The "Sovereign Bag" is a university project of the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Buenos Aires that in just three years, managed to commercialize more than 16,500 bags of fresh, healthy and seasonal vegetables.
Bag deliveries are an alternative sales channel that encourages responsible consumption and benefits vegetable producers who use less agrochemicals.
One of the problems faced by small producers in peri-urban Buenos Aires is the little profit they obtain if they place their vegetables in the conventional market, damaging the long marketing chain.
They are also harmed by the use of agrochemicals on farms, whose improper handling can harm the environment and the health of producers and consumers.
The project "Sovereign Bag"
Taking as a motive the problems of marketing and use of agrochemicals, the project "Sovereign Pocket" of the Free Chair of Food Sovereignty (CaLiSA) of the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA (FAUBA), provides solutions by marketing bags of vegetables at fair prices, because the number of links between field and households is reduced, and it guides horticulturists to take the path of agroecology.
The members of the "Association of Producers 1610" of the Buenos Aires town of Florencio Varela produce with agroecology as their horizon.
“The project sells bags containing seven or eight kilos of different vegetables produced by the 1610 Producers Association, from Florencia Varela. They are shifting their production towards agroecology. In other words, their agricultural management is increasingly based on rotations, polycultures, organic fertilizers and self-made bio-inputs. All this allows them to reduce the amount and volume of agrochemicals they use "commented Juan Cruz Demicheli, a member of the project and of the Free Chair of Food Sovereignty of FAUBA coordinated by Professor Carlos Carballo (CaLiSA).
In the three years of activity, more than 16,500 bags of vegetables were delivered, which is equivalent to more than 100 tons of food in agroecological transition.
Consumers are key
“For the agroecological transition to take place, citizens must know who produces our food, how they do it, and who takes the highest percentages of the final price. From our role as consumers we can benefit gardeners who want to produce vegetables in a healthy way ", clarifies Demicheli.
In each delivery of the “Sovereign Bag” at FAUBA, the members of the project and the 1610 Association explain to consumers the particularities of the vegetables they offer. "The seven or eight varieties of vegetables that make up the bag are always seasonal, since they produce what the hours of light and temperatures allow at each time of year. In addition, on many occasions the bag has vegetables that perhaps are not so common and we tell people how to incorporate them into their recipes "commented Juan Cruz, who is also a student of the Degree in Agricultural Economics and Administration (LEAA-FAUBA).
He also clarified: “We always mention that farms are in transition towards agroecology. This means that they come from a conventional model in which they used monocultures and technological packages such as agrochemicals and seeds treated with fungicides. Currently, they are reducing the use of agrochemicals since they can be harmful to the health of consumers and to themselves ".
“The transition is complex. For this reason, from another initiative of CaLiSA and FAUBA, progress is being made with the ‘Participatory Guarantee System’. This system aims to generate a series of technical instructions that make the agroecological transition possible and accompany horticulturists in this complex process that does not have public policies to promote it "said Juan Cruz.