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Best practice: Bio-districts

(CLICK HERE FOR THE SWEDISH VERSION OF THIS BUSINESS CASE)

TYPE OF CASE/THEME

Support for organic food production, rural development, ecotourism, public-private partnerships within the food system, environmental protection, creating local sustainable food systems.

INITIATIVE IN SHORT

The formation of Bio-districts is about bringing together different actors within a region to jointly find solutions for developing ecologically, socially and economically sustainable food systems grounded on nature-based solutions.

IN WHAT WAY BEST PRACTICE?

The Bio-district in Cilento has succeeded in creating collaboration between the region's 40 municipalities to protect the nature of the region. At the same time, it has also achieved important rural development, attracting young people to the region, creating jobs and more sustainable tourism.

This successful initiative has been spread to other places and was recently highlighted in the EU's Action Plan for organic production. The Action Plan encourages Member States to support the development and implementation of Bio-districts and describes Bio-districts in the following way:

“‘Bio districts’ have proven successful in integrating organic farming and other local activities to enhance tourist appeal also in areas that are off the mainstream tourist track. A ‘Bio district’ is a geographical area where farmers, the public, tourist operators, associations and public authorities enter into an agreement for the sustainable management of local resources, based on organic principles and practices. The aim is to maximise the economic and sociocultural potential of the territory. Each ‘Bio district’ includes lifestyle, nutrition, human relations and nature considerations. This results in local agricultural production that is appreciated by consumers and hence has a higher market value.”

Ref. Action Plan for Organic Production in EU, 2.4 ”Reinforcing local and small-volume processing and fostering short trade circuit”.

BACKGROUND

The term Bio-districts comes from Italy, where the first Bio-district was established in 2004 in the Cilento region, which consists of 40 municipalities. There are now 48 Bio-districts in Europe gathered in the International Network of Eco-Regions - I.N.N.E.R. Another network, Global Alliance for Organic Districts, GAOD, has also been launched to promote the exchange of knowledge and the formation of Bio-districts globally. In Sweden, Norway, and Finland the first steps are now being taken to initiate the processes of forming Bio-districts.

Bio-districts as a concept has recently received support from the EU within the goal of 25% organically cultivated area by 2030 (A European Green Deal, Farm to Fork Strategy and Action Plan for Organic Production). The Action Plan for Organic Production in EU addresses the establishment of eco-districts as a measure under Chapter 2.4. "Strengthen local and small-scale processing and promote short goods transports".

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The International Network of Eco-Regions (IN.N.E.R) provides a methodology and toolbox for the establishment, operation and evaluation of Bio-districts. As a member of the network, one also receives support in the implementation process and exchange of experience with other Bio-districts. At the end of a completed establishment of a new Bio-district, a certificate is issued. A Bio-district can be managed by a public-private non-profit organization formed for that purpose, alternatively by, for example, a municipality or an association already in operation. Initially, one or more public forums will be held to create a committee of actors who will work for the establishment of a Bio-district. The establishment process also includes creating thematic work groups and a strategy that includes guidelines for communication and education. The Bio-district methodology emphasizes the importance of participatory and inclusive processes to achieve good results.

MORE READING

IN.N.E.R International Network of Eco Region: Organic districts or Bio-districts or Eco-regions

GAOD Global Alliance for Organic Districts, GAOD plattform

CONTACT

Initiatives to establish a Bio-districts are currently taking their first steps in Sweden, Norway and Finland. For more information: Jostein Hertwig, BERAS International.

AN INITIATIVE FROM PROJECT MATLUST'S TRANSNATIONAL COMPONENT

MatLust is an EU project with the purpose of strengthening growth and sustainability within the food industry in the Stockholm region. In MatLust’s transnational component we are looking for best practice and good examples in the Baltic Sea region. Areas of interest are sustainable business models for SME in the food sector, innovative applications of public procurement and Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) and initiatives for more resilient food systems. Good examples are documented and spread via MatLust's website and events.

Maria Micha

Forskningsrelaterade samarbeten, MatLust Utvecklingsnod samt Projektledare, Mineralskiftet
Tel: 08-523 064 40
E-post

Uppdaterad: 22 december 2021
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