advocates authoritative arguments to advance the goals of COACH & the mission of food system transformation & transition. All COACH outputs were uploaded to and stored on Participatory Resource Sharing Tool (PRESTO).

In Bergamo (Italy) the catering service for public canteens ‘SerCar’ purchases a significant proportion of the raw materials from the Bergamo Organic District of Social Agriculture, which has resulted in more than 95% of the food served in schools being organic. Bergamo’s Organic District aims to be an example of a sustainable food system, supplying safe, organic and quality produce to consumers, and respecting the rights of the workers. Additionally, SerCar has been collaborating for years with a whole range of associations with social purposes. For instance, the catering company is able to supply fresh bread made by prison inmates through the ‘Sweet Free Dreams’ project. Finally, SerCar puts in place programs to educate children on the food system of their region, and as a part of these programs, pupils visit the Organic District of Bergamo. Bergamo is one of 5 case studies analysed in the Public Procurement toolkit (https://hub.urgenci.net/resource/legal-guide-on-farm-to-fork-procuremen…) to show how it is possible to purchase locally produced food in a legally compliant way with substantial benefits to the local economy and food system resilience and sustainability. Each city has succeeded in strengthening short food supply chains with different procurement strategies that could be replicable in other contexts across Europe. For more on Bergamo and other good practices across Europe, see https://hub.urgenci.net/public-procurement/

Since 2001, Copenhagen (Denmark), has been implementing the ‘organic transformation’ of its food procurement strategy and thanks to the on-site kitchens can provide fresh and nutritious meals. Moreover, they are about to achieve their objective of 90% organic food in public canteens by 2025. This is possible thanks to a twofold approach: 1.Training the kitchen staff, a process that took many years and required input from several external consultants, and; 2. Restructuring the procurement methods to ensure the adoption of high-quality, organic products. In addition, strong market engagement, traditional menu planning and tender requirements on the diversity of products push suppliers to subcontract smaller local producers, so that small batches of different varieties of fruit and vegetables are available for public canteens. Copenhagen is one of 5 case studies analysed in the Public Procurement toolkit (https://hub.urgenci.net/resource/legal-guide-on-farm-to-fork-procuremen…) to show how it is possible to purchase locally produced food in a legally compliant way with substantial benefits to the local economy and food system resilience and sustainability. Each city has succeeded in strengthening short food supply chains with different procurement strategies that could be replicable in other contexts across Europe. For more on Copenhagen and other good practices across Europe, see https://hub.urgenci.net/public-procurement/

The Dordogne Department (France), thanks to the project ‘100% organic, local and home-made school meals’, has committed to a 100% organic and local food supply in school. This strategy fosters short supply chains and provides market opportunities for local and smaller producers, and it creates a food community centred around school and local producers. Each school defines its needs in terms of volume and value, through the digital tool ‘À Table’ and afterwords drafts its own tenders. Based on this step and on the market dialogues, the tenders are divided into quite specific lots, to which an average local producer could fully respond. In addition, onsite kitchens allow schools to offer nutritious and environmentally friendly school meals and specific training for all the school staff, which contribute to raise awareness on food quality, health and local agro-biodiversity. The Dordogne Department is one of 5 case studies analysed in the Public Procurement toolkit (https://hub.urgenci.net/resource/legal-guide-on-farm-to-fork-procuremen…) to show how it is possible to purchase locally produced food in a legally compliant way with substantial benefits to the local economy and food system resilience and sustainability. Each city has succeeded in strengthening short food supply chains with different procurement strategies that could be replicable in other contexts across Europe. For more on Dordogne and other good practices across Europe, see https://hub.urgenci.net/public-procurement/

