The Toolkit for Participatory Guarantee Systems
This toolkit is aimed at anyone working to build local food systems as it addresses solidarity based initiatives such as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS). PGS and CSA are similar in their overall objectives of improving livelihoods of organic producers and increasing access to safe and nutritious food for consumers. Both PGS and CSA enhance transparency and shared decision-making processes, prioritizing a solidarity approach where the responsibilities for implementing sustainable agriculture practices are shared by the community.
The toolkit is composed of a series of tools:
- "PGS Guidelines. How to develop and manage Participatory Guarantee Systems for Organic Agriculture": these guidelines make the cornerstone of the toolkit. They highlight how, although developed independently in different countries and cultural contexts, PGS initiatives around the world share a common set of key elements and features. This revised edition of the PGS guidelines also propose a step by step approach for implementing PGS and introduce other important concepts like marketing and organisational arrangement.
- A new edition of the IFOAM Policy Brief on “How Governments Can Support Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS)”. Published for the first time in 2011, this Policy Brief on PGS is a landmark in IFOAM’s advocacy work. The document targets policy makers and advocates that wish to support PGS not only through recognition in their national organic regulatory systems, but also through different form of support aiming at promoting rather than regulating. For additional tips on how to ensure public support to PGS development you can check the dedicated section of the Guidelines for public support to organic agriculture.
- A master presentation introducing stakeholders to the key background information, elements and features of PGS. Click here to see the overview of the training programme articulated in 4 modules. Individuals and initiatives interested in getting to know more about how to develop PGS are encouraged to contact IFOAM - Organics International to receive additional information.
- The results from the IFOAM - Organics International global survey on PGS initiatives of 2019: exploring our maps you can you can get a global overview of the development of PGS. Click here to access the global PGS maps. The latest data on PGS development are also availble online by downloading the PDF version of the "The World of Organic Agriculture" published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), available here.
- A template checklist for peer reviews for crop production. The peer review provides a mechanism through which compliance to the standards and norms can be verified by peers. It also provides for knowledge exchange whereby all involved parties learn more about the standards and each other’s farming practices. Users are encouraged get inspiration and adapt the content of this checklist according to their needs. Designing, testing and adopting the right peer review based on the standards adopted is a fundamental step for every PGS initiative and for those CSA initiatives introducing farm visits in their everyday activities. This checklist comes together with a basic list of objectives and requirements that should be addressed in each organic standards, with a focus on crop production. This list is taken from the COROS (Common Objectives and Requirements for Organic Standards - also called “IFOAM Standards Requirements”).
- A publictaion exploring "Synergies between Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS)": Usually, CSAs are implemented through a strong partnership between one or several producers and a group of consumers who pay upfront to receive a share of the harvest. This publication, produced by URGENCI and Miramap, analyses needs and benefits that motivate CSA groups to include a PGS in their structures. The reasons span from the necessity of preserving the meaning of the CSA concept (i.e. with respect to the founding principles of CSA) to continuously improve the agricultural practices and the solidarity partnership.
- A direct witness from Christophe Nothomb, ex coordinator of the PGS program of the CSA initiative GASAP (Belgium). This organisation of producers and consumers has started since 2016 to experiment with PGS and the initiative is now fully operational. Learn how they started to set up and pilot their system.
- One case study that showcases the needs and benefiits for French CSAs to include formalised farm visits to better structure the partnership between consumers and producers and improve practices such as breaking free from chemical inputs dependence. The case study focuses on the experience of the Basque Country CSA network and was produced by Miramap.
- Three videos introducing the key PGS elements, sharing the experiences of PGS initiatives worldwide and showing how peer reviews are carried out within the PGS initiative of Nature et Progrès
PGS and local sustainable food systems
An animated journey into PGS
2019, CZ, EN, FR, GR, HU
PGS: An introduction to Participatory Guarantee Systems
Shorter version with the main messages of our PGS Guide,
2016, CZ, EN, FR, GR, HU, IT, PT
The Peer Review of Nature et Progrès
2019, CZ, EN, FR, GR, HU
- Read the story of one of our partners Pro-Bio Liga : How Can We Build Local Food Systems? Experiences from the Czech Republic
If you would like to be added to our PGS mailing list, contact pgs [at] ifoam.bio. The mailing list subscription enables you to keep up to date on future developments related to this topic.
To learn more about Participatory Guarantee Systems:
- PGS basics: Learn about PGS and find answers to common questions
- For PGS advocates and policymakers: Why invest in Participatory Guarantee Systems? (FAO and IFOAM - Organics International, 2019)
- Access IFOAM PGS Media Library for more videos and publications in different lenguages.
- See also our tailor made PGS trainings and consultancies page.
To learn more about Community Supported Agriculture:
- Visit Urgenci website
- Visit Urgenci's CSA Training Hub created under the CSAct project, also funded by the Earmus Programme.
- Download the publication "Be Part of CSA! Supporting Booklet for Training on Community Supported Agriculture".
Most of the materials cited in this page were produced with the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, in the freamwork of the EATingCRAFT project.