Yesterday, as I stepped out of the DG AGRI building, head full of terminology and legislation non-sense, this bag caught my eye… what would that be about?
In fact, a little stand had set up shop in the park adjacent to the European Commission’s main agriculture and rural development building and challenged all the bureaucrats walking home (me included to stop, smell the roses (or the cookies??) and engage in local shopping.
Campesiños founders are young, excited, and full of energy. They drive around personally every second Thursday morning to producers in the region and gather a bit of this and a bit of that, just to fill the pick-up orders one can fill out online and in order to sell some in this stand. When I asked whether the producers were easily convinced to cooperate, they ho-hummed a bit before this guy’s friend pointed towards him and said “it was all him! He just went up to each one personally and convinced them to participate!” Who could say no to this smile?!
Beyond the direct marketing, the guys have big plans for the park. “We want it to be full of different offers – farmers’ stands, but also food trucks, we want to grow things here… this park should be revived!” So, so true – nothing better than a bit of action in the heart of the European quarter. Maybe the next mingling event will happen between organic beer and local carrots?
Yet, as I was walking home, I thought about the fact that though such small initiatives are awesome and often seem more worthwhile than spending your day in front of a computer, one of the first questions I asked was “so is the produce organic?” to which they assured me that, yes, of course it was. Just a couple of words are needed for this mutual assurance of trust, but behind that stands legislation, implementation, a complex control system and pages upon pages of rules and regulations. Could it be easier done? Maybe. But as long as we still have a certain distance between producers and consumers – even if it’s just one link in the chain like here – a label gives certainty and makes this exchange possible. Everybody needs everybody else – the bureaucrats need the innovative entrepreneurs just as much as vice versa. And that is something everybody can dedicate their effort to.