The SKIN project, Short Food Supply Chains Knowledge and Innovation Network, launched on November 2016, is a 3 years initiative of 20 partners in 14 countries, led by the University of Foggia (Italy), in the area of Short Food Supply Chains and has the ambition of stimulating collaborative innovation in the field of Short Food Chains management for the benefit of different EU agriculture sectors, through the improvement of knowledge exchange between researchers and farmers.
The agro-food sector is fundamental to EU competitiveness, being the largest exporter and importer of food products, with over 48 million people employed in Europe (2008). It is not only important from an economic point of view but also highly relevant for culture and identity of a territory, reflecting material and immaterial aspects such as biophysical conditions, traditions and specific know-how. In this sense, food is more than just food: it is part of a territory’s legacy and patrimony.
Food chains usually start at the farm, where some goods may already be processed. However, most of the food produced at the farm passes along various steps before arriving to the consumers: this journey from farm to fork is often very long and passes through several wholesalers, ultimately increasing the distance between farmers and citizens. Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs) initiatives are proliferating as possible alternatives for reducing such distance, while addressing the needs of both consumers and producers. Yet, while examples of SFSCs in Europe are numerous, they are generally fragmented in small experiences. The need is therefore to connect such experiences with each other to support mutual learning about, for instance, how to tackle common obstacles and limits. SKIN has been launched to overcome fragmentation, support, facilitate and boost the development and multiplication of SFSCs initiatives in Europe.
We’ll address these challenges by collecting and sharing experiences in the field of SFSC management and eventually supporting the development of innovative projects in this field. In the next 2 years and half, we will keep you informed about successful SFSCs stories, organize practical workshops and coaching activities to support farmers innovating in SFSC. Ultimately, we aim to support the generation of new collaborative initiatives and stimulate the sector’s competiveness.
If this sounds interesting to you, if you have a Short Food Chains related story or experiences to share, if you would like to be invited at our practical workshops, or even if you just want to know more about our initiative, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We are very proud to welcome you in the SKIN community and we strongly encourage you to continue following us on social media, reading our newsletter and telling us your story!
Sara Djelveh and Prof. Francesco Contò