Learn about Intermediate Food Value Chains and earn a certificate!

Learn about Intermediate Food Value Chains and earn a certificate!

The FAIRCHAIN e-learning programme begins with the launch of the first course, ‘Introduction to Intermediate Food Value Chains (IFVC)’, available from 16 May to 15 July and open to anyone, anywhere, and at any time of day!

After taking this course, you will understand differences between existing FVCs, the development of an IFVC definition, the benefits and challenges in the transition towards IFVCs, and projects/pilots/examples/ways to get involved in IFVCs. The course is open to anyone interested in food chains at any educational level yet geared towards i) farmers and producers who may adapt to their own business what others have successfully developed; ii) policy makers and regulators who may learn about programs and initiatives that benefit all local food chain participants; and iii) consumers who may understand the diversity of FVCs and decide the level of engagement they may have in their own community.

This fully independent online course is structured into five chapters organised as innovative microlearning lessons. These include short videos, PowerPoint presentations, interactive e-learning activities, reading of scientific and lay articles, and website visits. Each microlearning lesson takes only 3 to 8 minutes to complete! And you may start, stop, and come back to the lessons at any time and as often as you wish. Short quizzes monitor your progress throughout, and, in total, the course should take 90 to 120 minutes to complete. All who complete the course successfully will receive a FAIRCHAIN certificate.

The e-learning course is available on the ISEKI-Food Association’s Moodle Platform and easily accessible via the FAIRCHAIN-managed Sustainable Food System Innovation Platform, free of charge!

FAIRCHAIN will be at the Sustainability Science Days Conference 2022

FAIRCHAIN will be at the Sustainability Science Days Conference 2022

FAIRCHAIN partners will deliver three oral presentations on Wednesday, 18 May 2022.

  1. Intermediate value chains as new model for local and regional actors in the agro-food-system – a path towards a sustainable transition? –  Tanja Kaufmann, Bärbel Hüsing, Ariane Voglhuber-Slavinsky (Session 2)
  2. Multi-actor co-creation approach in the establishment of intermediate food value chains –  Ariane Voglhuber-Slavinsky, Bärbel Hüsing, Tanja Kaufmann, Charlotte Freudenberg (Session 2)
  3. Challenges and working practices for the application of Blockchain in intermediate dairy value chains – Genevieve Gésan-Guiziou, Bärbel Hüsing, Karin Östergren, Andreas Papadakis, Theodore Zahariadis (Session 18)

You can register for the hybrid event here, free of charge.

Case study update: High-Tech packaging machine for all actors, from small to mid-sized

Case study update: High-Tech packaging machine for all actors, from small to mid-sized

By Pieter-Jan Loveniers, Imca Sampers (U.Gent), Harald Saelens (Scaldopack) and Thierry Bénézech (INRAE)

The Belgium case study aims to develop an innovative user-friendly packaging machine adapted to the need of small (e.g. farmers) and mid-sized actors (e.g. farmers in agricultural marketing cooperative) (picture). Two options will be followed to ensure an easy cleaning of the machine.

There is a demand for packaging machines for liquid or mashed products adapted to the needs of small and mid-sized actors, that meet the hygienic design standards. The needs are defined as accessible, convenient to use, easy to clean and maintain, aiming at aseptic processes for longer shelf-life products, easy to use using fun and practical packaging for young children, teenagers and of course adults.

The current situation for small actors is manual packaging, which takes time and effort, and/or using machines that are built themselves not even meeting the basic hygiene requirements, offering safe and reliable products at the same level as those offered by large processors.

As the machine will be used by potentially different actors, e.g., farmers or groups of farmers in a cooperative, the equipment must be easy to clean. Two ways are followed to meet these mandatory requirements, (i) an automatic cleaning system attached to the machine and (ii) a design of the machine allowing easy access to all parts, no hidden areas, easy to wash material in an economical time. The part corresponding to the packaging of the products is protected by an aseptic environment linked to a sterile air supply acting as a protective barrier. A sterilization unit for the packaging material may be present if needed.

Case study update: Jour Fixes at the Food Innovation Incubator

Case study update: Jour Fixes at the Food Innovation Incubator

The Austrian case study started with the Food Innovation Incubator programme in September 2021. Two Open Food Jours Fixes took place since then. Jour fixes will have a defined agenda and take place three times a year in a virtual room.

Each jour fixe starts with a short introduction round of the persons who take part in the meeting. It continues with the presentation of a specific food innovation topic, shows updates of the ongoing activities within the incubator programme and invites selected participants to introduce a topic of interest. It ends with a general discussion of other relevant dates, activities and events connected to the target food system. The target group of the jour fixes are food system and network stakeholders and experts.

Also, in November 2021 a ‘Call for Food Product Innovation Ideas’ was sent out, and 11 farmers and food entrepreneurs sent in their ideas to be developed as part of a co-creative workshop series. On the 21st of January, a kick-off workshop took place, in which the goals of the respective food product development projects were discussed, and the infrastructure of the incubator was shown to the participants (picture).

Case study update: Life Cycle Assessment for co-product valorisation

Case study update: Life Cycle Assessment for co-product valorisation

By: Kavitha Shanmugam, RISE and Anne Verniquet, dss

The Swiss case study aims to analyze co-product valorisation and generation of enriched added value for SMEs. This is done via two sub-cases within the Biofruits value chain:

  • Developing a new alternative cleaning agent (vinegar) via bio fermentation of co-products unfit for consumption (pulp from Biofruits);
  • Sharing of equipment to valorise co-products like fruit pits: the Swiss CS will pilote a regional scale regenerative agriculture and CO2 sequestration strategy via a pyrolysis-based innovative business model

The partners of the Case Study are Biofruits, Cogiterre (Fruits & Vegetables SME) in Switzerland along with dss (previously Sofies), INRAE and University of Ghent. RISE assisted with the Case Study.

The aim of the environmental assessment performed by RISE was to provide a basis for comparing the environmental performance of the developed innovation with the current situation. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is recognized to be the method of choice when measuring environmental impacts (climate change, resource depletion, etc.) of a product, process, or service. LCA was performed for a current scenario: Fruits & Vegetables which are unfit for consumption are sent to a local biodigester; Biofruits has to pay to eliminate these co-products. Moreover, fruit pits are not valorised locally nor transparently. A screening level LCA was performed for pits from Biofruits to investigate different handling technologies (compost – current, combustion and pyrolysis).

Various positive externalities are expected from pyrolysis and vinegar used as a cleaning agent. But the business models require some process improvements and deeper knowledge to reach a successful demonstration during the project. LCA will be used to compare the new value chain to the current one and then to quantify environmental benefits.