Since 2014, Torres Vedras's ‘Sustainable School Food Program’ has promoted the local economy and environmental sustainability by stimulating short agri-food chains as well as providing high-quality school meals. School meals are prepared through two different systems: two kitchens under the direct management of the Municipality and a network of private caterers to whom Torres Vedras delegates decision-making responsibility. In Municipality-owned kitchens, raw ingredients are purchased directly and predominantly from local suppliers where possible. To do so, the food supply contracts are divided into 14 lots and periodic dialogue meetings are held with local producers with the aim of increasing the supply of organic, fresh and local produce. This strategy has allowed the alignment of the production plans of local producers with the canteens’ needs as well as raising awareness of organic production and acknowledging and tackling any issues and concerns raised by farmers. Torres Vedras is one of 5 case studies analysed in the Public Procurement toolkit (https://hub.urgenci.net/resource/legal-guide-on-farm-to-fork-procuremen…) to show how it is possible to purchase locally produced food in a legally compliant way with substantial benefits to the local economy and food system resilience and sustainability. Each city has succeeded in strengthening short food supply chains with different procurement strategies that could be replicable in other contexts across Europe. For more on Torres Vedras and other good practices across Europe, see https://hub.urgenci.net/public-procurement/

The city of Växjö (Sweden) is experimenting with a new procurement model called ‘dynamic food procurement’ (DFP). This model has flexibility in terms of time schedule and the types of products that small-scale farmers can offer: it is possible for them to provide only some of the products requested although in the demanded quantity. This flexibility enables small-scale farmers that meet the minimum criteria to bid for a tender whenever the Municipality issues a request for products. Currently, this system covers 10 % of the fruit and vegetable supply and 15 % of the meat supply but the goal is to progressively increase this percentage. Alongside this, the city of Växjö has provided distribution hubs to facilitate the distribution of food products, especially in the last mile logistics, which are often an obstacle for small producers. Now, small producers can deliver their goods to one single place rather than 300 different sites, bringing substantial benefits for what concerns the logistics and the environmental pollution. Växjö is one of 5 case studies analysed in the Public Procurement toolkit (https://hub.urgenci.net/resource/legal-guide-on-farm-to-fork-procuremen…) to show how it is possible to purchase locally produced food in a legally compliant way with substantial benefits to the local economy and food system resilience and sustainability. Each city has succeeded in strengthening short food supply chains with different procurement strategies that could be replicable in other contexts across Europe.  For more on Växjö and other good practices across Europe, see https://hub.urgenci.net/public-procurement/

A Dynamic Procurement System (DPS) is an electronic procurement method used for procuring goods and/or services that are ‘generally available’ on the market, like furniture, food, pencils, canteen service etc. It is ‘dynamic’ because suppliers can join the system at any time, provided they can comply with the economic and technical qualification requirements initially set out by the contracting authority. The contracting authority can thereafter access a pool of pre-qualified suppliers through the DPS. The market is not closed for potential suppliers, as smaller contracts are regularly tendered among all participants in the DPS. EU cities Växjö and Copenhagen currently apply this system. The City of Ghent applies a short supply chain approach to support small-scale food producers and suppliers and promote regional products. Based on fair trade principles, the aim is to provide a fair price to farmers and shorten the number of intermediaries to achieve the fair price, so procurers can shorten the distance to producers. To make it easier for the public authority to procure from small-scale farmers and suppliers, and to reduce the administrative, financial and regulatory burden for farmers, the City of Ghent supported the creation of a B2B online market platform: Vanier. Participating producers determine their own selling price and the platform provides the ordering, delivery, and payment flow and performs the logistics. When tendering from the online market place the City pays a small surcharge but does not need to engage with farmers and SMEs individually as this is taken care of by Vanier. More information can be found in the Legal Guide on Farm to Fork procurement (chapter 4) https://hub.urgenci.net/public-procurement/

