During the November 2014 Art of Food meeting, professionals (academics and policy-makers) from  tourism, cultural and food sectors raised concerns regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between EU and USA and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between EU and Canada. Both TTIP and CETA are bilateral trade agreements that are currently being negotiated and that will set the legal framework for trade in the future and thus will affect specific sectors (agriculture, industry, cultural products and services, food, tourism etc.).

IGCAT has identified this free trade agreement as an important trend which demands further attention. If adequate safeguards are not enshrined in the free trade agreement, this will logically affect national and regional cultural subsidies and schemes, harm local and regional employment in the cultural and local food sector, harm food quality and safety and affect agricultural diversity and biodiversity. All these possible detrimental effects of the trade agreements are counterproductive to the strengthening of the conditions of the SME’s, artists, local food sectors, agricultural cooperatives, governments, small farms, sustainable tourism and the creative sector in Europe.

The Spring 2015 edition of the Art of Food Report on Culture and Food Diversity will examine progresses made so far, and consider what more can be done to support culture and food diversity for the future, and will answer the following questions:

  • How can regions and cities support food and cultural diversity? And who else is advocating for food and cultural diversity and can we join forces?
  • What role can we play in lobbying the EU on food diversity issues? And can we identify good practice and citizen-led initiatives?
  •  Should the public sector subsidise local cultural and food production/products? How can we measure the benefits in supporting culture and food diversity i.e. sustainable tourism, SME development?

The report will be issued/published in the form of a short digest focusing on specific areas to enable readers to respond quickly to new challenges. The Culture and Food Diversity Report, authored by Dr. Diane Dodd, IGCAT’s Director, is due to be published in Spring 2015.

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