How to measure the sustainability of Slow Food Presidia
What results can be seen from the Presidium project? Can the Presidia’s environmental, social and cultural impacts be measured?
The Presidia have positive effects on their local area and the community. Producers can sell their products at prices that better reflect their value. They establish important links with chefs, institutions, the press, and academia. Certain aspects of production are often changed, such as reducing or eliminating the use of synthetic chemicals, while transparency and communication are improved (through the narrative label, by recounting their products in films and interviews, etc.).
The speed of change that the Presidia bring about varies depending on their geographic and social context, the type of product, and the strength of the Slow Food network in the local area. To measure these results, the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, the University of Turin, and the University of Palermo have come up with a method of analyzing the sustainability of the Presidia, which brings together quantitative and qualitative parameters and takes into consideration three levels of sustainability: socio-cultural, environmental and economic.
An example: Resia Garlic Presidium – Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
When the Presidium was founded in 2004, Resia garlic was cultivated for domestic consumption only. There was no form of organization or production rules and the producers had no relationship with institutions, the press, or the Slow Food network.
A few years later, the producers had joined together in an association, they had a production protocol and a shared brand and had started organizing an annual festival for Resia garlic. They were selling their garlic on the local and national market, processing it into pickles and spreads, receiving economic support from the Resia municipality and the Prealpi Giulie park, and technical assistance from Cirmont (the International Center for Mountain Research), the park, and the University of Udine.
When the Presidium started, the quality of the soil and the water were excellent, as were cultivation practices, so the group of producers had an excellent starting point.
Caption clockwise from the center top:
- Product use
- Internal relationships
- External relationships
- History, culture, link with the place
- Soil and water
- Crop protection
The red (T1) shows the progress made in various areas over ten years, thanks to the Presidium’s actions. The further from the center, the more significant the progress has been. Particular improvements can be seen in the producers’ external relationships and the adoption of new processed products made with the garlic, which helps with sales but also avoids waste by using up all of the harvests. The development over a decade has been remarkable.
On this page, you will find two dossiers containing the synthesis of the results of 50 of these analyses.
Climate change is the most complex challenge humanity has ever faced. Food production is one of its main drivers. According to the FAO, the food sector is responsible for 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Slow Food is working with producers to measure and reduce the environmental impact of food production. In collaboration with INDACO2 (whose name stands for environmental INDicators and CO2), we measured the environmental sustainability of some Slow Food Presidium producers, analyzing the entire life cycle of their products.
A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology was used, calculating the carbon footprint, in other words, an estimation of the greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) emitted into the atmosphere during the life cycle of a product.
The environmental sustainability of Slow Food Presidia
The emissions generated by extensive, small-scale farms (like those of the Presidia) are much lower than those produced by intensive agriculture. In most of the cases examined, emissions were 30% less than for analogous conventional products. What’s more, the presence of plant cover on the farm’s land can compensate for emissions. Vegetation acts as a carbon sink, and in some cases even captures more carbon than the farm emits.
Choosing Presidium products helps limit global warming!
Click here to see the results of the INDACO2 evaluations.
Here you can find a kit containing material that can be downloaded and printed to communicate the Presidium project and individual Slow Food Presidia.
- Slow Food Presidia
- Slow Food Presidium Regulations 2020
- Individual Presidium postcard
- Presidia postcard