SALSA partners gather in Brașov, Romania, for the project’s last Annual Consortium Meeting, hosted by Highclere Consulting

Nearly fourty SALSA consortium members met in Brașov, Romania, from 13-17 May 2019 on the occasion of the 4th project’s annual meeting. The week served the broad range of researchers and experts, involved in SALSA for the last three years, to review, synthesize and interpret the results achieved to-date. It was also the opportunity to plan upcoming activities for the year ahead and beyond 2020, as well as to strategize how to best disseminate these results.

Macro-Regional Workshop for Central and Eastern Europe regions

The week kicked off on Monday with the Macro-Regional Workshop for Central and Eastern Europe regions under scrutiny in SALSA. Key stakeholders and policy experts gathered from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. They helped formulate  evidence-based recommendations regarding the adequate policy tools and practical mechanisms that can help boost the contribution of small farmers and small food businesses to the regional food and nutrition security.

Productive discussion

The Annual Consortium Meeting consisted of several group activity formats, including open space and world-café discussions. SALSA partners refined SALSA’s key messages and identified ways to enhance their dissemination impact.

A reflexive learning exercise conducted by Chris Blackmore, Open University, United Kingdom was key for gathering and structuring knowledge from SALSA’s multi-disciplinary and multi-perspective project. SALSA partners learnt together how to take an appreciative and critically reflexive stance in the remaining work ahead for the Project.

“The discussions helped us realise the massive work that we have been doing together to enlarge the little knowledge and understanding about the reality of small farms, and also to prove how crucial their contribution to food security in many regions is,” said Teresa Pinto Correia (Universidade de Évora, Portugal), scientific coordinator of the project.

SALSA enters now the home stretch of the project in which results’ dissemination will be crucial. “Communication is an essential part of doing research. This is why we have made a great effort to come up with a detailed communication work plan for the last year based on the recommendations received from the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission,” said Karin Nichterlein (FAO), co-leader of the Joint Learning and Communications component of the SALSA project.

Field visit

The meeting’s busy schedule offered nonetheless time for SALSA consortium members to discover Romania’s countryside thanks to a half-day visit to two small farms located in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains organized by the host partner, Highclere Consulting. Besides getting to know more about small farmers’ reality and current challenges, participants could appreciate Transylvanian gastronomy, arts and crafts and cultural heritage sites, as well as traditional singing presented by youth of this exquisite rural region.

Photos: Giulia Palestini, Alberto Trillo Barca