Safeguarding biodiversity in collaboration with Slow Food

In support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, IGCAT ́s World Regions of Gastronomy not only have great culinary assets but they are also committed to stimulating debate about the production of sufficient and healthy food for everyone.

We know there is enough food to feed the world if we protect the planet’s biodiversity. Food kilometres, sustainable farming practices, the importance of pollinators and food waste are focus areas that both awarded and candidate regions are already addressing to contribute to our collective aim to secure our future food security.

Today, IGCAT’s aim to help safeguard biodiversity took another important stride through a webinar presented by Carolina Modena, focal point for biodiversity projects at Slow Food International. This webinar follows the signing of a collaboration agreement with Slow Food on 22 February 2023 and is considered a first action to inform IGCAT’s experts and awarded Regions of Gastronomy about how to get involved with this important global movement.

Carolina Modena, has been with Slow Food since 2017 and works on the project and content hub that has a specific focus on biodiversity so she shared information with participants about:

ARK OF TASTE – a catalogue of food and agricultural products that are at risk of extinction. This is an important project to hold on to specific flavours that will never be recovered if we don’t safeguard the plants and animal species that provide;

SLOW FOOD PRESIDIA – to support producers within a food community that are trying to preserve our food diversity despite globalisation pressures;

SLOW FOOD COOK’S ALLIANCE – supporting chefs that are putting an emphasis on food diversity and food waste as well as other more sustainable practises;

TERRA MADRE DAY – 10 December, to support earth markets;

SLOW FOOD YOUTH NETWORK’S DISCO SOUP DAY (this year to be celebrated on 29 April) – where young people are educating on what can be done with leftovers to avoid food waste;

SLOW BEANS – a campaign to raise the status of this nutritious and important food that has lost popularity in recent years.

Unfortunately, the webinar only had time to explore one pillar of Slow Food’s amazing work but this already generated thinking on how IGCAT can help encourage more people to get involved through the World Regions of Gastronomy.

President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD noted «involvement in the inspiring work of Slow Food is now a must for awarded World Regions of Gastronomy and has been included as an evaluation tool to judge the success of the Award. IGCAT will explore further how our projects and programmes can encourage more participation in Slow Food throughout our awarded regions.»

Wendy Barrie, Scottish Food Guide & Scottish Cheese Trail Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador, highlighted the important parallels between the aims of IGCAT’s joint projects and Slow Food, and noted the need for the network to be more proactive in nominating food products at risk and possible future slow food ambassadors.

The presence of IGCAT Expert Ana Maria Barata, Head of the Portuguese National Genebank (BPGV) in Minho, European Region of Gastronomy 2016 provoked the conversation to consider the need to resuscitate already extinct plants. Gemma Moliner, who represents a public body promoting food producer, PRODECA in Catalonia, candidate World Region of Gastronomy 2025 noted that it would be possible for a public body to nominate producers.

IGCAT Expert and author of The Age of Culture, Paul Schafer from Canada, asked if we could do more to campaign for food education in schools given that many current school initiatives tend to be extra-curricular activities and this subject is of vital importance for the planet.

Sari Kaasinen and Anu-Annette Varho from Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024 noted the importance of clean fishing and educating consumers to eat local fish that has been traditionally sourced and welcomed the project SLOW FISH.

Finally, Sílvia Anglada, IGCAT Expert and Slow Food Ambassador in Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy 2022 offered to support in any way possible to bring about a closer union between the two institutions, for example through IGCAT’s European Young Chef Award.

Carolina Modena welcomed the proactive approach from IGCAT’s network and remarked that: “we must all work together to ensure the protection of our biodiversity and ultimately our food security.”

About Slow Food

Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us. Since its beginnings, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.

About the World/European Regions of Gastronomy

World/European Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to strengthen food security through the celebration of distinctive food cultures; create employment by stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; nourish children and adults through culinary and cultural education; driving environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; supporting balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlighting and supporting expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practices; and contributing to community health and well-being.


IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance of protecting and promoting distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguarding our planet, health, wellness 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 founded the World/European Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World/European Regions of Gastronomy Platforms. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the World Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers Award and the international Food Film Menu.