The Participatory Assurance System (PGS) is a quality assurance scheme with a local focus. that they “Product accreditation is based on the active participation of stakeholders and built on trust, social networking and knowledge sharing.“
The concept evolved with the development of organic farming in the 1970s, but its scope today goes much further than that.
Over the past two decades, with the increase in organic production and consumption, third-party certifications (from certification bodies responsible for developing organic standards and verifying compliance) have proliferated. However, it does not take into account aspects such as the protection of small family farms, equitable labor relations, the limits of monoculture or the incentives of local production and consumption networks.
As a result, many small, low-income producers farm using environmental and people-friendly methods but lack official recognition. This means that they reap the environmental benefits but few social and economic benefits.
These considerations led to the emergence of the Participatory Security Systems movement, which coordinates its actions towards creating a collective dimension based on Common understanding of production and distribution principles and Joint agreement on liability. PGS integrates elements of environmental and social education regarding quality improvement for both producers and consumers, providing an alternative to third party certification.
More information can be found here
In 2018, the Slow Food Network began testing this type of initiative on some of its projects, starting with Presidia. The methodology has since been standardized through collaboration with IFOAM experts, and several initiatives have been operationalized within the Slow Food Network (see ‘PGS Initiatives’ section).
Interested in learning more about the PGS initiatives of Slow Food or would like to launch an initiative in your own Slow Food community?
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Slow Food’s stance on participatory assurance systems
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 IFOAM – Organics International (2008).
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