Wednesday, 20 January 2021

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Is sustainability the next stage of gastronomy?

Local fruit stand Armenia | ©World Bank Photo/Flore de Préneuf

We all enjoy a good meal and many of us now have food high up our to-do list when heading off on vacation. But did you know sustainable gastronomy can play a major role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? Today’s Sustainable Gastronomy Day aims to highlight the contribution of sustainable gastronomy to the SDGs, by promoting agricultural development, food security, nutrition, sustainable food production and the conservation of biodiversity.

In November 2016, member states adopted a resolution to mark “Sustainable Gastronomy Day” yearly on 18 June. A decision that acknowledges gastronomy as a cultural expression related to the natural and cultural diversity of the world. It also reaffirms that all cultures and civilizations are contributors and crucial enablers of sustainable development.

The United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which leads this year’s International Year for Sustainable Tourism, has been promoting sustainable gastronomy as part of the Year’s objectives. Its Gastronomy Network provides the ideal space to bring together experts, destination management organizations, academics, private sector stakeholders and governmental entities to work together to advance knowledge in gastronomy tourism. And, an Affiliate Members Programme of UNWTO has published its 2nd Global Report on Food Tourism, providing a holistic perspective of the state of gastronomy tourism today and an outlook for the future of the sector. 

As global tourism is on the rise and competition between destinations increases, unique local and regional intangible cultural heritage has become increasingly the discerning factor for the attraction and amusement of tourists. In this regard, gastronomy tourism has emerged as particularly important, not only because food and drink is central to any tourist experience, but also because the concept of gastronomy tourism has evolved to encompass cultural practices, local history, values and culture heritage. Today, gastronomy tourism is often considered as an indispensable resource for tourism destinations, adding value and providing a solution to an increasingly pressing need for destinations to stand out and offer unique products.

In Europe, a number of initiatives among chef’s, city councils, regional bodies and nationally, have seen the day in Europe in support of Sustainable Gastronomy. The European Region of Gastronomy Platform and Award, to name just one, aims to contribute to better quality of life in European regions, by highlighting distinctive food cultures, educating for better health and sustainability and stimulating gastronomic innovation.

We encourage you to look up Sustainable Gastronomy initiatives near you, support your local producers and encourage sustainable production methods. 


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