Five young people that belong to the Slow Food Community Rede Jovem Slow Food Brasil who come from different parts of the country, and have different backgrounds, created a free online map to help producers and consumers to eat good, clean, and fair food during the Covid Emergency.
I’m 28 years old and I live in the south of Brazil. I work in communication and have been a member of Slow food since 2014. I like to get involved in all the SF activities, especially campaigns where I can use my skills to promote the clean, good, and fair philosophy. I am also part of a group of five people that belong to the Slow Food Community Rede Jovem Slow Food Brasil. We are from different parts of the country and have diverse backgrounds.
My friends and colleagues are Caio Bonamigo Dorigon, 29 years old, a Brazilian gastronome and researcher. He became a Slow Food activist in 2014, and he has been working to promote and develop better food systems ever since. Glauber Soares, 28 years old, lives in the northeast of Brazil. He is a gastronome and a professor of gastronomy. He has been part of Slow Food since 2015. Together with the SFYN Brasil family he has been experiencing enriching activities and spreading our philosophy.
Paulo Dantas, 26 years old, is a production engineer and lives in South Bahia – Brazil. He has been volunteering on Slow Food since 2016 because he loves how Slow Food can encourage people to eat and live better, understanding food in its full importance.
Camila Rocha, 32 years old, lives in the countryside of southern Brazil. She is a cook and a professor, she has been a member of Slow Food since 2011. She likes to discover people, ingredients, and cultures that are part of the Slow Food philosophy, to strengthen her history and promote Good, clean, and fair food. And finally, Thalita, who is a journalist and a cook, is passionate about food and its social implications and has been a member of Slow Food since 2011. She researches food culture as a heritage, its inventories, and the role of civil society organizations in safeguarding these assets.
During the beginning of the pandemic, in an online Community meeting, we all felt the urge to come up with some initiative that could be helpful for those producers, restaurants, and small businesses in need. And that was when the idea of a map came up.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Slow Food Campania, in Italy, surveyed 92 farmers and stated that with the suspension of farmer markets and increasingly stringent regulatory restrictions, 76% of them lost more than half their turnover to this crisis and that 38% saw their revenues suddenly fall to zero, while only 9.5% improved their sales thanks to the possibility of making deliveries and shipments. Knowing that situation could also happen in Brazil because the Brazilian farmer’s markets were being closed, the SFYN Brazil put its efforts to create a response trying to reduce the impact on the good, clean, and fair Brazilian system.
Our idea was to put consumers in contact with producers. On one hand, making access to good, clean, and fair food easier, on the other hand, creating a showcase/catalog for producers to sell their products. The objective was to do it in an easy and fast way since it was an urgent matter. Even with everybody having a day job, we all committed to taking a little time every day to start the map because it felt important to start it as soon as possible.
So, SFYN Brasil created an interactive map to connect sustainable producers, restaurants, and consumers in Brazil.
Through our communication channels, we spent some time organizing the work, defining the tools, and the strategy. So, we split the tasks and started building the registration form, setting the map platform, and designing the campaign. Although it was hard work, in the beginning, it was also always light and pleasant, because we’re a very united group that gets along well together. And even being physically distant from each other was not a problem, we had a very respectful and committed way of working together by always going back to the group when a task is done or when an issue comes up, knowing that there will be someone there to give support. Once the first steps were done and the map was online, we started promoting it inside and outside the Slow Food Brasil network, and for some months we spent part of our free time updating the map.
We were very happy about the success of our initiative since we were not expecting it would reach so many people. The lockdown was also hitting the good, clean, and fair local business, so the map also includes restaurants, bistros, cafés, local markets, because of this holistic approach, we also received strong support from Brazilian chefs, food activists, and food influencers.
We are glad to know that so many consumers are interested in looking for local options and buying directly from producers and that many people Share. And also, glad to give this exposure to all the local producers and small food businesses and initiatives.
Till today, the map has more than 450 sustainable producers, 150 restaurants registered with more than 140.000 accesses. People got the opportunity to enter in contact with sustainable producers and restaurants in all Brazilian regions. Since not all the producers and restaurants are directly involved with Slow Food, SFB got a new database with new sustainable producers and restaurants aligned with the movement philosophy and with the envy of participating in the movement.
The most important part of the project was the team and the network. The team worked together to bring to life and update the map constantly, and the network had a huge impact on sharing the campaign.
From this experience, we learned that there is a big interest from the consumers to connect with sustainable producers and a big lack of information about how they could do it.
Potentially, everyone could create a map like ours to help producers and consumers get more information and find each other easily.
It takes very few steps, such as finding a good team, people who are interested in putting energy into the project, and being organized and careful with the information you are collecting for creating a map. It is not a very difficult process, although it is very demanding in terms of time. And finally, trust the network: a collaborative map only works if producers and consumers know about it.