Biela y Tierra Women

Article originally published in Spanish in Revista Soberanía Alimentaria, Biodiversidad y Culturas.

Biela y Tierra (in English crank and land) is an initiative started by Edurne Caballero and Ana Santidrián who aim to travel almost 3000 km of rural area by bike, and visit more than 80 other initiatives developed in rural areas, related to sustainable eating.

There are projects that are pure poetry: emanating passion all around, making you fall in love at first sight. Exactly what happened to me with Biela y Tierra. In these hectic times of cars invading our space and the media trying to convince us that there is no life beyond cities, Ana and Edurne have purposefully decided to hop on their bikes and show the world that our villages are full of life.Continue reading

Social food and social innovation: stimulating dialogue at the Social Food Forum

A quick look at the collection of examples of social innovation in the SIMRA database makes you realise that food is a central element in most of them. Food production is traditionally connected to rural areas shaping landscapes, diets, and even cultural heritage (local cuisines, traditions, etc.).

SIMRA was invited to participate in early March in a forum exploring the social aspects of food production, preparation and consumption and the connections among and between people and places that are developed through food, organised within the activities programmed under Matera City of Culture 2019. This Social Food Forum gathered over 15 representatives from different types of activities involved in a variety of social food projects –including one of our cases studies, the Italian VàZapp’’- to discuss how food catalyses social projects around Europe. One of our SIMRA researchers, Diana Valero (Perth College –UHI) participated in this inaugural meeting of the Social Food Forum with examples of social innovation involving food recorded in the SIMRA research database.Continue reading

SIMRA’s 6th newsletter in your mailboxes

Only one year left of SIMRA! This coming year will be full of opportunities for you to contribute to the SIMRA project: local workshops will be organised to discuss the results of our case studies and innovation actions; a training course will be open for you to attend in November 2019 in Spain; and our policy and practice guides will be tested out.

Look out for the Special Issue of Forest Policy & Economics journal (expected to be published in March 2019) edited by the SIMRA project, contributing to advancing and exchanging scientific knowledge of social innovation in the context of forest dependent communities in remote rural areas.
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Good practices of rural sustainable mobility presented during SMARTA workshop

Started in May 2018, SMARTA – Sustainable shared mobility interconnected with public transport in European rural areas (developing the concept of ‘smart rural transport areas’) is a two-year European-funded project which aims to understand the current relevance and future potential of on-demand and shared mobility services integrated with public transport in the European rural areas.Continue reading

The Social Innovation family: what about the social economy and digital social innovation?

During the European Industry Days, taking place in Brussels, on 5-6 February 2019, a special focus was given to the wider family of social innovation including social enterprises and digital social innovation. Both the European Economic and Social Council (EESC) and DIESIS, the EU network specialised in supporting social economy and social enterprise development, organised events taking stock of the current policy situation and providing concrete examples.Continue reading

Sisters of the land

Spring is in the air, and a seed is germinating and fighting to grow. On its own, it begins to make its way, breaking earth, little by little, following the rhythms of the sun, it will go on growing. But it needs water to sprout and grow. And if the water doesn’t reach it, it will fight to find it.

Sister,

we women,

like seeds, we too are making our own way. They seem invisible at first, but they grow with the strength of our voices in a place full of life where we never stop forging community through our hands and our words.

We are also part of the life of our villages: the lullaby, the root, the heartbeat. And like seeds which hook onto the wool of transhumant animals and germinate thousands and thousands of miles from their place of origin, we resist and we fight. And we look at those who went before us and we realise why we cannot afford to remain silent.Continue reading

A look back on the smart eco-social villages pilot initiative

The Pilot Project on Smart Eco-Social Villages, initiated by the European Parliament, has been carried out by a consortium consisting of Ecorys, Origin for Sustainability and R.E.D. under the responsibility of the European Commission (Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development). The potential effect of this Pilot Project is to shape the on-going discussion on the future of the “Smart Village” policy. This pilot initiative is working alongside the ENRD thematic group on the same subject. The final event of the pilot initiative took place in Brussels on February 21st and 22nd, 2019.Continue reading