What is a PGS initiative?

PGS stands for Participatory Guarantee System. Getting a PGS initiative off the ground means bringing together at the local level a group of people (who may be the same people involved in the Slow Food Community) interested in certifying and guaranteeing the quality of a product or production. In the case of Slow Food, “quality” means food that is good, flavorsome and healthy, whose production does not harm the environment and which ensures accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers.

I want to start a PGS initiative, what should I do?

First read Slow Food’s PGS Manual to see if you can launch an initiative in your area. If you are not yet in a Slow Food Community, check to see if there is one nearby or create one here. Then contact the relevant area coordinator so that together we can plan the initial steps for implementation.

How much does it cost to start a PGS initiative?

A PGS initiative itself has no fixed costs, but keep in mind that to make it work there needs to be a time commitment from all participants, and there will be some expenses related to travel for meetings and field visits. Read the manual to work out the feasibility for your group.

Is it necessary to be a Slow Food Community to start a PGS initiative?

In order to launch an initiative within Slow Food, it is highly recommended to have first established a Slow Food Community, as the community represents a group of people with a common intent who embrace the philosophy of the Slow Food movement. This makes it the perfect nucleus from which to develop a PGS initiative.

Is a PGS a Slow Food certification?

Slow Food staff support and assist Slow Food Communities to create these initiatives, providing them with the tools to develop this alternative certification method. The creation of the methodology used for Slow Food’s PGS is the result of collective work, involving many stakeholders in the Slow Food network and various experts in the field, including consultants from IFOAM – Organics International. But Slow Food is not the certifying body, because the schemes are initiated and developed entirely at the local level. A PGS developed within a Slow Food project serves to provide an additional quality certification tool, an alternative to the self-certification primarily used in Slow Food projects to date.

What are the benefits of being part of a Slow Food PGS initiative?

Being part of a PGS initiative brings a number of benefits, including an improved producer-consumer relationship and market access, quality assurance/certification for small-scale producers, continuous learning and local community development, ownership of certification and shared responsibility (empowerment), a more diverse production system and the promotion of strong community values.


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