Only 2% of the food consumed on the island is grown in Ibiza
With the aim of gaining a better understanding of market conditions, in 2017 the Ibiza Preservation Foundation (IPF) decided to finance a feasibility study that identified the main obstacles and opportunities faced by local producers. The result was a complex diagnosis with a large number of issues – from access to quality land, water scarcity, higher costs due to insularity and strong competition from the mainland and other countries, to the need for greater coordination between producers and retailers, distribution logistics problems and labelling of local products. At the same time, however, there was strong support for products “made in Ibiza”, an increase in organic agriculture and boutique farming, and a desire by all stakeholders to increase the production, promotion and consumption of local products. The result of the study is the “Ibiza Produce” project.
The challenge for Ibiza Produce is that between 1990 and 2012, Ibiza lost 73.7 km2 of agricultural land to natural vegetation. This involves the loss of valuable rural landscapes and the disappearance of important plant varieties, animal breeds and traditional local knowledge and techniques. “The presence of agriculture and livestock is in decline and with it the island is witnessing a deterioration in its landscape and, as a consequence, a lower capacity for sustainability. In addition, according to data from APAEEF (Association of Organic Producers of Ibiza and Formentera) only 2% of the food we consume on the island is grown in Ibiza. This scenario opened an opportunity to try to reverse the situation,” said Sandra Benebeniste, the IPF’s director.
The IPF has been committed to conserving the island’s environment for the past 10 years with previous projects including the conservation of the black pig “porc negre” by the Federació Pitiüsa de Races Autóctones (federation of indigenous breeds); collaborated with APAEEF to launch a pilot project to plant around 400 almond trees in Can Simón; the co-financing of an almond-cracking machine for the Agricultural Cooperative of Sant Antoni, among other projects.
The goal of Ibiza Produce is twofold: first, to collaborate with farmers and producers in their work to preserve the quality of the land and, second, to increase the consumption of local products. To achieve this, in addition to supporting specific projects, IPF is working to support agricultural cooperatives; promote cultivation of the land by collaborating with existing farmers and encouraging new farmers; creating local product marketing and communications campaigns; establishing connections between the main stakeholders (farmers, chefs, schools, agricultural students, local governments, producers, investors, consumers); among other projects.
Ibiza Produce launched its website – ibizaproduce.org – to create an online platform with information on farmers and producers on the island, a list of products produced in Ibiza and where to find them. Gabrielle Gambina, the Ibiza Produce project coordinator, pointed out, “The aim of the website is for consumers to connect directly with producers. Our commitment to promoting local products is based on a concern for the environment, for the landscape, our health, and the potential opportunities this can generate for our islands.”
Buy Local Products for Christmas
A press conference was held on 3 December to launch the website and encourage the purchase of local products for Christmas. Giving and buying local food is the best way to support the land and the island’s economy.
Also present at the press conference was Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of Local Futures, as well as a documentary film-maker and writer. Helena wanted to show her support for the work carried out by the IPF. During her speech she pointed out “there is currently a global movement of localisation. The producers and Km0 farmers are providing inspiration with their work to help maintain the land in optimal conditions.”