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Abstract

Despite the modest regional consumption of organic products, Sicily is one of the most important European regions in surface area per number of companies active in organic farming. The University of Palermo, as early as 2000, to promote the development and success in this industry, the Faculty of Agriculture, introduced two major degree programs in "Organic Farming". The objective of these courses is to train graduates who are technically capable of supporting the organic farmers market, to promote and facilitate the expansion of the consumption of organic products, and to create employment opportunities for young graduates. At the end of 2009, in the area of these activities, a training and research program involved numerous students in the creation of an "joint consumption" association whose purpose is the expansion of the consumption of organic products through the enhancement of a direct relationship with small organic farms who would be unlikely to penetrate large markets, or have relationships with large distribution networks. The project aims to assess the ability of the students of the Faculty to transmit the knowledge acquired in the program, and to investigate the relative issues regarding the new phenomenon emerging in recent years in Italy, represented by the spread of various forms of ethically-conscious consumption groups called “Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale (GAS)” or Solidarity Purchase Groups.

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