Local food as engine for local business
The SMEs in the local food sector are often micro SMEs that have low involvement in clustering, cooperation and innovation, and they have a great potential of playing an important role in creating jobs and opportunities in rural areas. All participating regions have various degrees of policies and experiences regarding the local food sector, and will benefit from sharing knowledge and good practices. The project will improve competitiveness and contribute to sustainability through encouraging local food production and consumption. Objectives LOCFOOD aims to Improve regional policies and strategies regarding the food-related SMEs in rural areas, to enhance entrepreneurship, business development, competitiveness and economic growth. To get an overview and understanding of the existing policies and strategies in the regions, a mapping will be conducted. Internal and external factors that characterise the local food sector in each region will be identified and analyzed to find areas for policy improvement. The regions will share knowledge and exchange experience, including a better understanding of the local food sector, and characteristics of good regional policies and strategies for local food SMEs. Recommendations for regional policymakers will be outlined in a good practice guide. Partnership The partnership consists of 13 partners from 9 countries (NO, SE, UK, CH, IT, ES, EH, SI and BG). The partners include regional authorities, bodies governed by public law and one university. All participating partners are in good position to influence regional policies, and generate and disseminate knowledge. The partnership has various experiences when it comes to creating targeted policies for local food SMEs. All partners share a common interest and have benefits to gain from improving regional policies and strategies for the sector. Activities The main activity of the project is to exchange experience dedicated to the identification and sharing of good practice, through workshops, study visits and regional mapping activities. The activities in Component 3 (Exchange of experiences) will help identify good practices and share knowledge among the participating regions. The results and findings will be outlined in a good practice guide. Outputs and results The outputs of the project are: Conferences, workshops, study visits, mapping of existing policies and internal and external factors influencing the sector, and a good practice guide for policy improvement that will be disseminated to regional policymakers throughout Europe. The expected results of the project are: 12 improved regional policies and strategies, and 39 staff members with improved capacities (knowledge/skills/expertise) resulting from the exchange of experience (3 staff members per partner).