Urgenci’s participation in the international seminar on short supply chain for organic farming held on November, 13th-14th, 2010, in Cordoba by Ecologistas en Accion
This seminar was organised within the framework of the EcoAgroculturas project led by Ecologistas en Accion (www.ecologistasenaccion.org/) to support organic agriculture in Spain, co-funded by the city of Cordoba, the Biodiversidad Foundation and the ESF.
The organisers of this seminar clearly displayed their objective to bring together many local, regional and national organic farming associations and consumers cooperatives from the Spanish state to discuss the potential of short supply chains to promote organic / family farming. They also focused on coordination needs to help these initiatives taking place in Spain to grow stronger.
Indeed, although Spain is the first European country in terms of organic production, it remains far behind all other EU countries in terms of consumption and therefore the majority of organic products are exported.
Therefore, the conclusion is that organic farming does not guarantee per se a living rural world and that only combined with short supply chains it can enable farmers to receive a fair price for their products and consumers to get high-quality food. That’s the way the added value goes to small farms and ensure a decent living for farmers. Moreover, the point was stressed that SCS experiences are built on trust, participation and independence from the agro-business sector, promoting secure employment, consumers’ commitment and environmental protection, eventually fostering a healthy and sustainable agriculture.
The Cordoba symposium helped in creating the conditions for discussion and making visible the impressive number of local citizens movements for a living and sustainable rural world. Let’s hope they will gradually articulate and make possible a strong and independent political alliance between small producers and consumers committed to “build local food sovereignty.”
For Urgenci, Kirstin Glendinning talked on CSAs (Community-Supported Agriculture) in the United Kingdom, Mathilde Hertz-Reinaga on AMAP (Association pour le Maintien de l’Agriculture Paysanne) in France and Morgane Iserte presented Urgenci, the international network of local and solidarity-based partnerships between producers and consumers. Together with Andrea Ferrante, president of the Italian Association for Organic Agriculture, these speeches broaden the scope and gave Spanish actors an overview of an international dynamics that encompass many experiments, very different one from another.
Several CSA experiments in Spain
– The Andalusian Federation of Ecological Consumers and Producers (FACPE)
A 11-associations network grouping consumer cooperatives and organic producers, united by the common goal of promoting green, responsible and solidarity-based consumption.
Almocafre, association founded in 1994 by Ecologistas en Accion and the ISEC (Institute of Sociology on Agricultural Studies) to provide an outlet for Andalusian organic producers interested in selling locally their products. It now comprises 250 affiliates in connection with sixty producers; they have a store in Cordoba. www.almocafre.com/
La Ortiga is a consumers association founded in 1993, it became a cooperative in 2001. About 500 families are members.www.laortiga.com/
La Acequia is a 100-people cooperative, divided into 10 consumers groups. They grew vegetables on a field near Cordoba, for a total of 45 shares. Their approach is self-managing, and each decision is made on consensus.
– The Nekasarea network in the Basque country (see the report of Urgenci’s visit during last September there: blog.urgenci.net/)
The Nekasarea network is an initiative of the Basque farmers’ union Ehne. It defines itself primarily as a social movement, not as a mere producers-consumers network. It is composed of 25 consumers groups (about 500 families) and almost 80 farms.
– Lonxanet Directo is a direct marketing company of sustainable fisheries in Galicia:
The Lonxanet Foundation, established in 2002, aims to involve fishermen in craft production and environmental projects in order to develop responsible and sustainable fisheries. Lonxanet Directo SL is a direct marketing company selling the products of 6 fishermen’s guilds from Galicia; they are both shareholders of the company and product suppliers. www.lonxanet.com/index.php
– Bajo el Asfalto esta la Huerta! (Under the concrete, a garden!) is a agroecological producers and consumers cooperative created in Madrid in 2000 by a group of agroecological activists, directly based on the AMAP and CSA’s model. There are now five independent groups:bah.ourproject.org/
– La Rehuerta was launched in 2009 by ISAM (Madrid Initiative for Food Sovereignty), as a platform gathering various agroecological production/consumption initiatives in Madrid :gruposdeconsumo.blogspot.com
– In Catalunya: La Repera is an informal network bringing together a large number of agroecological (producers and / or consumers) cooperatives: repera.wordpress.com and Ecoconsum coordinates 20 ecological consumers groups (about 1000 families):www.ecoconsum.org
– The People’s Alliance for Food Sovereignty (ASAP) brings together sixty associations, networks and groups from the Spanish state around a manifesto “sow resistance, harvest alternatives” since October 2009. This alliance aims to coordinate its members, at the regional and national levels, to implement the conclusions of the Nyeleni Forum (Mali) on food sovereignty. It is currently preparing the meeting for the construction of a European movement for Food Sovereignty to be held in Krems, Austria, on August 16-21, 2011.www.alianzasoberanialimentaria.org/