Welcome to the web page for the INTERREG IVC funded project LOCFOOD (2012 – 2014) The project aims to improve regional policies and strategies regarding food-related SMEs in rural areas, to enhance entreprenurship, business development, competetivenes and economic growth.
The Interreg IVC projects Locfood and I4Food hosted, under the name Regions of Food, their final conference in Brussels during the Open Days on the 7. of October 2014. Under the headline «From local foods to competetitive and sustainable food production», the two projects gave presentations of the project activities, results and recommondations.
Regions of Food regional partnership comprises of project partners coming from I4Food and LOCFOOD INTERREG IVC projects. Being the final conference of the two projects, the event introduced place-based food industry solutions having potential to transfer from one European region to another. In terms of local product and production, SMEs are needed to be equipped with knowledge on business development, how to handle growth, cooperation, logistics, market knowledge etc. Competitiveness and sustainability issues are also necessary to deal with as it is a must to participate on the European and world market, also to contribute to European and regional social-economic-territorial cohesion.
The questions and answers section referred to vital issues in terms of food industry, namely its importance in employment for rural areas and for tackling the unemployment of the young, drawing attention to secondary education and training programmes. When speaking about organic foods, the necessary conditions for effective logistics, profitable marketing and sales should be created, too. INTERREG EUROPE Programme could play significant role in enhancing these messages in the 2014-2020 programming period by supporting interregional experience exchange.
On the attatched page from the Open Days 2014 magazine you can read more about the presentations and discussions taking place at the event.
The production of local food brings many benefits to regional economies including employment, whilst enhancing the reputation of local regions for their food expertise and culture and supporting sustainable farming. Food is an important part of the culture of a region with tourists seeking to explore authentic experiences when visiting from another country. Small and micro food producers contribute to the fabric of the local rural community and the development of a local food culture and local food products and are a key component in developing a diverse, sustainable economy that reflects local cultural heritage and pride in local food. This project seeks to capture the benefits that local food brings to regions across
the European Union.
Considering the large number of small to medium sized enterprise SMEs and micro enterprises in the local food sector in Europe and the challenges encountered by such small producers, regional strategies are of utmost importance to increase their competitiveness and success. The need for exchange of experience and sharing of good practices among European policy makers to further develop common policies and strategies is great.
The European Union (EU) funded INTERREG IVC LOCFOOD (Local Food as an Engine for Local Business) project started in 2012 and will end in December 2014. The aim of the LOCFOOD project is to improve regional policies and strategies regarding food-related SMEs in rural areas, to enhance entrepreneurship, business development, competitiveness and economic growth.
The specific project objectives are to:
• Gain an overview and understanding of the existing policies and strategies concerning SMEs and
entrepreneurship and innovation in the local food sector, in the participating regions. The project is made up of 13 European project partners including one university, one farmers union, local councils and business development agencies from 9 countries. The lead partner is Nordland County Council, Norway.
• Share knowledge and exchange experience, including better understanding of the local food sector.
The project consists of three work packages:
1. Management and co-ordination of the LOCFOOD project, led by Nordland County Council.
2. Communication and dissemination of the project findings from LOCFOOD, led by Region of Marche, Italy.
3. Exchange of experiences dedicated to the identification and analysis of good practices, led by the
Ulster Business School, University of Ulster.
To meet the project aim and objectives, each partner region undertook a number of work tasks over the period of the project. Each of these tasks are now summarised.