CAP Information Measure: Demonstration markets, raising international awareness of CAP support for sustainable agriculture responsive to Europe’s social expectations
In summer 2011 Fundatia ADEPT received a grant, under the EU Information Measure, to carry out a project using traditional farmers markets, linked to modern branding and promotion, to create media interest and using the news stories created to promote the message that the CAP supports sustainable agriculture and employment in rural areas.
This media strategy was successful beyond expectations. The message was passed directly to over 55,000 people who attended three farmers markets, by personal contact with project staff and small-scale food producers. The message was also conveyed indirectly via print, radio and TV media to over 1.3 million people in Romania. The project efficiently delivered to a wide audience a message that was trusted by the public because it was supported by evidence from producers and markets. Objectives and strategy
EU accession was seen as a threat in Romania to local food production and sales. The objective of the project was to help the Romanian general public understand how the CAP may not be a threat to Romania’s traditional rural culture, it can be a potential support. The project organised 3 markets in summer 2011 whose prime objective was not the increased sales of traditional products, but rather to make a story out of them and create maximum media coverage for the message that the EU supports local and sustainable agriculture, employment in rural areas, short food chains and local sales.
The strategy was based on the fact that it is often hard to communicate an information message by traditional means, using paid advertising in the media – press, radio or TV. These means are also very expensive. Farmers markets developed by Fundatia ADEPT in the past were primarily aimed at selling food products of small-scale producers: but media interest at these markets in 2009-10 alerted us to the fact that farmers markets are a very effective information measure, through the creation of news stories. The main aim of the three high-profile markets was that of communication of information. Target audience
The target audience consisted of
- Romanian consumers, in urban and rural areas, reassuring them that accession to the EU would not damage local markets, or their access to food made and sold directly by local small-scale producers
- Romanian small-scale producers needed reassurance that the EU is on their side
- An international audience from 14 EU member states, who were able to understand better how the EU interacts positively with small producers and direct sales.
This was innovative because the project took advantage of farmers markets as an effective promotional channel. Also, the messages of the project were encapsulated in a modern slogan "Know your food, know where it comes from" (in Romanian "Sa stim ce mancam, sa stim de unde provine hrana noastra"), linked to attractive modern branding, posters and banners showing that direct sales and local/traditional food are also innovative in the current policy context. Impact
The media impact was well above expectations. The EU consumers whom we contacted through the project included:
- directly - 55,000 people who were in direct contact with project staff and volunteers, and with producers at their stalls, plus 80 students and young people aged 18 to 25 from 9 European countries (Romania, France, Hungary, Macedonia, Georgia, Austria, Serbia, Slovenia, Poland) at the Turda market summer campus, and 79 people representing 14 countries at the closing conference in Sighisoara
- indirectly, via print, radio and TV media - over 1.3 million people. The markets appeared on local and national television as well as in numerous print and web media articles. These numbers are confirmed by official TV ratings, readership of newspapers and web page hits.
We believe that the message was trusted by the public more than advertising campaigns, because it was information supported by evidence from producers and markets. The views of Romanian small-scale producers, and of consumers, have altered as a result of this campaign. Citizens feel more confident to pursue their desires, to sell and to buy local food directly, than before. And the EU is better recognized as supporting local sales and short food chains.
The messages conveyed, of special importance in Romania, were that the CAP promotes sustainable agriculture, small-scale farmers, food diversity, and rural employment; and that the CAP recognises the value of the public goods provided by Romania’s small-scale farmers and their landscape: public health, food quality, food security. The project also consulted producers and consumers in Romania about the proposed Local and Direct sales measure, Food from my Farm
Additional information :
see in the right column downloadable pdfs of the market flyer, poster, conference programme and final report.