A Participatory Guarantee System for Indigenous-led Slow Food Presidia

Within the framework of the IFAD-funded project “Empowering Indigenous Youth and their Communities to Defend and Promote their Food Heritage,” a pilot PGS initiative was launched to increase Presidia traceability and the level of guarantee of quality according to Slow Food (good products, produced cleanly and fairly) of two indigenous Slow Food Presidia: Ogiek Honey and Oaxaca Mixteca Agave (Maguey in Spanish). At the same time another Presidium in Italy, the Lucca Red Bean, was also following the same path.

The PGS is a tool consistent with alternative modes of conceiving and organizing food systems. It is based on an innovative holistic approach, combines several dimensions of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) with technical and traditional knowledge and emphasizes other aspects such as equity, solidarity and justice. Furthermore, in the context of food-related value chains, a PGS represents the building block of the multi-stakeholder platform responsible for the governance of the value chain itself.

Slow Food, following an internal debate aimed at identifying a credible control system that would also be respectful of the specific characteristics of its action model, identified the PGS as a possible instrument that could meet its complex organizational needs.

The overall goal of the project was to empower indigenous youth and their communities, improve the livelihoods of beneficiaries by protecting and promoting their food heritage and upholding the sustainability and resilience of their practice.

The case study included visits to Presidia to carry out interviews, focus groups, meetings and direct observation of achievements and to canvass the views of direct and indirect stakeholders about strengths and weaknesses, areas for improvement and prospects for sustainability.

Conclusion

The analysis shows that the Slow Fodd model of PGS, based on the two pilot experiences supported through the IFAD grant and further validated through the SF-funded PGS in the Lucca Red Bean Presidium, is highly appropriate for strengthening the SF Presidium model.

The PGS has proved to be a valuable additional component of the Presidia, that contributed to strengthening a sense of belonging to the group and generating further empowerment of members, who have full control and ownership over the quality of the production process and its final output.

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