Sustainable Food Training in Italy for Start-ups from the Europe and Asia, the relationship between company models and non-governmental organizations

From 16 – 25 May 2019, Mine Vaganti, a non-governmental organization in Italy, offered a training course on Sustainable Food for Start-ups in Ponto Conte, Sassari, Italy. Over 30 participants came from different organizations in five countries, including Hello Youth (Sweden), Mine Vaganti (Italy), VSA (Thailand), Aswaaz (India) and Center for Development of Community Initiative and Environment (C&E) (Vietnam). C&E nominated four new businesses who are interested in and have practiced sustainable food, namely Food Hub, Ngỗng, Mắm Thuyền Nan and PGS organization, to join the program.

The training course aimed to provide insights into sustainable food and exchange initiatives of good practices in the world. From the European perspectives, participants from Sweden and Italy helped the others have a better grasp of the relationship between suppliers and product importers, the demands and the perspectives of importing countries. Meanwhile, participants from Vietnam and Thailand, the countries with rich natural resources, share their views from exporting countries’ perspectives. All the participants were able to learn about establishing, maintaining and developing networks of sustainable food production and consumption. They were equipped with knowledge and skills related to sustainable agricultural value chains and the methods of analyzing and assessing a business model using business canvas. The bonds between the member were built and strengthened in the principle of reciprocity – interaction – co-creation; therefore, they were able to experience transformations in sustainable values.

Furthermore, the program focused on exchanging good practices by policies, social creativity and entrepreneurship. At the end of the course, the organizations stimulated the integration of non-formal education into community engagement, specifically targeting young groups. Besides start-up content associated with sustainable value chains, the program also featured the “real people”. Mr. Stefano, a founder of a social enterprise Rumundu, shared his ideas about a radioactive detector called Radoff. Additionally, the Ambassador of Moldova, Mr. Roberto Galanti, and the Vice President of Conlavoro province, Italy also gave talks and opened up many opportunities for connection and cooperation in sustainable food.