Life According to Nature’s Rhythm starts!

Kuopio officially opens its kick-off year as European Region of Gastronomy 2020-21 with the theme of Life According to Nature’s Rhythm. The Opening Ceremony took place on 11 September 2020 with a special focus on nature, healthy food and well-being.

Kuopio’s programme aims to favour sustainable development based on cross-sectoral cooperation among local stakeholders and their active engagement in the development of an innovative tourist offer that integrates wellness with local gastronomy and culture.

Hosted at Kuopion Saana building, the ceremony was opened by Ilona Sares, International Executive Director, Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation & ProAgria Eastern Finland and Antti Iire, Manager Research and Development, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, both IGCAT Experts and representatives of two of the founding stakeholders of Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021.

Moderated by Tiina Naumanen and Olavi Rytkönen, the event included interventions by Katri Kostamo, Chief Executive Officer, ProAgria Eastern Finland; Pekka Vähäkangas, Deputy Major, City of Kuopio; Satu Vehreävesa, Director of Regional Development, Regional Council of North Savo; Pasi Patrikainen, Director General, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in North Savo.

The Opening Ceremony was streamed live to international audience participation and included a video message of support from IGCAT President, Dr. Diane Dodd and representatives of the other awarded European Regions of Gastronomy. Unable to attend the event due to the travel restrictions imposed by Covid-19, colleagues from the European Regions of Gastronomy Platform applauded Kuopio’s efforts to celebrate their programme despite the challenging circumstances, and wished the region a very successful title year and promising to visit soon.

The ceremony concluded the 7th Annual IGCAT Experts’ Meeting, a two-day event organised under the theme Food, Well-being and Wellness Tourism, and included the announcement of the winners of the 1st European Food Gift Challenge, held in Kuopio on 10 September, and of the Food Film Menu 2020.

About the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform   

Candidate and awarded World Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness; stimulate creativity and gastronomic innovation; educate for better nutrition; improve sustainable tourism standards; highlight distinctive food cultures; and strengthen community well-being.


IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health and local economies.

IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.

IGCAT provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the Young Chef Award, the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.