IGCAT and Slow Food join forces to support sustainable food futures

IGCAT and Slow Food have joined forces to support the safeguard and promotion of cultural, food and biodiversity. This new collaboration was formalised on 15 December at the Saudi Feast Food Festival in Riyadh, where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD and Director General of Slow Food, Paolo Di Croce.

Thanks to the Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the two organisations had the opportunity to meet in Aseer, recently awarded World Region of Gastronomy 2024. Given their shared aim of protecting and promoting food diversity, the two international organisations agreed on a general framework of cooperation.

Diane Dodd highlighted that: “From awareness-raising actions on the importance of protecting distinct food, cultural and natural assets; to educational and training activities to improve knowledge of food and biodiversity; to initiatives promoting sustainable tourism growth, there are many opportunities for us to work together to ultimately contribute to safeguarding our food futures in awarded World and European Regions of Gastronomy”

Paolo di Croce remarked that: “we share the same values and same aim to protect the planet, and collaborations are all important to strengthen our potential for impact. This agreement will hopefully be followed up with concrete actions to meet our shared objectives.”

Organised by the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission, the Saudi Feast – Food Festival was the perfect venue for the signing of this agreement. The Food Festival is the 1st of its kind in the Kingdom and celebrates Saudi Arabia’s food heritage with educational, cultural and entertaining experiences for visitors, including cooking shows, workshops, exhibitions, competitions and performances. Slow Food’s exhibition on the Ark of Taste project was remarkable, and IGCAT also participated with a stand in order for people to understand the values underlining the World Region of Gastronomy Award and to see the winning film Let’s Go to Aseer! from IGCAT’s 2022 Food Film Menu.

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 network of volunteer activists in over 160 countries, and closely collaborates with other associations and institutions 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.

Photo credit: Saudi Feast and Culinary Arts Commission