Immagine2_1.

MediterraneanDiet European Cluster initiative
Med-DietEurocluster

Spain: Catalonia
carmela cotrone
project manager
Profile:
90% completed

Overview

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Summary and objectives

Under the framework of Interreg Med Programme 2014-2020, the MD.net project has acted to improve the capacity of rural communities to implement a sustainable and resilient growth around the potential of the Mediterranean Diet, UNESCO Intangible Heritage.

The creation of the Mediterranean Diet Euro-cluster (MedDiet-Eurocluster) as permanent structure beyond the project life remains the main tool of the MD.net Capitalization strategy: an initiative set up to maintain synergies and complementarities built in four years of common work among territories and activities around the MD cultural values and mainstream these outcomes, seizing the opportunities of the EU Cohesion Policy and promoting the Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030. The ambitious objective is to go beyond local aspirations toward a common medium- and long-term strategy, rising interest by European, national, regional Key Decision Makers and enlarging the international cluster community.

The MedDiet-Eurocluster is consolidating the current transnational network, giving room to new partnering, in a way to boost creativity and innovation in economic activities, increase job opportunities and endure partnership. 13 partners and more than 100 local stakeholders are currently representing 12 Euro-mediterranean regions, committed to draw up a road map to build this new challenging initiative.

Achievements

The MD.Euro-cluster is based on the work and deliverables developed by the MD.net project (see https://mdnet.interreg-med.eu/) , namely:

  • A common database on the MedDiet tangible and intangible heritage in the 12 regions, organized in the MD.net deliverables. The Studying Data base confirms the Mediterranean Diet as a large range of activities, included in different sectors of the NACE classification and made by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The production processes are though organised as integrated series of elementary activities, partly carried out locally in firms of small dimensions. Most of the local activities share common challenges: lack of technological supplies (machine tools, office supplies, organization models, etc.), difficulties in recruiting a skilled work force, by consequence difficulties to obtain public finance, inter alia through public procurement, need to alleviate their administrative burden, need to take up creativity and innovation, access global markets, need to create value chains to develop their internationalisation.
  • The local actions carried out in each territory for the development and support of the MD economies. The lack of skills is a major obstacle of these regions: it should entail constant periodical training. The MD.net co-creation living labs tackled this topic and promoted transnational links among local initiatives to encourage innovation and business start-ups. This process has defined a methodology, which the cluster could adopt to carry out periodical transnational training and co-creation meetings and promote sharing of knowledge, up-taking and new collaborative business models.
  • The results of networking initiatives connecting economic activities and promoting innovation and creativity: Through the Living Labs from 5 to 8 new ideas emerged in each region. During the International Fair in November 2021. four transnational networking projects gathered these ideas: 1) education and training, 2) cultural and traditional events, 3) agri-food and 4) rural tourism and an Award proposed by the Evaluation Committee. These activities were very welcome by the communities and the project provided the four transnational networks with a feasibility study to find public funds and become concrete enterprises.
  • The transnational capitalization activities. Around the MD issue, the partners’ communities gathered at different geographic levels through the project activities connecting transnationally existing local social-economic initiatives to similar or complementary external organizations. Networking local and external activities did foster creativity and flexibility and lead to new ideas and transnational connections. Furthermore, the work did emphasize the potential international relation among science/technology and innovation institutions, an in nuce initiative to pursue among Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) to upgrade agri-food research and training in traditional agri-food products and services.
  • The Med Diet Declaration and Med Diet Brand strategy. MD.net has successfully empowered the local actors of the quadruple helix through the provision of local initiatives and a stronger transnational cooperation among them. Conditions for strengthening the involvement of SMEs in transnational cooperation have been met through the promotion of the Med Diet Declaration, a “pact” with local stakeholders to share and promote the Mediterranean Diet values. The MD Declaration[1] has been prepared as a document to be signed by stakeholders (regions, municipalities, academia, SMEs…). to adhere to the MD.net principles. The MD Declaration reached more than 100 stakeholders so far and the partners keep promoting the Med Diet Declaration to be signed by local communities until the end of the project. The MD Declaration can represent the visual identity of the MD.Euro-cluster to build a Brand around which an international community can strengthen his common value in the markets far beyond the MD.net project life. The visual identity will be declined into all communication materials produced by the Euroclusters: To prepare dissemination activities in each territory of the network; To communicate effectively about the work and results; To brand marketing tools, including in social media and speaking at events; To seize the opportunities offered by the European Union and in the ECCP; The MD Declaration is supported by a platform service whose great possibilities remain underexploited so far. It should be kept alive and used to empower transnational connections and global trade of the local enterprises. The MD Declaration will, also, be included in Guidelines[2] - common basis for future commitments - and Policy recommendations[3] as suggestion to support the MD networks within the regional strategies. 
  • According to the Review of MD.net project status, six relevant dimensions of the pre- and post-Covid-19 socio-economic situation can determine and shape, for good or bad, the business and policy prospects of MD.net after the end of the granted phase: 1) agricultural sector, 2) food and beverages industry, 3) logistics and distribution industry, 4) Ho.Re.Ca. sector, 5) consumer behaviours, 6) government policies. A pragmatic approach is also proposed, with the aim of enhancing the self-reflective capacity of the MD.net partnership in preparation for the post-grant deployment of project results. “This approach would enable a shared answer to the question whether the building blocks of the MD.net vision revolutionising the concept of Mediterranean Diet would survive to Covid-19 reshaping the future “new normal” situation4. The MD.Euro-cluster represents this pragmatic approach.

see:

https://mdnet.interreg-med.eu/deliverables/deliverables-database/

https://mdnet.dietamediterranea.com/med-diet-declaration/

Sectorial and industrial focus

Sectoral industries
Accommodation and food service activities:I56 Food and beverage service activities - Information and communication:J63 Information service activities - Other service activities:S94 Activities of membership organisations
Industrial Alliances and Ecosystems
Alliances:Low carbon industries - Ecosystems:Agri-food

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