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SALSA – Small farms, small food businesses and sustainable food and nutrition security

SALSA research project aims to provide a better understanding of the current and potential contribution of small farms and food businesses to sustainable food and nutrition security in 25 regions of Europe and five in Africa. FAO’s main role is to coordinate the communications and joint learning of the project, and assist linking research work on enabling policies to FAO SP1 work.

What the project does

The four-year project involves a consortium of 16 European and African partners that include universities, research institutions and farmers’ organizations. SALSA partners are collaborating in assessing the role of small farms and small food businesses in delivering a sustainable and secure supply of affordable, nutritious and culturally adequate food.

SALSA is being implemented through an integrated multi-method approach in 30 regions in Europe and Africa, using the most recent satellite technologies, transdisciplinary approaches, food systems mapping and participatory foresight analysis in order to produce evidence based policy recommendations. 

Using these tools, the project takes a food systems perspective in understanding the role of small farms and small food businesses for household, rural and urban food security. SALSA also seeks to understand the role of small food businesses and other key actors in the ability of small farms to remain integrated in regional markets and therefore to maintain and enhance their contribution to food and nutrition security.

The SALSA project is funded by the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 of the European Union, which is gratefully acknowledged by all SALSA partners.

Background

The main actions are organized in “work packages” (WP). More details can be found here:

  • WP1. Transdisciplinary theory building and analytical framework
  • WP2. Estimation of small farms distribution and production potential
  • WP3. In-depth assessment of food systems in 30 reference regions
  • WP4. Participatory foresight analysis
  • WP5. Analysis of the governance of small farmer organization and food chains
  • WP6. Enabling conditions for small farms and small food businesses
  • WP7. Communication and joint learning
  • WP8. Project management and coordination

Inside the project: the production of food system maps

Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) is typically analysed from a consumption perspective.  However, the SALSA project has adopted a more holistic, food system approach that examines the role of small farms in FNS in the context of both production and consumption.

SALSA researchers have collected data from 30 selected Reference Regions in Europe and Africa through a combination of desk work and by interviewing experts of regional food systems, small-scale farmers and representatives of small food businesses.

Detailed regional food system maps have been produced and validated in Focus Groups and regional workshops with local farmers and small food businesses. This research approach is allowing researchers to compare very diverse food systems from different regions and to develop more comprehensive recommendations for maintaining and enhancing the contribution of small farms and small food businesses to food and nutrition security.

Partners

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