Local Markets and Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS)
The Tree Project has its Honduras headquarters in the Analog Forestry Training Centre in La Union, on the Atlantic coast, and with a mandate for Biodiversity Restoration and Community Development. The Tree Project is working to establish a local market in La Union, with produce vendors as well as educational workshops, artists and musicians. Situated in the Social Centre of the community, the idea is to promote organic agriculture, biodiversity restoration and Analog Forestry methodology, while at the same time celebrating the local culture and hosting workshops.
Additionally it will be part of the global movement towards Participatory Guarantee Systems which encourage good farming practices and peer review of farms to ensure that consumers have the best available food and other produce.
The Mayor of La Union is fully supportive of this initiative and also the Association of Municipalities, Mamuca, has established La Union as it pilot model town for attracting tourists. La Union sits at the mouth of the Biosphere reserve of Cuero and Salado. Currently tourists come in catch the small tourist train and go directly to the refuge, not spending time in La Union. It is hoped that La Union could attract and keep national and international visitors by having some innovative attractions itself, even bringing residents out from La Ceiba, the nearest large town of the area.
Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) Tools
PGSs are quality assurance initiatives that are locally relevant, emphasize the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers and operate outside the frame of third party certification. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) has developed guidelines on "How Participatory Guarantee Systems Can Develop and Function" that you can download here in either English and Spanish.
IFOAM has also released a new study entitled the 'Global Comparative Study on Interactions Between Social Processes and Participatory Guarantee Systems'. The study was conducted over a two-year period. The main social processes identified among the surveyed PGS are collective marketing, sharing information, techniques and traditional knowledge, collective seed management and conservation, small scale saving systems, collective work, a committed, informed and supportive consumer base and socialized pricing. The study shows that PGS is an important platform for the development of these social processes that in turn positively impact PGS initiatives in different ways, thereby improving the sustainability and impacts of the PGS. It finds that PGS has the potential to make a significant contribution to the reduction of food insecurity and to improved nutrition among farmers in rural areas. Download the full study here.
Participatory Certification in Latin American Markets
(Spanish Presentation below)