Citizen Science for sustainable land use and regional value creation
OLGA promotes the application of participatory elements in the discussion and design of sustainable land use alternatives on water bodies and agricultural land and in decision-making in local and regional planning processes. The testing and evaluation of Citizen Science projects for the participation of the public in processes and decisions for sustainable land use and regionally sustainable food in the Dresden region are the focus of field of Module 3.
How can citizens participate in local and regional planning processes?
How can citizens be motivated and qualified to participate?
For this purpose, suitable qualification offers are designed, Citizen Science processes are investigated and evaluated, especially with regard to the attitude and motivation of citizens to participate.
The following activities are being carried out in module 3:
Structuring Citizen Science projects - status quo, analysing the preconditions for the participation of citizens
Study on the motivation of citizens to participate in Citizen Science projects
Implementation of Citizen Science projects, e.g. on the topic of regional nutrition etc.
Interview with Ramune Pansa on the OLGA focus groups
"The discussions are far from finished!"
To involve regional stakeholders in the OLGA project, four focus groups were held from 25th of April to 5th of May 2022 on the topic of "Prospects for sustainable land use and regional value creation in the Dresden region". Ramune Pansa was significantly involved in the organisation of the focus groups as a research assistant for the Center for Open Digital Innovation and Participation (CODIP) until September 2022 and talks about citizen science, sustainability and participation in the following interview.
A comprehensive documentation of all four OLGA focus groups is available HERE.
Results of the survey "How regional is your shopping?"
Businesses want to become more regional in their supply but would like to see more acceptance of seasonality among customers.
From June to October 2021, the TU Dresden and the Umweltzentrum Dresden e. V. designed and carried out a survey on the current range of regional products on offer in groceries, supermarkets and restaurants in Dresden and the surrounding area. During this time, citizens were asked to use an online questionnaire to ask the staff of the restaurants and/or grocery shops or farmer's markets they usually visit about the regionality of the products they offer. The aim of the survey was to raise awareness among consumers, processors and marketers for the use of locally sourced food.
The results show the extent to which selected gastronomy and (food) retail businesses in the Dresden region supply themselves with regional products and where there is still a need to catch up or obstacles to accessing them.
A total of 101 citizens completed the survey, 92 of which were evaluated. Approximately 65 % of the people came from urban areas and 9 % from rural areas. 24 persons (approx. 26 %) did not give any information in this respect. The survey was most frequently conducted in conventional supermarkets (n=34; 37 %), in organic shops/organic supermarkets (n=16; approx. 17 %) and farmer's markets (n=15; 16 %). Restaurants and snack bars were represented by a total of 3% (n=3). This can be attributed to the restrictions at the time as a result of the COVID pandemic.
Fig. 1: Frequency of the surveyed localities in percent [Sonstiges = Other; herkömmlicher Supermarkt = regular supermarket; Bioladen/Biosupermarkt = organic shops/organic supermarkets; Imbiss = snack bar; Restaurant = restaurant; Metzgerei = butcher; Bäckerei = bakery; Wochenmarkt = farmer's market]
Each business was asked which products from the categories meat/fish/sausages, cereals, vegetables, dairy products, eggs and other products are regional in the assortment resp. on the menu. This resulted in the following frequencies:
Fig. 2: Which of the following product categories are regional in this locality? (frequencies) [Fleisch/Fisch/Wurstwaren = meat/fish/sausages; Getreide = cereals; Gemüse = vegetables; Milchprodukte = dairy products; Eier = eggs; Andere Produkte = other products)
The product category "cereals" was the least classified as regional in all enterprises except bakeries.
To the question "Would you like to have (more) regional products in your assortment?" 74 persons (80 %) answered yes, 9 persons answered no (approx. 10 %). When asked what would make it easier to buy regional products, a higher acceptance by the customer for seasonal fluctuations in supply (56.5 %) was named as the most important prerequisite across all business categories. This is followed by the answer options "access/contact to regional producers" (51.5 %) and "higher customer willingness to pay" (30 %).
Fig. 3: "What would make it easier to source regional products?" (across all locality categories) [andere Faktoren = other factors; höhere Akzeptanz beim Kunden für saisonale Angebotsschwankungen = higher acceptance by the customer for seasonal fluctuations in supply; höhere Zahlungsbreitschaft beim Kunden = higher willingness to pay on the part of the customer; zuverlässige Lieferung = reliable delivery; Zugang/Kontakt zu regionalen Erzeugern = access/contact to regional producers]
For the surveyed butchers, the higher willingness to pay on the part of the customer (44 %) is the most frequently mentioned precondition for purchasing more regional products. For the business types "farmer's market" and "bakery", "access/contact to regional producers" was the most important precondition for purchasing regional food. The answer category "higher acceptance by the customer for seasonal fluctuations in supply" was the most decisive category for the increase of regional products in the assortment for the "organic shop/organic supermarket" (ca. 69 %) and the "conventional supermarket" (approx. 65 %). In the category "other factors", "clearer labelling of regional products" was mentioned most frequently.
Fig. 4: "What would make it easier to source regional products?" (frequencies across all locality categories) [nicht gekennzeichnet = unlabelled; kaum klar gekennzeichnet = hardly clearly labelled; weder klar noch unklar gekennzeichnet = neither clearly nor unclearly labelled; größtenteils klar gekennzeichnet = clearly labelled for the most part; immer klar gekennzeichnet = always clearly labelled]
The evaluation of the survey shows that the topic of regional food and value chains is more up-to-date than ever, especially against the background of the current climate and geopolitical crises. For the Dresden region, the establishment and consolidation of regional value chains in the agricultural and food industry still has room for improvement. However, the current state of development of regional trade and economic relations and the potential or "room for improvement" vary depending on the business and product category.
We would like to thank all participants in the survey. They made these results and the insights into the topic possible in the first place.
Citizen Science survey in Dresden and region: How regional is your shopping?
Survey from July to September 2021: Citizens surveyed food suppliers, restaurants & co. on the use of regional products
When shopping, many people make sure that the eggs are from the region, the vegetables at least come from Germany, or wait in spring until the strawberries are no longer from Spain but from the surrounding area. But what about the bread from your favourite baker? He may bake locally, but where do all the ingredients of his bread actually come from? Or at lunch with the colleagues: Are the vegetables on the plate from the freezer or fresh from the local producer? At the butcher's it is often even more complicated. There is a sign saying 'regional': does that mean that the slaughtering was done in the region, that the animals were raised and born there, or that the feed was produced regionally? According to the consumer and market study "Wie regional is(s)t Sachsen?" (How regional is/eats Saxony?), regionality is an important criterion for many producers when shopping, but identifying regional products is often not that easy. The OLGA project therefore invited citizens to ask about the origin of foodstuffs when shopping in butcher's shops and bakeries and when visiting restaurants, and to record these answers in a digital questionnaire. The aims of the survey were
to answer the question: How high is the share of regional food/products in restaurants, bakeries and butcher's shops in Dresden and the region?
to encourage the participating citizens to pay attention to regional origin when visiting a restaurant, butcher's shop or bakery.
The aim is to increase the focus on regionality in (retail) trade. The campaign is part of the Citizen Science movement, in which citizens actively participate in research processes.
The survey ran from 05.07.-30.09.2021 and has now been completed and evaluated. The results can be read in the following article.