LINKING PROJECTS FOR A COMMON GOAL: THE SUSTAINABILITY AND MAINTENANCE OF SMALL FARMS AS A WAY TO FOOD SOVEREIGNTY
The goal of Km0 Alentejo initiative is to maintain the small farms and the mosaic landscape, around the cities. To reduce the environmental footprint of food, but also to stimulate local production and contribute to food sovereignty of local communities in the region of Alentejo, reducing their degree of external dependence. Helping small producers to maintain their production, and securing a possible transmission of knowledge and production areas to new entrants that are expected to settle in the region. In Alentejo, the average age of farmers is 66 years, the highest in Europe. It is urgent to promote generational renewal.
The research team in MED (Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development) at the University of Évora has long worked with local producers and their conditions, short supply chains and the regional food system. As an extension of the H2020 SALSA project (on small farms role in food security throughout Europe), the team of the University of Évora contacted several small producers in the area. Through estimations based on remote sensing analysis, it was possible to identify production areas and areas where production could expand, in small farms. In addition, with the H2020 Newbie project, the team is involved in efforts to support the creation and incubation of new companies in the agricultural sector. The researchers were also aware of the problems faced by younger farmers and new entrants. The Km0 initiative is thus grounded on research and linking to a transition on the ground.
“The environmental foot print of food – University of Évora launched the Km0 Alentejo project to stimulate the consumption of local products” In “Expresso” 21.03.2020. “Expresso” is a weekly national newspaper known for its quality already for 40 years existence, one of the most read newspapers in Portugal.