HelpFood 4.0 aims to test and demonstrate the importance of designing and supporting social infrastructures to make food circular sustainability more practicable by scaling up and replicating the socio-digital innovation experimented in other RIS countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal). The project explores the role of food as an element of reconnection between farmers, citizens, and “eaters” (i.e., citizens more aware of sustainable food issues) through the promotion of Community-Supported Agriculture models as sustainable examples of production, distribution, and consumption of food.
HelpFood 4.0 aims to test and demonstrate the importance of designing, supporting, and running social infrastructure to make food circular sustainability more shared and adopted in everyday life. The shortening of the supply chain could be a solution to improve the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the food supply chain. To promote these changes, it is necessary to work with a multiscale and multilevel approach. The project promotes the sustainability of high-quality food along the food value chain due to cooperation between research organizations and farmers and the promotion of short supply chains. The empowerment of eaters will be pursued by providing information on geographical traceability and nutritional information, with the development of an IT tool allowing eaters to directly visualize the origin of ingredients to be implemented in food labeling.
The project starts from the empirical research developed during the pilot project HelpFood in 2021 and envisages the scaling up and replication of the socio-technical innovation experimented in other RIS countries. In terms of competitiveness and evolution of sustainable food systems within the RIS countries, this project will: (i) enhance the competitiveness of the local ecosystems by identifying new production and market opportunities, with increased returns for the companies as already demonstrated by the EU Geographical Indications’ system; (ii) support innovative value chain design that will improve the competitiveness of small-scale farmers and local distributors; (iii) optimize the local Agrifood supply chain with new digital functionalities and services; (iv) increase citizens' awareness and understanding of the benefits provided by alternative food systems; (v) improve the economic sustainability of local farmers and export the CSA model in other RIS countries; (vi) measure and monitor well-being and progress using both quantitative and qualitative research methods and techniques, (vii) engage local policymakers to make the distribution model more systemic.
In order to do that, the project is structured according to three incremental phases that embrace crosswise the different developing steps of the project idea within 3 years. The first phase coincides with the first year and it is structured according to five work packages (WPs): Scale Up, Scale deep, Scale Through, Scale Out, Management & Communication. It will start on March 1, 2022, and end in December 2022.