Interreg InnoNets: project results presentation in the final event

On 14th October the final conference of the The InnoNets – Innovative Networks for the Agrifood sector project was held. During the online event the results obtained in the two years of the project were presented and interesting discussion among experts on the themes of innovation in the agri-food sector took place.

Thanks to project the role of local networks and innovation ecosystems in reducing food waste have been enhanced through the involvement of the different players of the quadruple helix in several local and digital events, as for cooperation and learning has been used as a means to facilitate innovation in small and medium-sized agri-food companies. Place-based open innovation in the agri-food sector and local food policies have been deepened.

The event was organized by Puglia Region – Department of Economic development, innovation, education, training and employment, which is partner of the project with the support of ARTI – Apulia Region Agency for Technology and Innovation and InnovaPuglia, in cooperation with all the partners, namely Region of Ionian Island (lead partner), Polytechnic University of Bari, Corfu Chamber of Commerce, Regional League of Cooperatives and Mutuality of Puglia.

Innovation and transborder cooperation in agrofood sector were the themes at the focus of the speech by Konstantinos Kapodistrias, deputy governor for e-government and European programs of the Region of the Ionian Islands, leader of the InnoNets project. He stated that the agri-food is one of the main economic sectors not only for the Region of the Ionian Islands but also for the Puglia Region. Its great importance for local development lies not only in its contribution to local economies, but also in the fact that it represents the income of hundreds of small producers and local companies that would otherwise have no space in the market.

Therefore, it could be considered the common ground for close cooperation between neighboring countries such as Greece and Italy and regions such as the Ionian Islands and Puglia. And, for this reason, InnoNets could be a great contribution to the development of the European Group of Territorial Cooperation, a permanent organization that will not only support the agri-food sector in the two regions, but will also build common policies and new projects.

The event has been introduced by Crescenzo Antonio Marino, director of the Research, innovation and institutional capacity Section of Apulia Region and Gianfranco Gadaleta, coordinator of the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg VA Greece-Italy Programme.

Then, Valeria Patruno, on behalf of Apulia Region/ARTI, Carmelo M. Torre, professor at the Polytechnic of Bari, Pavlos Filippidis, Corfu Chamber of Commerce external expert and Katia De Luca, on behalf of Legacoop Puglia, Nickolaos Chirdaris, first vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Corfu illustrated the activities of the project. The initiative has been moderated by Carlo Gadaleta Caldarola, ARTI project manager.

After the plenary session, there was three simultaneous thematic sessions. The first one, “Conscious consumption and local agri-food practices”, was coordinated by Alessandro Bonifazi on behalf of the Polytechnic of Bari and Pavlos Filippidis, Corfu Chamber of Commerce external expert; Alexandros Papachatzis, professor of innovative sustainable agricultural production at the University of Thessaly, and Francesco Scorza, professor at the University of Basilicata (associated partner in the InnoNets project of the Polytechnic of Bari) will participate.

In the second thematic session, “Circular economy of food and regional sustainability strategies”, coordinated by Valeria Patruno of ARTI, and Gaetano Grasso of InnovaPuglia, has been attended by Georgios D. Antoniou, expert in environmental policies and management, Carmela Cotrone, Campania Region, leader of the Interreg MED MD.Net project, Marco Costantino, of Avanzi Popolo 2.0.

In the third thematic room “Mediterranean interregional networking and EU green deal”, Caterina De Lucia of the University of Foggia (for Legacoop) and Maria Gounara, Epsilon Development Consultant, member of the technical assistance (for the Region of Ionian Islands) discussed with Maria Vrasida, of EGTC – European group for territorial cooperation, Roberto Paladini of Innovaction Soc.Coop. – company that deals with community composting and sustainable processes, Athanasios Exarchos, local development consultant.