Market dialogue is crucial to ensure contracting authorities get the products & services that best meet their needs & comply with the criteria set out in their procurement policy.  Through this process, public authorities can obtain new knowledge & a clear understanding of new, innovative & sustainable solutions & products available on the local & regional market. The EU procurement rules do not prevent a market dialogue with suppliers to happen before the publication of the tender, but this process must not lead to a competitive advantage for individual or specific economic operators & must be carried out in compliance with the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination & transparency. For instance, the Municipality of Copenhagen relies on a collaborative approach between public officials, professional catering & food service staff, wholesalers & growers to design public food tenders. Before developing the tender, the City of Copenhagen invests time & effort in a comprehensive market analysis, organising extensive market dialogue with potential suppliers. The last step of the market dialogue process consists of a ‘market monologue meeting’ to deliver an in-depth understanding of the final tender documents & addressing questions about the draft tender. The meeting is recorded & published to help potential tenderers offer their products. The market dialogue model in the Legal Guide on Farm to Fork procurement is a description of the 11-step process that can be used when involving the market in a tender. Some of these steps are part of the actual tendering process, under the EU public procurement Directive & are therefore mandatory steps. Full guide: https://hub.urgenci.net/public-procurement/

The aim of the ‘Legal Guide on Farm to Fork procurement’ is to provide public procurers and interested stakeholders with easily accessible legal advice on how to link the public plate with small-scale farmers and companies (SMEs) within a short food supply chain perspective.  The focus is procurement methods, procurement organisation and procurement criteria for farm-to-fork procurement in line with the objectives of the COACH project such as healthy, sustainable and affordable food from small suppliers/farmers. Publicly tendered contracts often require large amounts of goods and a long contract period. It can therefore be hard for small and medium sized companies (SMEs) and farmers to bid on public contracts due to their limited administrative resources and limited production. This toolkit offers detailed guidance on simple ways to open the public tenders to SMEs and farmers. This includes: - a legal guide on how to draft tenders below the thresholds and an overview on which criteria to focus on for tenders above the threshold, - an in-depth chapter on the importance of market dialogue and how to do it, - an analysis of innovative tender approaches such as dynamic food procurement and procurement from the short supply chain. Full guide: https://hub.urgenci.net/public-procurement/

The GASAP (Groupe d'Achats Solidaires de l'Agriculture Paysanne) network set up the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) with the main aims of :- rebuilding trust- supporting and promoting virtuous production- going beyond the organic label. In more concrete terms, this tool makes it possible to:- bring hundreds of consumers and producers closer together through field visits;- actively involve consumers as PGS ambassadors;- help producers evaluate their agro-ecological practices in a structured way and to have appropriate follow-up;- create a space for exchanging practices and technical training between peers. Finally, working as an inter-associative platform, with structures that have expertise in the PGS, has strengthened the tool and given it greater visibility, including in respect of the public authorities. For the future, the aim is to expand the project: strengthen the follow-up of producers and involve as many producers and citizens as possible by working with organisations that support short-supply chains.   Recommendations: To have a viable PGS, it is important to :- involve as many producers and consumers as possible in setting it up and developing it;- identify strategic partners and work in synergy, with a common base and clear objectives;- capitalise on the results obtained in a structured way to gain credibility with the institutions. For more information on the project: https://hub.urgenci.net/beacons/gasap-participatory-guarantee-system/

LeRéseau des GASAP (Groupes d’Achats Solidaires de l’Agriculture Paysanne) a mis en place le Système Participatif de Garantie dans le but principale de :- reconstruire un lien de confiance- soutenir et valoriser les productions vertueuses- aller au delà du label bio. Dans le concret, cet outil permet de :- à travers les visites sur le champ, rapprocher des centaines des mangeur-euses aux producteur-rices ;- engager activement des mangeur-euses via le role d’ambassadeur-rices SPG ;- pour les producteur-rices, d’évaluer de manière structurée les pratiques agroécologique et d'avoir un suivi adapté ;- créer un espace d’échanges de pratiques et de formation technique entre pairs. Enfin, le travail en plateforme interassociative, avec les structures ayant des expertises sur le SPG, a permis de renforcer l’outil et de lui donner plus de visibilité, aussi à l’egard des pouvoirs publiques. Pour la suite, le souhait est d’amplifier le projet : renforcer le suivi des producteur-rices et intégrer le plus grand nombre de producteur-rices et de citoyen-nes en travaillant avec les structures qui soutiennent le circuit court.  Recommandations Pour avoir un SPG viable il est important de :- intégrer le plus possible producteur-rices et mangeu-euses dans sa mise en place et dans son développement ;- identifier les partenaires stratégique et travailler en synergie, avec une base commune et des objectifs clairs ;- capitaliser de manière structurée les résultats obtenus pour avoir de la crédibilité vis-à-vis des institutions. Pour plus d’info sur le projet : https://hub.urgenci.net/beacons/gasap-participatory-guarantee-system/

