November 25th, 2022, Sant Martí Empúries (Catalunya, Spain)
About twenty people of l’Empordà, including artisanal fishers, chefs, restaurateurs, community supported schemes, the Solidarity Economy movement, and local NGOs such as “The Sepia Project” have gathered together to form the “Foodnected Community of Practice in l’Empordà”, an initiative promoted by Europejscy rybacy o niskim wpływie na środowisko and its members Arts Menors Costa Brava, as part of the Foodnected Project.
Foodnected is the result of the collective efforts of several organizations with the intention of helping to transform the current food system in the Mediterranean into a fairer and more sustainable one. Thus, the project has helped facilitate the emergence of short-chain food systems, both on land and at sea, that work for nature and people, bringing producers and consumers together through local Communities of Practice, grounded in shared values. The project has encompassed several pilot sites in the Mediterranean, one of them being in l’Empordà, where concretely it has helped in the creation of Empesca’t, a direct sales system and a brand of quality, sustainability and fair trade of the products of the small-scale fishers of l’Estartit and has been operating satisfactorily since last June. At the same time, a group of key actors within the local value chain of l’Empordà has been brought together.
The meeting on the 25th has been the first constitutive meeting of this Community of Practice, in which was not only celebrated the birth of Empesca’t in a more official way, but it was also a space for the actors who make this model possible to get to know each other and reflect together, now as a group, on the next steps and roadmap to achieve a fairer and more sustainable food system in the Empordà area.
“This summer we launched this brand and now we need everyone’s collaboration, that’s why we say that Empesca’t is not looking for customers only, who can serve our products, but collaborators so that they can be our voice to consumers of what we do at sea”, says Isaac Moya, small-scale fisher and one of the founders of Empesca’t.
“From LIFE we have helped make Empesca’t a reality and we are very proud of the work done by the fishers. We saw, however, that it was necessary to work on generating the complicity of a community of people around them who understood and valued the added value of their products to ensure its success and its viability. That’s why spaces for reflection like today’s and weaving the will and trust of all the actors to move forward together is very important and hopeful”, says Marta Cavallé, LIFE’s Mediterranean coordinator.
“By supporting Empesca’t we protect a little bit everything -from the consumer to the environment-, but most especially we protect this new generation of young fishers who want to do things differently and have interpreted the market scenario in a wonderful way”, says Jordi Jaques, chef of the El Molí de l’Escala restaurant.
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