Small farms, small food businesses and sustainable food and nutrition security - an overview
The important role that small farms play in supporting rural livelihoods, conserving biodiversity and maintaining traditional landscapes, rural traditions and cultural heritage is widely accepted. Nevertheless, they are often under the radar of the agriculture policy mechanisms, which tend to focus on the very large farms and globally driven food chains.
The EU-funded SALSA project set out to examine a potentially important role of small farms – their contribution to food security. SALSA recognises the tremendous diversity of small farms and food systems in Europe and Africa, and pays particular attention to their vulnerability and resilience. Aiming to provide effective tools to guide decision-makers, SALSA uses a food systems perspective to go beyond production capacity and look at food security in terms food availability, access and control, utilisation, and stability.
Research was conducted in 30 regions (NUTS3 level) of 19 countries in Europe and Africa. The number of small farms varies from country to country, but in all the analysed regions, they were found to be strategic players in their regional food systems.
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