Today, public food policies are disconnected from agricultural policies, unable to meet the food needs of populations in general. Every health, environmental or economic crisis is likely to seriously destabilise the current agro-industrial system. Given this situation, one policy recommendation that emerged from the COACH project is creating a food social security system. This involves putting in policies to ensure the right to food. This project looks to give universal access to food that is chosen by citizens and allows farmers who produce it to earn a decent living, via a system of agreements. In concrete terms, social security for food will help to:- Secure a food budget for all citizens through universal social contributions, comparable to the current social security system.- Enable farmers to continue their struggle for fair income, based on consumer demand.Develop an agricultural and food policy that responds to the systemic problem of food insecurity, which is currently addressed by food aid. The foundations of a food social security system are:- Universality: the right to access and choose food, whether rich or poor.- Contributions: citizens finance the system according to their means and use their food social security card according to their needs.- Democratic agreement: a contract between the producer and the eater. At collective meetings, citizens decide about their food and the types of products they want to eat, while ensuring an income for all the farmers involved. This will enable us to choose our food and have food that is accessible to all, as well as ensuring a fair income for the farmers who produce it. Please consult https://www.confederationpaysanne.fr/ for more information.

Aujourd'hui, les politiques publiques alimentaires sont déconnectées des politiques agricoles. Chaque crise sanitaire, environnementale ou économique est susceptible de déstabiliser le système agro-industriel et d’impacter gravement les moins aisés. Face à ce constat, une des propositions du projet COACH est la socialisation de l'alimentation. Il consiste à mettre en place une politique publique basée sur l'application du droit à l'alimentation pour garantir un accès universel à une alimentation choisie par les citoyen·nes et qui rémunère les paysan.ne.s via un système de conventionnement. Concrètement, la sécurité sociale de l'alimentation consiste à :- Assurer un budget alimentaire à chacun grâce à un système de cotisation comparable à la sécurité sociale, - Articuler un travail syndical paysan pour un revenu juste en partant des demandes des consommateur.ices,- Porter un projet de politique agricole et alimentaire qui réponde au problème systémique de précarité alimentaire. Les fondements de la sécurité sociale de l'alimentation sont :- Universalité : le droit d'accéder à l'alimentation de son choix, que l'on soit riche ou pauvre.- Cotisation : chaque citoyen·ne finance le système en fonction de ses moyens et utilise sa carte de sécurité sociale alimentaire selon ses besoins.- Conventionnement démocratique : un contrat entre le producteur et celui qui mange. Des citoyen·nes décident colelctivement de leur alimentation, des produits qu'ils souhaitent manger en assurant un revenu pour tous les paysan·nes conventionné·es. C’est la voie d’une alimentation choisie, accessible à tou.te.s, et d’un revenu juste pour les paysan.nes qui la produisent. https://www.confederationpaysanne.fr/

