The Open Focus Group (OFG) meeting, a vital part of Task 1.5 within the ToNoWaste project, was recently convened by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OEAW). This meeting, integral to the project’s mission, aimed to foster open debate about the suitability of the new framework and the selection of a portfolio of solutions to combat food waste. The meeting involved active participation from various stakeholders, including the EIP-AGRI network, to ensure that the proposed actions align with sustainability criteria, ultimately advancing the project’s objectives.
Task 1.5, led by OEAW and involving all project partners, encompasses the development of the Science-Based Framework scheme and the actions included in the project database. This framework, once elaborated, was presented to the OFG, which played a pivotal role in validating its suitability for assessing food waste reduction actions under sustainability criteria. The outcomes from this event will be used to create a working paper for the Science-Based Framework (SBF) in WP2 and a portfolio of solutions to feed the platform developed in WP3.
The OFG meeting, hosted by OEAW, featured a comprehensive agenda:
- Welcome and Agenda Presentation: The event commenced with a warm welcome and an introduction to the day’s agenda by the Open Agriculture, Science, and Waste (OASW) team.
- Contextualizing the Sustainability Assessment Framework: A brief explanation of the ToNoWaste sustainability assessment framework was provided to set the context for the discussions.
- Validation of Proposed Actions: The validation process of actions proposed by the project partners, included in the strategic plan in detail, was explained.
- Presentation of the Draft Portfolio of Actions: An in-depth presentation of the draft portfolio of initially selected actions, including aggregated results and actions categorized by owner, title, JCR classification, and description.
- Open Discussion Session: An open discussion session that focused on the initial portfolio of actions and its composition, as well as the content of D1.3.
- Next Steps for WP2 and WP5: Discussion regarding the next steps for WP2 and WP5, with particular emphasis on Task 5.1, which pertains to the transition from planning to execution of the actions in the PDCA concept.
- Break: A short break to allow participants to recharge.
- Round of Breakout Sessions: Breakout sessions were conducted, where different groups focused on specific WP5 tasks and discussed their selected actions in preparation for the next steps. A template for documentation was provided for this purpose.
- Conclusion from Breakout Sessions: Insights and conclusions drawn from the breakout sessions were shared.
- Feedback Session: An open discussion session for individual participants to provide feedback on the proceedings.
- Closing Session: The event concluded with a closing session, summarizing the day’s discussions and outlining the way forward.
Notably, the UJI invited the VC pilot partners, including Las NAVES, CACV, MERCAVALENCIA, and CUINATUR, to participate in the OFG in person at the UJI’s press room. The initial session provided an overview of the project’s sustainability evaluation framework, followed by detailed presentations of selected actions by each pilot. After in-depth analysis by experts, the participants engaged in parallel group sessions to clarify any doubts and gain a better understanding of their respective roles in the project.
The OFG meeting was met with enthusiasm by all participants, with Las NAVES, CACV, MERCAVALENCIA, CUINATUR, UJI, and UD appreciating the opportunity to clarify doubts, strengthen collaboration among partners, and gain a clearer understanding of their roles within the project.