New Ways to Buy and Sell: An Information Management Web System for the Commercialization of Agricultural Products from Family Farms without Intermediaries

New Ways to Buy and Sell: An Information Management Web System for the Commercialization of Agricultural Products from Family Farms without Intermediaries

Carlos Ferrás (University of Santiago Compostela, Spain), Yolanda García (University of Santiago Compostela, Spain) and Mariña Pose (University of Santiago Compostela, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-042-6.ch072
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Abstract

We also intend to carry out an in-depth empirical and theoretical study of the territorial and social effects linked to the development of the information and communication society in rural communities. Our aim is to assist the progress of public decision-making and administrative efficiency for when the time comes to invest in suitable services and activities related to the information society in the rural environment, by defining the needs of those citizens resident in peripheral regions-areas with the purpose of developing their competitiveness and addressing the new social demands generated.
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Introduction

Galicia, in the north-west of Spain, is an area which is cut off and switched off as an information society, occupying the lower places in the ranks of users of new technologies according to the information provided in the Retevisión-eEspaña 2007 report (pp. 232-235). Bearing in mind that Spain is in penultimate place at a European level, Galicia’s marginal position as an information society is emphasized still further. A research team from the University of Santiago is developing a pilot scheme in several rural municipalities spread over Galicia with the objective of prompting social, economic and cultural development in the Galician rural environment and spreading the use of new communication and information technologies. The Granxafamiliar pilot scheme is part of a research module called E-Inclusion within the organic structure of the SINDUR project (Information Society and Urban-Regional Development) (SEC2002-01874, SEG2006/08889). In this chapter we present the technical and scientific characteristics of SINDUR, the methodology and development of granxafamiliar.com, an interactive multimedia digital tool designed to face the phenomenon of social exclusion known as the “Digital Divide” of the peripheral regions cut off from the information society and of the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs).

SINDUR started in 2002 as part of the national R & D plan of the now defunct Ministry for Science and Technology, today part of the Ministry for Education, and among its objectives was a plan to create and give continuity to a scientific debate forum focused on the analysis of the impact of new technologies on peripheral regions. This is currently in its second phase. The purpose of the SINDUR project is to study the effects and impacts of the information society on urban development in peripheral regions, in order to assess quality of life and promote the spread of information and communication technologies as tools of social assistance in facing the phenomena of socio-territorial exclusion known as the “Digital Divide”. It involves researching, from a social point of view, the communities and territories which are cut off and switched off from the information society. The overall objective of the SINDUR project is to make a theoretical and empirical study of the territorial and social effects linked to the development of the information society and to the implementation of information and communication technologies. We intend to assist the progress of public decisions and administrative efficiency when the time comes to invest in the services and suitable activities of the information society, defining the needs of the cities and peripheral regions to develop their competitiveness and to address the new social demands generated.

The Granxafamiliar.com project involved the design, architecture and implementation of an information system, communication through a public website and another private site for managing the contents. This website was conceived using advanced free PHP programming with a strong multimedia content. It provides video, sound and digital image about the family farms to be shown and the products that they are offering for sale. The architecture, editorial management and general broadcasting of the granxafamiliar interactive multimedia portal was carried out with the collaboration of two computer teams responsible for the design and programming of the website.

Granxafamiliar is an information system for promoting and selling quality farm produce from family farms without intermediaries. To give it an outlet of quality and elegance, but without losing its natural Galician roots are the premises used to build the graphical framework for its promotion. The graphic design started with the creation of the brand. The distinguishing values of the project are reflected graphically in various components of the brand. Granxafamiliar.com has been in operation since 2008, is successful and is currently offering products from 24 family farms from 20 Galician districts. These families are selling their products throughout Spain, especially in cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, as well as at a local level in the urban regions of Galicia. We handle quantitative and qualitative data, which allows us to present a critical analysis of this project’s progress.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Death of Distance: Refers to overcoming physical distance, understood as a geographical barrier or obstacle to the diffusion of information, knowledge and innovation between different places situated on the Earth’s surface. It implies new mobility and development possibilities in peripheral rural areas which are traditionally remote and isolated.

Virtual Communities: Are social groups that interact bi-directionally using new communication technologies. Basically, people belonging to these communities complement off-line communication with on-line communication and, therefore, the speed and intensity of the flow of the information exchanged increases considerably.

Granxafamiliar.com: Is an information management system for the commercialization of agricultural products of family farms.

Digital Divide: Is the phenomena of socio-territorial exclusion of those communities which do not have access to information and communication technology.

Family Agricultural Products: Refer to those which are produced by families resident in rural areas from sustainable cultural practices. They are organically-grown products or with little fungicidal treatment.

Connected and Unconnected Communities: Are those communities that use or do not use information and communication technologies.

Place Marketing: Studies illustrate the most prominent characteristics of rural cultural heritage, with the purpose of attracting investment, promoting and developing productive activities and strengthening the territorial identity of the resident community, and the self-esteem and quality of life of the local citizens. ICTs may facilitate the diffusion of local brand images and end the traditional isolation of marginal rural areas.

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