To facilitate collaboration between food chain actors, COACH project partners held Multi Actor Dialogue (MAD) events, building new connections and supporting coordination and collaboration between farmers, local authorities, small businesses, communities and consumers. These meetings were built on the principles of social inclusion and effective participation of relevant actors, including marginalised voices. 11 different MAD events at local and European level, produced roadmaps to pave the way for future collaborative actions on public procurement, supply chain costs and benefits, food accessibility and social equity, and the Sustainable Food Systems Law. Concrete recommendations from these gatherings include:- Publish clear EU guidelines to facilitate purchasing food from small farmers in public tendering, including schools.- Relocate agricultural production to achieve greater food sovereignty, develop on-farm processing, local markets and close proximity circuits.- Provide a decent stable income for small and medium farmers.- Adopt a European umbrella legislative framework, that enables the different legislations related to food within the EU to be harmonised and made more coherent.- Create European and local Food councils to shape a coherent, regulatory vision to improve legislation related to food chains. The insights and experience emerging from these events was also used to inform and guide other project activities, particularly the Farm-to-Fork procurement toolkit, policy briefs and other training materials. To access these resources please visit: https://hub.urgenci.net/houses/territorialfoodsystems-house/


Creating a guide on food accessibility helped:- Identify and qualify the forms of action AMAP/AMAP networks undertake in France- Identify factors that promote/weaken participation of people facing food insecurity- Question partnership dynamics between AMAP and social or anti-poverty organisations Main finds:- AMAP model can be suitable for people with low income- Price of the basket makes it possible to pay farmers a dignified wage- Experiences in AMAP, without solving food insecurity as a whole, are proof it is possible to create new solidarities- Setting up accessibility initiatives feeds volunteer commitment and strengthens AMAP associative project AMAP networks are currently using these materials to facilitate training/accompaniments for AMAP wishing to develop/strengthen food accessibility initiatives. We expect this guide to create awareness and spread initiatives more widely. Recommendations:- Create and participate in activities/trainings with AMAP and/or AMAP network/partners to build a common culture around food accessibility- Consult with amapiens and farmers to ensure there is collective support to set up a food accessibility project- Decide on the source(s) of co-financing for implementing accessible contracts: internal to the AMAP and/or external with social partners, public or private financing…- Act in cooperation with AMAP networks/local social partners/association/public bodies…- Enable all to participate in the life of the AMAP, lose prejudices and injunctive postures, respect confidentiality and avoid unintentional stigmatising practises Full guide: https://amapartage.fr/images/imagesCK/files/ressources/cont53/f142_mira…

La création d'un guide sur l'accessibilité alimentaire en AMAP a aidé à :- Identifier et qualifier les formes d'action des AMAP/réseaux d'AMAP en France- Identifier les facteurs qui favorisent/fragilisent la participation des personnes en situation de précarité alimentaire- Questionner les dynamiques partenariales entre les AMAP et les organisations sociales/de lutte contre la pauvreté  Conclusions :- Le modèle AMAP peut convenir à des personnes ayant de faibles revenus- Le prix du panier permet de rémunérer dignement les paysans- Les expériences d’AMAP, sans résoudre la précarité alimentaire, sont la preuve qu'il est possible de créer de nouvelles solidarités- La mise en oeuvre de ces initiatives nourrit l'engagement bénévole et renforce le projet associatif des AMAP Les réseaux d'AMAP s’appuient sur ce guide pour faciliter des formations/accompagnements d’AMAP. Nous espérons qu’il permette de sensibiliser et diffuser plus largement ces initiatives. Recommendations1. Créer/participer à des activités/formations avec l'AMAP/les partenaires/réseaux d'AMAP pour construire une culture commune2. Consulter les amapiens et les paysans pour s'assurer qu'il y a un soutien collectif du projet3. Décider des sources de cofinancement : internes à l'AMAP, externes avec des partenaires sociaux/financements publics ou privés…4. Agir en coopération avec les réseaux d'AMAP/partenaires sociaux/associations/organismes publics...5. Permettre à chacun de participer à l'AMAP, sortir des préjugés/postures injonctives, respecter la confidentialité, éviter les pratiques stigmatisantes Guide complet : https://amapartage.fr/images/imagesCK/files/ressources/cont53/f142_mira…

