Life According to Nature’s Rhythm is the title of Kuopio‘s proposed programme that gained them the prestigious European Region of Gastronomy Award for 2020. “One of our key objectives is to promote innovation activities in the region’s food and hospitality companies, including new products, new approaches and food-related business innovations” states Kuopio’s bid book.
Counsellor of Veterinary and Food Safety Affairs at Permanent Representation of Finland to the European Union, Dr. Ari Hörman welcomed the audience to the Award Ceremony and congratulated Kuopio region prior to being officially awarded the title by IGCAT on 11 October 2017, in the prestigious premises of the Embassy of Finland in Brussels, under the umbrella of Finland’s centenary celebrations.
The region’s concept and programme was then introduced by International Coordinator of ProAgria North Savo, Ilona Sares who demonstrated the wide stakeholder involvement in Kuopio. The bid noted that “Kuopio will ensure that food and tourism products have international appeal through collaboration between companies in the food, tourism and creative sectors” and will “take advantage of the opportunities to integrate companies in the health and wellness sector with the food and tourism industry.” The bid was then visually illustrated in a video.
Manager of Research and Development at Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Antti Iire further illustrated Kuopio’s programme focus areas, stressing that supporting SME’s, Innovation, Health and Education will be the focus areas for their programme.
President of IGCAT, Dr. Diane Dodd had the honour of presenting the award of European Region of Gastronomy 2020 to Kuopio complementing Kuopio on the excellent work they have already done to promote Kuopio as a health and food destination. The award was officially accepted by Director-General of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Savo, Kari Virranta who expressed his warm gratitude for the award and hope that the title will give encouragement to the region to grow and prosper.
The Award Ceremony concluded with a tasting of local food from Kuopio region, prepared by one of the region’s finest chefs, Aki Hiltunen.
Already, awarded European Regions of Gastronomy welcomed Kuopio into their Platform and organised stands offering innovative food products form their territories.
The event took place in the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities 2017, following the workshop on Food and gastronomy as innovation drivers for more resilient regions organised by IGCAT and attended by speakers from the Regions of Gastronomy Platform.
In June 2017, an international jury of independent experts chaired by International Liaison Officer at UNWTO – Themis Foundation, Dr. Edith Szivas recommended the title to be given to Kuopio, based on the region’s capacity of harmonising within its programme its targeted European Region of Gastronomy key focus areas (Support to SMEs; Promotion of innovation; Health; and Education); engaging a wide stakeholder group; demonstrating a strong sense of place; and conveying a strong pride in local regional products and heritage.
About the European Region of Gastronomy
The European Region of Gastronomy Platform and Award aim 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. Candidate regions are invited to join a knowledge-exchange platform of European regions in order to further cross-border collaborations and develop shared initiatives.
IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism) is a non-profit organisation established in 2012 working in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. Through its worldwide network of experts, IGCAT aims to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating, and supporting local leaders in cities, regions and cultural projects to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets.