Beginnings are always crucial, especially when you have in mind achieving important results . In our case, this task has been even more complex as the context is represented by an Interreg Europe financed project, implemented at international level.
FoodChains 4 EU has grown stronger during this first year of implementation as the partnership and the project team have found the necessary resources to successfully work together.
The project team has officially met in January 2017 under the coordination of the lead partner -Province of Flevoland (NL) to tackle financial and project implementation issues.This meeting was just the first milestone in building up a strong project team.
Until the next project event in May 2017, the FoodChain 4 EU team had worked hard on setting up its functional procedures while constantly trying to comply with Interreg Europe rules and expectations. In May, in Sofia and Plovdiv (BG), the project initiated the series of learning events hosted by partner regions, and consequently organized the first Monitoring Board of the project. Both events were highly appreciated by partners, and they were asked at the end to re-construct a jigsaw puzzle that represented the project poster. As this poster contained core information related to our project like: aim, objectives, but also the logos of all partners, the moment contributed to the bonding of the main actors responsible for the implementation of our project.
The end of the first semester represented another milestone for the project partnership, as the first progress report has been submitted. With the involvement of all partners and the constant support of the lead partner the first report has been accepted and even received positive feedback from the Joint Secretariat.
In November 2017, the second learning event and Monitoring Board were organized in Bologna (IT), also highly appreciated by the entire partnership. The participation to the opening of the largest agro-food park in the world - FICO, the good examples of the Italian associations of producers, have driven to the conclusion that these Italian good practices are a rich source of inspiration for the future sustainable development of the food chains in each region.
Being now a mature and functional project team, FoodChains 4 Europe is preparing for another stage in the project implementation : organizing the peer review in each region. With a defined focus theme for each peer review to be organized, a clear interest for exchanging good practices among partner regions, the project is ready to step in the second year of implementation.
Our achievements were possible with the involvement and interest shown by each regional stakeholder for the focus of our project. The growing number and interest of the regional stakeholders in the project activities is a proof that our project tackles up to date issues. Also, partner universities can state that students find appealing the focus of FoodChains 4 Europe, as voluntary research and a minor program have been initiated under the project's umbrella.
With the sense of achievement for the year that is about to end, the FoodChains 4 Europe project team wishes you the brightest holidays and a successful 2018!