The COACH project developed a methodology to measure economic costs and benefits as well as assess other economic and non-economic effects of participation in Short Food Supply-Chain (SFSC) initiatives. The methodology follows a stepwise procedure, composed of both a qualitative and a quantitative part. The entire analysis is based on a comparison of each SFSC initiative with a long/conventional marketing channel (benchmark) accessible to producers. Qualitative results from 13 SFSC initiatives located in 8 countries, showed food producers perceive SFSCs as having a very positive impact on all items analysed, while the benchmark appears to have a negative impact on most aspects concerning economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Quantitative results showed most producers obtain a higher value added in the SFSC than in the benchmark channel. Results from the analysis and discussion among COACH partners and producers highlighted how the transition to more sustainable and resilient SFSCs require that public policies support producers’ efforts through appropriate actions:- foster collaboration between food producers;- facilitate investments in collective facilities;- provide training (marketing, logistics, distribution) and facilitate knowledge exchanges;- support food producers’ efforts to understand and assess the costs and revenue structure of their activity. For synthesis of results from the analysis and other materials: https://hub.urgenci.net/costs-benefits/ Policy Brief: https://hub.urgenci.net/resource/policy-brief-good-public-policies-can-…

The Sustainability Self-Assessment App for the qualitative assessment of Costs and Benefits (C&Bs) is a freely available tool made for qualitatively assessing the economic, social and environmental impacts that a specific Short Food Supply-Chain (SFSC) initiative generates on the producers involved, on the community, and on the territory where it takes place. The tool compares multiple distribution channels to enable respondents to evaluate the different marketing options they are using or that are available to them. The questionnaire for producers - the core part of the tool - is composed of two main parts. 1- respondents are asked to rate the importance of seven criteria usually considered when making decisions about their activity. 2- respondents are asked to self-assess the impact of the SFSC initiative and another marketing channel on a list of 33 economic, social and environmental dimensions. After completing the questionnaire, the App generates a short report with performance dashboards and other graphical representations. The usefulness and main aim of the tool is to stimulate awareness and reflection of respondents on C&Bs aspects of engaging in SFSCs, to enable informed decisions between different marketing options, considering all dimensions of sustainability. The App has been designed for collective participatory assessment by groups of producers involved in collaborative SFSC initiatives (e.g. farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture, producers’ cooperatives, etc.). However, the App can be used also by single producers wishing to assess their performance in SFSCs. Link to the Sustainability Self-Assessment App: https://hub.urgenci.net/costs-benefits/qualitative-assessment/

The Learning Module on Costs & Benefits is composed of 4 sections: 1. Why assess Costs & Benefits from SFSC initiatives? explains the many typologies of costs and benefits associated to participation to SFSC initiatives. 2. How to assess Costs & Benefits? guides the reader through the use of two practical tools to measure and assess costs & benefits deriving from producers’ participation in SFSCs. 3. Good Practices, extracted from the COACH project, are grouped by five main areas: cost reduction, sales increase, fair distribution and participatory governance, contributing to social equity and environmental sustainability. 4. Useful Documents & Materials contains helpful documents and resources on Costs & Benefits in SFSCs.  The Learning Module on Costs & Benefits aims to guide producers (farmers, processors, retailers, etc.) to increase their knowledge and consciousness about the costs and benefits they have from participating in SFSC initiatives, and better understand and assess the consequences and impacts on economic, social, and environmental aspects from participating in SFSC initiatives. For this purpose, the Learning Module provides user-friendly online tools to assess impacts, in particular the 'Sustainability Self-Assessment App'. The online App is freely available to everyone, and is designed to be used by SFSCs producers and their collective organisations to qualitatively self-assess the impacts of their multiple marketing options in terms of economic, social and environmental sustainability. Link to the Learning Module: https://hub.urgenci.net/costs-benefits/

