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SALSA Report Summary

Project ID: 677363
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SALSA (Small farms, small food businesses and sustainable food security)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"The overall goal of SALSA ""Small Farms, Small Food Businesses and Sustainable Food Security"" is to develop a better understanding of the current and potential contribution of small farms to Food and Nutrition Security (FNS). In addressing this goal, SALSA contributes to tackling research gaps that have become more clearly recognizable in conjunction with the recent global crises which also affected the food distribution and prices. FNS has become a major concern, not only in developing countries but also in Europe.
The work carried out in the first reporting period had the following four more operational objectives (the related specific objectives from the DoW are referred to in brackets):
(1)Provide the conceptual foundations for all subsequent work (contributing to specific objectives 1 and 2)
(2)Select the 30 reference regions and provide an analysis of Sentinel 2 data on small farms (specific objectives 1, 2 and 3)
(3)Provide the methodological guidelines for the in-depth analysis in the reference regions and kick-off data collection (specific objectives 1 and 2)
(4)Present the project to relevant audiences and to establish suitable platforms at relevant levels (specific objectives 4 and 5)


Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The EU-funded SALSA project officially started on 1 April 2016. The kick-off meeting took place in Évora, Portugal on 17-21 April 2016.
The more detailed discussion that follows, is structured by the four more practical, operational objectives referred to earlier.

(1) Provision of the conceptual foundations for all subsequent work (contributing to specific objectives 1 and 2)
•Relevant theoretical frameworks have been identified and connected in a holistic approach that pays attention to all four components of FNS: availability of nutritious and safe food, food access (including affordability), food utilisation, and food stability (WP1, T1.1)
•Boundaries for all analyses and key terms were defined (WP1, T1.1)
•A transdisciplinary process with experts of different disciplines and stakeholders was kicked-off to support conceptual development (WP1, T1.2)

(2) Preparation of small farm maps for Europe, identification of reference regions, analysis of Sentinel 2 (specific objectives 1 and 2)
•A detailed data analysis was carried out leading to a map of the distribution and relevance of small farms in Europe. To support this, a major consultation with national experts in all countries covered by the project was carried out (WP2, T.2.1)
•The 30 reference regions were selected (districts or NUTS 3). The 25 European regions were to be representative of small farm situations across Europe. The 5 African regions were to provide a sufficiently diverse spectrum of situations (WP2, T.2.2).
•Sentinel 2 data were analysed to support the identification of small farms and of the relevant land use and cropping patterns (WP2, T.2.3)

(3) Preparation and kick-starting of the in-depth analysis in the reference regions (contributing to specific objectives 1 and 2).
•First enquiries in the reference regions were carried out (T3.1) to get a first idea of the food systems in the regions, and to identify relevant stakeholders (T3.2)
•The methodological guidelines for the first round of fieldwork in the reference regions were elaborated, and data collection and analysis were kick-started in a sub-set of regions (WP3, T3.3).
•A training course for project team members on empirical methods to be applied in the reference regions was organized (WP3, T.3.3; not originally planned, but found necessary for improving data quality).
•Not originally planned at this early stage but found necessary for a more targeted data gathering in WP3: A background paper on gender issues and how to address them was elaborated (WP5, T5.2;); a list of key questions related to the governance of small farmer organisations and food chains was elaborated (WP5, T5.1/T5.3); a list of key questions related to policy and enabling conditions was elaborated (WP6, T6.1).

(4) Presentation of the project to relevant audiences and contributions to relevant discussions (contributing to specific objectives 4 and 5)
•An Expert-Stakeholder-Panel (ESP) was established to accompany the project (WP7, T7.1)
•A more detailed communication and impact plan was elaborated to increase the impact and sustainability of the outcomes of SALSA (WP7, T7.2-3)
•Communities of Practice on the questions addressed in SALSA are promoted at international, national and regional levels (WP7, T7.2)
•Suitable platforms for exchanges among researchers, practitioners and policy-makers were elaborated (WP7, T7.3). The two main platforms are: the SALSA project website and FAO's TECA platform (
•The basic structure of a Living Document on small farms, small agri-food businesses and FNS was elaborated. The document presents the key outcomes and findings from the SALSA project (WP7, T7.4)
•A first e-conference was organized on the key questions raised in the project and the ways we plan to address them (WP7, T7.5)
•We are regularly feeding our results into relevant discussions in European networks and platforms. Examples are the High-level EU-Africa Policy Dial

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

(1) Research-related progress and impacts
SALSA goes beyond previous research as it connects its analysis of food availability, i.e. increasing the production of food, with an analysis of food access, especially for low-income groups, and the related question of the resilience of food systems. The 30 regions reflect a tremendous diversity of small farms and food systems in Europe and Africa. Taken together, SALSA provides a better understanding of the role of small farms and small food businesses in meeting the sustainable FNS challenge.

(2) Practice-related progress and impacts
The SALSA team has developed and is piloting an approach that helps to overcome the limitations of official statistics on small farms and regional food systems. The set of maps of small-scale farming in Europe that has been produced is cutting-edge. The empirical work implemented in SALSA is highlighting the co-evolution between small farms and their particular contexts. The SALSA team also engages with relevant stakeholders and decision-makers to facilitate a dialogue that cuts across classical boundaries in research, policy and practice which finds its expression in numerous dissemination and engagement activities. Overall however, it is too early to discuss the socio-economic impact and wider societal implications of the project.

(3) Policy-related progress and impacts
The in-depth understanding of the role of small farms in FNS in different regional situations is supporting decision-making in both the private and public sectors. The insights that we are obtaining from SALSA help already to better tailor international cooperation and future research collaboration. Contributions to policy-making and related to the identification of new development models for the agro-food sector will mainly be forthcoming in subsequent work.

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