Local Food: A Key to Food Security and Sustainability
Local food production is becoming increasingly important in Europe and other regions as a way to mitigate the risks of supply-chain disruptions. The European Union is stepping up efforts to ensure that the European food system benefits family farmers, Europe’s regions, and its consumers. The promotion of local food is a key part of the EU’s efforts to build a more sustainable food system. By connecting consumers with local producers, the EU can help to create a more resilient food system that benefits everyone.
One of the key ways in which this is being done is by promoting local food trade and providing financial support to help small farms transition to more resilient production systems. Complementary to direct financial support, funding research for the development of new technologies that can help improve efficiency of local food production and distribution, is another crucial pillar of bolstering the importance of local food systems.
COACH is helping small-scale farmers in Europe by promoting cooperation among farmers, consumers, local authorities and other actors. A major goal has been to reduce the number of intermediaries in the food supply chain to ensure farmers receive a fair share of the profits. For many small-scale farmers going local and selling directly to their customers can be a way out of the dependency on retailers and large corporations.
The FOX project is developing mobile juice processing units that can help small farms process their produce on-site or nearby. by reducing the number of intermediaries and processing fresh produce into refined products, such as juice, oil, bread, etc. farmers can retain a higher share of the profits. Kerstin Pasch, who coordinates the EU-funded FOX project and heads the German Institute of Food Technologies’ office in Brussels, said that such processing units could help small producers add value to their products.
Both projects are great examples of how research can be used to support small-scale farmers and help them connect with consumers. If you are interested in reading further, take a look here!