Mentoring is a reciprocal and collaborative at-will relationship aimed at catalysing the personal and professional development of all participants. Mentoring was a key part of COACH with one task devoted to delivering 200 hours of mentoring over the project, with 22 mentees and mentors participating in total. Participants were practitioners from different types of food initiatives and geographical contexts united by their support of more sustainable and collaborative short food supply chains. Mentoring mainly took place on a 1:1 basis, with mentors remunerated for their time (€60 per hour), though the programme also involved some group mentoring. All participants were expected to take part in an online training before beginning their mentoring relationships, to keep notes on their experience as they went along, and to give feedback at the end. The programme was popular among participants with 100% satisfaction recorded in feedback. Topics covered were diverse, including managing growth in small-scale businesses, coping with ‘burnout’, and changes in career focus. Mentees and mentors alike reported numerous beneficial impacts including increased confidence, energy, and fresh perspectives on their specific context. Recommendations: 1. Provide good quality training to all participants 2. Situate within practitioner organisations, if possible 3. Provide range of support options, not rigid constraints 4. Co-produce a context-specific funding strategy with input from participants 5. Encourage in-person meetings if possible   For more resources and full programme report see programme website: https://coachproject.eu/the-plan/coaching-mentoring/

Territorial governance is the basis of European Regional Policy. Its innovation, both on the internal level (the internal process of decision-making) and on the external level (initiatives engaging with other actors at the territorial level) can improve:- Transparency in food provisioning.- Consumer trust.- Food literacy.- Food citizenship.- Localised market opportunities.- Overall resilience for producers.Based on the lessons learned from COACH case studies policymakers are encouraged to:- Develop a holistic food policy informed by public food procurers, market dialogues, civic food networks and academia, that would engage with 5 main dimensions of food systems: politics, economy, environment, health, and society.- Choose regulations proportionate for all actors, recognizing that small-scale farmers have more limited financial capacities than big-scale producers, and can be forced to close their businesses as a result of imposing on them disproportionately high burdens. Example – Piper’s Farm (more info here: https://pipersfarm.com/blogs/journal/the-survival-of-local-abattoirs).- Promote governance mechanisms inspired by a local food policy approach designed by public authorities (e.g., municipality, province).The above information comes from the COACH Spotlight Analysis available here: https://coachproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/D2.4-COACH-Spotlight…

Digital Technology (DT) enables small-scale farmers to scale up the short food supply chain by breaking new ground in logistics, communications, accessibility, and more. Through DT, one can raise awareness, educate, advocate, mobilise human capital, create a space for farmers’ interactions and general sharing of ideas and experiences. Unfortunately, if not well-regulated, DT can allow big tech companies to exploit users’ data.Based on lessons learned from COACH workshops, these are the recommendations for practitioners:- Incentivise use of non-proprietorial digital tools in order to protect the freedom and rights of individuals and improve their quality to provide an ethical alternative to the smooth mainstream solutions.- Provide training explaining how to use DT.- Support data interoperability to provide a greater operational coherence between the various existing Free-Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) platforms, which give users the freedom to run, study, modify and redistribute the program. For example, the COACH Beacon, Open Food Network provides a software platform enabling farmers to sell online (https://openfoodnetwork.org/software-platform/).- Use FLOSS solutions that emphasize equity, democracy, accessibility, save time through standardization of file storage and increase the work efficiency through digital project management.- Build communities around compatible and widespread technologies to avoid the burnout of small-scale farmers not specialized in running digital innovations.- Protect farmers from becoming “data providers” and digital colonialism led by Big Tech companies.More here: https://coachproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/D2.4-COACH-Spotlight…

