Launched in 2016 by Me.R.I.D.I.E.S. (Meetings, Researches and Initiatives for the Development of Identity Environments and Societal systems) aims at promoting, especially throughout storytelling and social innovation-based actions, the very rich and socio-culturally complex typical Agri&Food, Cultural and Identity Heritage of Sicily, in Southern Italy.
Me.R.I.D.I.E.S. is a cultural and nonprofit association, thanks to some first funds (2016-2017) of the Regional Administration of Sicily - Dept. for Family, Social Policies and Labour, the Proditerra Project.
The Proditerra Project acts above all throughout a necessary, wider engagement of and strong cooperation with local communities and citizenry networks, farmers and Agri&Food producers, local government bodies, schools and cultural institutions, and scholars, experts and professionals in various areas. The fundamental aim to co-create, share and disseminate new ‘knowledge experiences’, primarily by means of the Proditerra web platform (http://www.proditerra.eu/) for the direct benefit of young people.
The first phase of public-funded project activities (July 2016 - November 2017) has been undertaken focusing particularly on the Proditerra web Platform initialization and implementation by:
- Activating the web site,
- Integrating it with some webGIS modules among the other publicly accessible information delivery functionalities,
- Co-producing with Students, Teachers, Farmers and Agri&Food Producers, scholars and experts,
- Different multimedia contents,
- Shared and disseminated also throughout social media channels, both of the Proditerra Project and affiliated Users' personal ones.
Moreover, an interesting cooperation has been arising during the Proditerra web platform implementation with GIS Cloud Ltd., an USA and Europe software house developing and sharing its webGIS SaaS platform, partially free-for-use and throughout which have been structured the webGIS modules of the Proditerra Public Territorial Information System
The presentation of outcomes is available here: http://www.proditerra.eu/pubblicazioni/.
The second phase continued the co-production of new media informational contents, video directs on social web, reports for wider audience and in-depth studies, ever by focusing on and documenting the distinct activities of different Agri&Food production local chains, from the field up to the Typical Agri&Food brought on consumers' tables.
Now, the Proditerra Project foresees also the setting up of some bursaries for Middle and High School, and University Students to support new young researchers' works focused on all the topics analyzed and disseminated by the Proditerra Project.
A special bursary will be devoted specifically to an initiative that Me.R.I.D.I.E.S. Cultural & nonprofit association has recently proposed for the ‘European Social Innovation Competition 2018 - RE-THINK LOCAL’, well evaluated but not yet funded by EU.
Therefore, a next Proditerra Bursary Call 2019 will be focused specifically on that socio-cultural-economic proposal that aims at providing young people of Sicily (our case-study in Southern Italy) with a web & mobile collaborative platform operating as a ‘Cultural Commons’ Honorary Ambassador Toolkit’. This allows teens, NEET, students, young next scholars and researchers to feel, acknowledge, know, map, represent, co-create, 3D print, promote, disseminate and co-manage a cultural common relevant to the Cultural Heritage and the Identity of their Community.
Consequently they learn how, where, with which human and financial public/private resources to act for their cultural common and develop their own job around it. All this will happen in strong cooperation with the Proditerra Project public and private partners and all the other stakeholders being involved in that initiative.
From the beginning, the Proditerra Project aimed at promoting digital skills for all local stakeholders and in education, especially for younger people and teachers, and younger farmers and Agri&Food producers, not ever already enough involved and friendly with ICT and social web opportunities.
The Proditerra Project presents many different potential and actual success factors, some already demonstrated in the first phase of implementation and relevant outcomes; others to be exploited and explained during the ongoing second phase.
In particular, success factors include:
- Impact of the initiative; we can highlight the strong capacity already well demonstrated by the Proditerra Project in terms of:
- Real engagement of all stakeholders and concrete cooperation in co-production of new ‘knowledge experiences’, translated in media-packs via web disseminated and focused on the collective awareness and a non-rhetorical approach to the storytelling of own-selves Typical Agri&Food production local chains;
- More visibility both at regional and extra-regional level of the Sicily Identity forms and the territories, cultural heritage, typical Agri&Food, etc., and more potential revenue, both in socio-cultural image and economic terms, for local farmers and producers, as well as for settled communities;
- More concertation actions and bottom-up vs. top-bottom initiatives better integration and harmonization, thanks to an actual commitment of the Proditerra Project Work group as ‘boundary workers’ accordingly to the conceptualization offered in 2014 by Nicolas Gailliard;
- The impact of the Proditerra Project is measurable, we can say it has been already partially measured within the final publication and so in the outcomes of the first phase, with some early statistical data analyzed and shared throughout the web site http://www.proditerra.eu/statistiche_accessi_piattaforma/
However, we already foresee to employ more specific Key Performance Indicators to record and to analyze:
- The number of individuals concretely involved in bursary calls and funding,
- The number of in-depth contents and reports to be produced and shared,
- The number and first socio-cultural characterization of individual Users,
- The total amount of Typical Agri&Food fiches co-produced and narrated throughout storytelling media, and so on.
- The uniqueness of the project stands in the holistic and non-rhetoric approaches employed in searching, selecting, knowing step by step, supporting all farmers and Agri&Food producers, and in narrating their daily work and rural ‘artworks’; as well as in engaging potential new young ‘Cultural Commons Honorary Ambassadors’ throughout our IDENTITYTEENSKIT4ACT&WORK imminent initiative;
Finally, regarding the key sustainability factors of the project, we will count with the material support offered to the Proditerra Project both by already and potentially engaged farmers and Agri&Food producers, as well as by our institutional partners and all other potential sponsor truly interested in promoting new knowledge experiences, digital skills acquisition and cultural promotion of Sicily.
Naturally, as said above, we foresee also to participate in some funding at EU, national and local level, as well as in cooperation initiatives with all current and future Proditerra project partners.