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Short supply chain Knowledge and Innovation Network

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SKIN (Short supply chain Knowledge and Innovation Network)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

"SKIN was a challenging initiative of 22 partners in 15 countries in the area of Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs). Addressing the main issue of the research divide and a better deployment of existing scientific knowledge SKIN brought to the creation of a thematic network on SFSC.
The project originated from an analysis of the role of SFSC in achieving the twin goal of sustainable agricultural production in economic, environmental and social terms (including multifunctionality) and enhanced competitiveness of European farmers.
Although competitiveness and sustainability of the agrifood sector can be enhanced through innovation at the level of individual farms or producers, additional gains can be obtained through innovation at the level of the supply chain itself. This requires cooperation between the different actors involved as well as leadership to drive the overall innovation agenda.
The main challenge for SKIN has been to bring the community closer and create a network for the improvement of SFSCs efficiency and for the benefit of stakeholders and growth in the sector.
The overall SKIN objective was to tackle such fragmentation in the access to different practice models, systematise information and data available, empower the potential innovators in the agrifood chains and create a EU community, serving as a permanent platform for knowledge exchange, transnational cooperation, promotion of innovation and generation of input to policy maker. To this aim, a virtual community of practice ""Keep-it-Short"" has been created and now implemented."
The first step to build the community was represented by the identification of SFSC good practices (GPs). It was produced an interactive, intuitively navigable handbook for their identification, collection and recording. The ‘GPs recording template’, generated information relevant to end-users and EIP-AGRI practice abstracts. These tools were used throughout the project lifetime for the GPs collection.
SKIN partners were actively performing the collection of GPs, divided in two phases. During phase 1 partners collected GPs in their regions/countries, whereas in phase 2 additional GPs were identified outside the SKIN area in order to enlarge the GPs repository and cover different cases. More than 160 good practices have been collected (http://www.shortfoodchain.eu/good-practices/). Based on these, overall trends and bottlenecks were found and foresight scenarios for the development of SFSCs in Europe were developed. SKIN partners built up a strategy on ‘How to create the stakeholder database’ and an internal stakeholders list of contacts was created with about 3.000 stakeholders, whereas the SKIN community has grown with more than 200 registered people. Guidelines for learning and brokering activities and for stakeholders engagement were delivered and used as main tools during networking events. Partners are now inviting stakeholders to join the virtual community of practice in order to maintain the SKIN network alive after the project end.
The organization of 6 Innovation Challenge Workshops (ICWs) represented an important occasion to strengthen the network, meet stakeholders, share GPs and catch new ideas. These ICWs were focused on different topics, in particular it was discussed about fresh products, new skills in agriculture, AKIS, consumers, technologies, logistics and regulations. In every ICW roughly 50 people participated and experts were invited to discuss on specific topics and share their experiences also as GPs. Generally, the ICWs were organized to combine field visits directly at the GPs premises and a networking session to improve interaction among participants. During these events the experts and GPs representatives were interviewed and 36 short videos are available on the project website. Moreover, out of each ICW different materials for dissemination purposes were prepared and distributed through the dissemination channels.
39 Regional Nodes (RNs) were identified around the SKIN countries and a dedicated section was dedicated on the project website to disseminate the news related to the RNs events. Moreover, several initiatives and activities, including coaching and internal coaching for trainers, to support multidisciplinary groups and promote new innovative projects were carried out.
"The specific elements coming from the collected GPs were relevant not only to SFSCs but also to SMEs and policy makers. A good example is represented by the proposal of a regional law in Apulia (Italy) in order to support and valorize local agrifood business as zero km products, considering some inputs from the SKIN experience and knowledge.
The overall trends and bottlenecks identified based on the collection of good practices were used during the foresight activities resulting in concrete and provocative inputs into different community building events. These community building events made the collected GPs accessible and exploitable by those who would benefit the most from them. The main aspects coming from the foresight exercise, led to the production of 4 different presentations (available on the SKIN website), and focused on specific aspects to provide those involved in regional, urban or rural development policy, with some ideas of how they can enhance the creativity of their city by developing creative clusters and new entrepreneurial ventures based on new and emerging models of local food systems, and by linking these with the circular bio-economy.
The community building and animation enlarged the internal contacts list and registered database by engaging more stakeholders especially during the second period with the organization of the ICWs.
The adoption of the bottom-up approach and creation of RNs was successful implemented, indeed local stakeholders involvement allowed to identify the specific needs of the local markets. Bringing together different endusers and make them cross-fertilize, exchange their approaches, thus promoting knowledge-based agriculture and innovation-driven research resulted useful. This facilitated the knowledge share between scientists and practitioners on agrifood practices during the foreseen coaching sessions where the existing knowledge was brought and shared.

The expected impact related to communication and dissemination activities are outlined below:
• Multimedia and storytelling formats:
- Video formats: 6 videos produced (Project institutional video short, Project institutional video long and web videos);
- Video interviews: 36 interviews carried out at the different Innovation Challenge Workshop;
- Storytelling: 1 pageflow summarizing SKIN and 6 short videos related to the topics covered at the ICWs and grouped as glossary;
• Press and News releases: 6
• Journalistic articles and interviews: 6
• E-Newsletters: 1 every 6 months.
• Social Media:
- LinkedIn: 55 members;
- Twitter: 770 followers;
- Facebook: >100 members.
Moreover, 9 scientific papers have been published and others are in progress. In particular, 4 papers based on the SKIN main outputs are included in a special issue of the International journal ""Studies in Agricultural Economics"" dedicated to the SFSC.
Thanks to all the networking and dissemination activities at different levels, SKIN has obtained high visibility making people aware of the different aspects related to the SFSC and to the importance of food quality through the whole chain."
SKIN core visual
SKIN good practices map
"SKIN stakeholders during the field trip of ""Innovation Challenge Workshop"" on fresh products"
"SKIN stakeholders during the networking dinner of ""Innovation Challenge Workshop on fresh products"""
SKIN logo
The SKIN team during the project meeting in Mechelen (Belgium)
The SKIN Approach for knowledge exchange