Local Change towards More Sustainable food production

Vineyards from the prespective of someone walking in them.

Image by Margherita Rava

The Green Deal aims at reducing pesticide risk. The Local Change towards More Sustainable food production (LOCoMOS) social experiment will recruit local food producers and citizens characterised by a change-maker attitude and young age to disentangle the pesticide issue. They will identify the barriers and needs of the grassroot local community, set priorities and implement locally-feasible strategies to reduce pesticide health risks for humans, pollinators, and the environment overall.

Local context

The area involved has been included (since 2014) in the Unesco zone “Monferrato degli Infernot” which is characterised by small underground chambers (“Infernot”) used to store wine. Monferrato’s landscape is the testimony of the European winemaking tradition. It is hilly with heterogeneous cultivations: hazelnuts and olives, cereals, fruit and vegetable gardens, truffle grounds and vineyards as well as natural woods valleys. Small scale beekeeping is also present. The local community lives in small historical villages. Small to medium farms and the agrotourism sector are the main drivers of the local economy. Many young farmers are taking the place of old generations, driven by a desire for innovation, and sustainable food production.

Specific needs and challenges

The local food system needs to move to a more sustainable food system while preserving the social and economic sustainability of local food production. Farmers highly depend on pesticide as a solution for plant pests. At the same time, the need for a sustainable and healthier food system has taken into question the use of pesticides as the main solution. Food safety and agro-ecosystems health are the pillars of a safer food system, which is beneficial for both citizens and farmers. To make it happen - to change the local food system towards more sustainable methods and practices - the major challenge is to foster cooperation between farmers, beekeepers, and citizens. Communication among farmers, beekeepers, and citizens and cooperation in finding constructive solutions is the way forward to improve the spread of good practices and find feasible solutions for reducing pesticide risk at the local level.

Detailed description of the experiment

The social experiment will be a process developed in four steps. The first step is about the stakeholders identification and engagement. A food system mapping of Monferrato Casalese’s landscape will identify the main components of the local context and their needs. They expect high diversity as the local context is characterized by widely different farming systems and different social institutions. This will involve engaging with change makers - local farmers, beekeepers, and citizens - through focus group discussions and interviews to understand their points of view, practices concerning pesticide use, and the associated risks. In the second step, they will discuss the challenges to overcome to reduce risks. Based on the findings from the needs and challenges, the local assembly driven by the transaction committee will discuss together barriers and needs of the grassroot local community (Assembly 1). Through the third step, the Assembly will set priorities to focus on the most relevant challenges and their solution in the local context (Assembly 2). The fourth step will consist of the implementation of locally-feasible strategies to reduce pesticide health risks for humans, pollinators, and the environment overall (Assembly 3). The strategies will be spread and shared at the local and European level (Assembly 4). The expected impact of the project locally is significant: by involving local food producers and citizens in the experiment, they will raise awareness and promote more sustainable food production practices, reducing the use of pesticides and associated health risks. The project could also lead to a reduction in the use of harmful chemicals and promote the use of alternative methods, ultimately leading to a healthier and more sustainable environment. Their ambition is to transform the experiment into pilot projects, concrete actions that can lead the way toward a better environment and safer agriculture. The project’s specificities, such as its focus on young people and change-makers in the local community, have the potential to generate new and innovative approaches to reducing pesticide risks.

Involvement of the target group

The LOCoMOS project will involve four target groups: associations of food producers - farmers and beekeepers -, citizens, local administrative institutions, and scientists. LOCoMOS will involve young people and change-makers in the local community with diverse cultural, social, generational, and gender differences to consider how different target groups approach the topic of pesticide use. This diversity will be one of the main points addressed through the four steps with the target group. Involvement of the target groups will be attained through preliminary individual interviews with purposefully identified stakeholders and collective activities, such as shared local products aperitifs with the future participants of the assemblies and collective food preparation, to build a sense of community and get to know each other. Then, during the assemblies, an experienced moderator will facilitate the gathering of inputs from all participants and address participants’ feedback, taking into account their diverse backgrounds. During the assemblies, discussions will be accompanied by local food and wine.


LOCoMOS is in partnership with local administrations, associations, and the University of Turin. The city councils of Cella Monte, Ottiglio, and Sala support the initiative by providing their insight on new strategies for the local context. Involved associations include farmers, beekeepers, and citizens, such as Aspromiele, the largest beekeepers association in Italy. Slow Food, Rete Radiè Resh, Legambiente, and BEE HUMAN are active citizen associations in the field of food and sustainability. The Università di Torino – DISAFA is the most important university institution in the area providing essential scientific support.

Additional remarks

LOCoMOS has the specific ambition to be a gateway to build a local network for Asfodelo, discussing problems and finding solutions together: by providing information on economically sustainable alternatives to pesticide by communicating horizontally, between farmers, with the language of the farmer; by creating a “buzz” in local newspapers and media regarding young innovative change-makers; by involving municipalities to support and push for sustainable agriculture (Sala municipality).

Local partner




Number of inhabitants



Monferrato region

Website/social media



Contact person:

Luca Carisio, Project Managerluca [dot] carisio [at] unito [dot] it

APR 23

Establishment of a Transition Committee

JUN 23

Conducting stakeholder mapping

JUL 23

Conducting a local food system analysis

JUL 23

Recruitment of assembly participants and interviews

OCT 23 - MAR 24

Food Transition Assemblies 1-3

JAN-MAR (2024)

Post-assembly synthesis session

APR (2024)

Food Transition Assembly Nr. 4 - Joined reflexive learning & outreach assembly

APR (2024)

Final experiment synthesis session

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For further details please contact co-leads Professor Chris Foulds (chris.foulds@aru.ac.uk) and Professor Rosie Robison (rosie.robison@aru.ac.uk).

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 101036640. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the SHARED GREEN DEAL HAS project and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.