In summer 2011 Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania carried 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. The project increased Romanian and wider European citizens’ appreciation in general of the fact that the CAP is promoting a greener agenda, and is supporting what its citizens desire and see under threat today: food security, High Nature Value agricultural landscapes, vital rural communities.
The information campaign was innovative as 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 “Să știm ce mâncăm, să știm de unde provine hrana noastră"), linked to attractive modern branding, posters and banners showing that direct sales and local/traditional food are also innovative in the current policy context.
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.
The media impact was well above expectations. The EU consumers whom we contacted through the project included:
- directly: 55,000 people who attended three farmers markets and personal contact with project staff and small-scale food producers and volunteers, 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.
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.The views of Romanian small-scale producers, and of consumers, are improved 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 recognised as supporting local sales and short food chains.
The project reinforced the links between the CAP, consumers’ aspirations, and the motivation of small-scale farmers to continue to produce healthy food through sustainable agriculture, in Romania and also in other Central and Eastern European countries.
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, during the Food from my Farm campaign.