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Terra Maronesa: a new food system for a new economy

Terra Maronesa is the first world territory to complete the transition to the new economy, based on its food system.

Photo of António Luís Ferreira
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Lead Applicant Organization Name


Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

• Aguiarfloresta - Associação Florestal e Ambiental de Vila Pouca de Aguiar (small NGO) • AT Coop - Alto Tâmega Cooperativo (small company - cooperative) • Carne Maronesa DOP (Farmer co-op) • IPB - Instituto Politécnico de Bragança (Researcher Institution) • Nutrition for Happiness (small company) • Natourtracks (small company) • Avelino Rego (farmer) • Joaquim Moutinho (farmer) • Heitor Fernandes (farmer) • Mário Queirós (farmer)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Municipalities of Ribeira de Pena (217,46 km²), Vila Pouca de Aguiar (437,07 km²), Vila Real (378,80 km²) and Mondim de Basto (172,08 km²)

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

This is a territory where we develop various activities of economic, social and cultural valorization; It is a territory with serious problems of development and sustainability, with a gradual decrease in population and a tendency of economic, environmental and social deterioration. For about 2 years, we have been participating in a community of practice that aims to foster the sustainable development of the territory through traditional agricultural practices, namely the breeding of cows in an extensive system, which guarantees animal welfare and sustainable food, while regenerates the ecosystem.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Maronesa Land, composed of the municipalities of Vila Real, Mondim de Basto, Ribeira de Pena and Vila Pouca de Aguiar, is landscaped with hills and meadows where native cows intersect with dedicated herders and farmland.

These are also the municipalities circumscribed by the Serra do Alvão, natural emblem of the territory.

A brushstroke landscape of purity and tradition. Characterized by a strong presence of granite and important areas of shale. In cultivated fields, many of them in terraces, are rye, corn, potatoes or squash. In the forest nuclei, the oaks with greater expression, followed by birch, hazel, holly, chestnut and laurel. Among the verdant flora the wild boar, the roe deer, the badger, the hare, the rabbit, the sardons and the horned viper cohabit. Symbioses between and between fauna and flora. Here is present all the wealth and inheritance that is part of a differentiated land that, with its traditions, is heading towards the valorization of its identity and its values.

The food identity of the Maronesa Land is based on five pillars:

  • Maronesa
  • Grazing
  • Fertile Land
  • From Spike to Bread
  • Gastronomy.


The Maronesa cow represents an added value in the territory. With the historical weight, it has become part of the identity of the people. It has been valued and recognized as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) breed. It is still a fertility engine for the soil of the small farmers who still maintain it. She is landscape manager and proves the possibility of extensive cattle raising with positive environmental impact. Affective value is also the engine of investment in livestock breeding, although innovative, simple and respectful and contrary to the nature of this independent race, in tame times. The Maronesa is today a symbol of innovation, environmentally responsible, and of creation in perfect respect for its well-being. It is the engine of the increased biodiversity of the mountains. In terms of food, it is a meat of different characteristics, sensitive and dependent on the way of raising and feeding the animal. Interesting organoleptically and nutritionally as a protein source of B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron.


There are still some shepherds in the territory, especially wild goat.

Fertile land:

Many types of food are grown in this territory: vegetables (potatoes, squash, kale, onions, garlic, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, turnips and turnip greens)) fruits (pear, apple, cherries, figs, grapes, sloes, peaches, persimmons, quinces, arbutus, pomegranates, tangerines and oranges.

From ear to bread:

There continues to be cereal cultivation and bread production.


The territory preserves a very rich gastronomic heritage, based on products and unique knowledge.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

How to ensure more income for the Maronesian cow breeders who apply the extensive method by rewarding them for the ecosystem services they provide to the territory? How to boost more consumption of local food products within the territory? How to preserve and enhance the cultural, natural and social heritage associated with traditional farming and animal husbandry practices? How to boost more environmental regeneration in the territory through the integrated management of agriculture, livestock and the entire food chain of the territory? How to foster innovation in the food system without compromising the essence and sustainability of traditional practices? How to ensure the valorization of traditional agricultural practices in territorial development policies? How to ensure more health and quality of life from the food system of the territory?

