Sustainability in the Mediterranean Area: from the farmer to the plate. A research project by CEMAS with Noelia and Ester Betoret
The Mediterranean region has some peculiarities that make it unique. Its climate and biodiversity, the social habits of its inhabitants and its traditional diet make up a complex food system that deserves to be studied. Noelia and Ester Betoret, researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València, noticed the need for an in-depth reading of the features of this area and their impact on the food system in order to subsequently propose opportunities for improvement. Their proposal was very well received by CEMAS, which endorsed a project that also got the support of the FAO.
The project, titled “Resources, Strategies and Potentialities for Food Sustainability in the Mediterranean Area”, aims to describe and analyse the characteristics of food systems in the Mediterranean Area, focusing on sustainability in each part of the food chain: from the farmer to the plate. In this regard, it seeks to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the food system through a comprehensive analysis. This takes into account three basic aspects: resources available in the different areas; strategies that can be applied in the fight against climate change; and potential of the area to make a difference and facilitate the transition to a sustainable food system.
“We have grown and trained in this area. We are aware that today, more than ever, it is important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of its food system so it can continue to maintain the characteristics that make it so special“, explains Noelia Betoret, an Agricultural Engineer specialising in Agro-Food Industries and Doctor in Food Science, Technology and Management from the Universitat Politècnica de València.
To achieve a comprehensive vision, renowned specialists from different parts of the world participate in the project, each making their contribution from a particular angle. In Spain, the beneficial health aspects of the Mediterranean diet will be highlighted, and the issue of land use and recovery will be analysed. The experts from France will propose alternatives to promote local agriculture. In Italy, they will develop a technological perspective on food use and the reduction of waste generation. For their part, the Algerian experts will carry out an in-depth analysis of the biodiversity of the Mediterranean Area. Finally, the research staff from Greece will focus on social behaviour habits that contribute to the sustainability of the food system.
“One of the most exciting aspects of this project is being able to bring this topic closer to the general public. While aimed at social agents, members of academia and the scientific community, the private sector and the public policy sector, we also want the result to be a book that is intelligible to all, which deals with aspects of everyday life combined with results that come from a scientific process“, states the researcher.
We look forward to the publication of this book.