Education and Information are essential to transform food systems in the long term. To raise a new generation of agroecological farmers, assist chefs with serving sustainable meals, and educate consumers about the social and environmental impact of food and its real cost, EU policies should address issues raised by COACH Beacons and:- Fight with prejudices about the inferiority of the farming sector and opinions that only 'unskilled’ people work in agriculture.- Promote initiatives engaging CSA people with tactile spaces and experiential practices (e.g., attending food distribution, cooking more) which are proven to increase participants’ understanding of farmers’ reality. Practical activities related to food create compassion for its producers and thus reshape environmental ethics.- Implement adequate and transparent labelling informing consumers about all food “ingredients” – those eatable but also those tasteless aspects of food (e.g., working conditions of food producers, its environmental impact and relation to human rights). E.g.: Our Food, Our Future (https://ourfood-ourfuture.eu/about-the-project/).- Reshape consumers’ understanding of food production by opportunities offered by CSAs (e.g., farm tours, classes, newsletters, recipes and cooking utilities).- Encourage students and adults to practise farming skills in the field during short-/long-term internships, learning-by-doing training on sustainable farms.- Incentivise updating national school curriculums to create space for traditional but also more flexible, agroecological farming driven by permaculture principles.More here: https://coachproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/D2.4-COACH-Spotlight…

Women stand for approximately half of the global agricultural labour, and as consumers, they are more likely to experience food insecurity and barriers to accessing productive resources and services. At the same time, women remain significantly underrepresented in public institutions and governance mechanisms, and they have less decision-making power. While improving collaborative short agri-food chains, it’s crucial to opt for gender-sensitive solutions.Based on the material collected during COACH workshops, these are the recommendations for practitioners:- Address forms of power and privilege within agricultural production and supply chains by including more diverse human voices and addressing structural issues.- Invite women to the policymaking process.- Listen to the podcast “A journey through Feminist Agroecology” co-created by COACH partner – Coventry University – and find out “What does feminism have to do with the food you eat?” (https://open.spotify.com/episode/0GPlXjkOYT4ZQgXhwIzVVa).- Recognize that each person does not begin in the same place in society. Identify markers such as race, class, disability, gender, and sexual orientation in order to distribute resources and opportunities based on the needs of recipients to reach an equal outcome.Read the COACH Spotlight Analysis to learn more about gender equity in collaborative short food supply chains: https://coachproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/D2.4-COACH-Spotlight…

Enabling small-scale food producers to access public sector contracts can have a positive impact on the food quality served in public institutions, its accessibility and consumers’ healthy eating habits. Based on data generated via workshops attended by COACH Beacons, and feedback provided by them, COACH identified the following barriers hindering small-scale farmers’ desire to participate in Public Food Procurement (PFP):• Volume of produce – individual small-scale producers alone can't deliver the minimum required quantity to access the tender• Logistical issues – collaboration with small-scale producers requires more advanced organization (e.g., food hubs) to smoothen the delivery process, etc.• Extensive digitalization – not all individual producers are technologically advanced; they don't know required software thus cannot access the PFP• Financial risk for the supplier – small-scale farmers can't afford to be paid days after delivering products, which is often how public institutions pay To enable small-scale farmers to access PFP, one solution is to use relevant procurement criteria focused on the quality of food, the production’s impact on the environment and more, rather than price alone. Public food demand should be divided into smaller lots and be informed by market dialogues.To learn how City of Copenhagen implemented 90% organic food across all administrations serving public meals in a cost-effective manner, listen to an interview with Betina Bergmann Madsen, chief procurement officer in Copenhagen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CCkUOztoCE&ab_channel=OnePlanetnetwork… info: https://coachproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/D2.4-COACH-Spotlight…

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Contacts

Project coordinator

  • Coventry University

    Project coordinator

Project partners

  • City of Copenhagen/Københavns Kommune

    Project partner

  • Environmental Social Science Research Group (ESSRG Kft)

    Project partner

  • European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC)

    Project partner

  • FIAN International

    Project partner

  • ICLEI - European Secretariat GmbH

    Project partner

  • URGENCI

    Project partner

  • University of Firenze

    Project partner