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Today's central pillar of the Terra Maronesa strategy is the enhancement and dissemination of an extensive Maronesa cow husbandry system from a multidimensional perspective: 

- economic 

- environmental / ecological 

- cultural 

- Social 

Today's Terra Maronesa strategy has the following strategic pillars: 

Vision: By 2030, the Terra Maronesa will be recognized nationally and internationally as an example and symbol of balance between people, animals and environment, with responsible, innovative and sustainable offerings. 


- animal welfare 

- Nature in balance 

- resilience 

- irreverence 

- authenticity 

- freedom 

- sustainability 

Mission: Guarantee the preservation and enhancement (economic, cultural, social and environmental) of the Maronesa breed and its associated territorial ecosystem, from a multidimensional perspective (cultural, social, environmental, economic, etc.), enhancing its sustainable development. 

Lines of action: 

A - Scientific research and development 

B - Technical and practical / operational dimension (agriculture) 

C - Tourism 

D - Culture and creative industries 

E - Gastronomy 

F - Communication 

Thus, it is visible that the whole strategy is based on a systemic perspective, involving multiple dimensions, stakeholders and professionals. As far as the food system is concerned, it is also clear that it underpins the whole strategy, as it is based on a new way of raising animals for food while contributing to the environmental, cultural and social regeneration of a rural and degenerated territory.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

In 2050: 

- extensive livestock farming will be widespread in the territory of Maronesa Land 

- the natural ecosystem of the territory will be vibrant and sustainable, with a high level of biodiversity, based on responsible and sustainable agricultural, economic, social and cultural practices. 

- there will be more people in the territory, with better health and overall quality of life 

- The territory will be a recognized destination for welcoming responsible and sustainable tourists and visitors, based on a unique, well-preserved and valued heritage. 

- fire will be a controlled element in the context of the territory's ecosystem and no severe fires will occur 

- The regenerative agricultural practices of the territory will be a national and international reference, being implemented in other zones and countries, contributing to the regeneration of other ecosystems, namely in mountainous areas. 

- there will be a new relationship between people and animals, where they will be respected and valued 

- Most food consumption in the territory will be from local products.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

A territory that, from the food system, fully embodies a new economy:

• Search for collective prosperity, not quantitative growth

• Win Win processes, not zero-sum games

• Collaboration and not competition

• Sustainability and regeneration, not extraction

• Participation and involvement, not imposition

• Justice and equity, not inequality

• Medium and Long Term, not Short Term

• Community and not individual

• Social innovation and co-creation, not “selfish” innovation

A territory in which:

• Animal welfare is essential - symbiosis and respect between People and Animals

• Being a farmer is valued and admired

• There is a vibrant biodiversity

• There is a healthy diet for everyone

• There is social equity

• There is quality of life for everyone

• There is abundance and good water management

• There is citizen participation in all dimensions of society and the economy

• Technology is at the service of collective well-being and food producers use it freely and usefully

• The economy is based on a “cosmopolitan localism” - whenever possible, local products are consumed and fair and symbiotic relationships are established with other regions, whenever relevant

• The natural ecosystem is sustainable and regenerative, based on climate-positive practices and processes

• There is responsible consumption of food, without waste

• Food identity is respected and valued

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Twitter

Attachments (1)

Projeto Terra Maronesa_v1.pdf

Summary of key aspects of the project and vision


Join the conversation:

Photo of Giok P Chua

Hi Antonio Luis Ferrerira
You have a cool project
Greeting from Kluang Malaysia
Wonder if we can JV for Total AgriFOOD ecoSystem for 2050
Have u visited our TRIPLE WINs@eco2KAMPONG Herbal Food Hub


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