Opening North Brabant’s year as food region

A promising year has just started for North Brabant, European Region of Gastronomy 2018 (The Netherlands) that officially opened its title year on 1 March 2018 in front of representatives from local and foreign authorities, the Regions of Gastronomy Platform, and local and international press.

The region of North Brabant formally presented its We Are Food 2018 programme in the stunning background of the Industrial Heritage Foundation Meierij, in Veghel, North Brabant, a former industrial complex reconverted to an innovative centre including food courts, a supermarket, and acting as a meeting point for food professionals to share ideas and find creative solutions.

Under the motto We are Food – Better Food in Brabant, the region will work on challenging key focus areas by implementing a broad programme of activities aimed to allow professionals, tourists and local inhabitants “to experience agrifood and stimulate conversations about sustainable and healthy food production.”

After receiving more than 100 proposals from stakeholders in the region, the programme has been spread over 10 months to cover themes pertinent to the region and divided into “kitchen-themed” activities.

The ceremony was also attended by representatives from Galway-West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy 2018 that will open their title year on 16 March 2018. Attendees from Galway were: Coordinator of Galway-West of Ireland European Region of Gastronomy 2018, Elaine Donohue; Head of the Department of Culinary Arts & Service Industries of Galway International Hotel School at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Jacinta Dalton. The delegation wished North Brabant well and noted their enthusiasm for collaborative opportunities that sharing the title year will bring.

The event, moderated by Hans Steenbergen was introduced by the Vice-Governor of the Province of North Brabant, Annemarie Spierings who warmly welcomed the audience and expressed her delight in celebrating such a coveted and appreciated acknowledgement as the European Region of Gastronomy title.

President of IGCAT and Executive Director of the Regions of Gastronomy Platform, Dr. Diane Dodd intervened explaining that, in order to obtain the title, regions are expected to build a strong cross-sectoral and dedicated local stakeholder group; set clear objectives and state a long-term commitment; work together and share knowledge within the Regions of Gastronomy Platform.

Dr. Dodd concluded her intervention with some words of encouragement to 2018 European Regions of Gastronomy claiming that the Award is an honour and a commitment, as well as the beginning of a participatory process in which everyone, from educators to agrifood actors, from small businesses to the whole community, especially families and young children, contribute to a healthy food culture for the future.

A hand-over ceremony took place between 2017 and 2018 European Regions of Gastronomy. Aarhus/Central Denmark Region (Denmark) represented by Advisor of the City of Aarhus, Jesper Christensen; East Lombardy (Italy) represented by Scientific Secretary of East Lombardy, European Region of Gastronomy 2017, Elena Viani, from the University of Bergamo; and Riga-Gauja (Latvia) represented by Head of Live Riga (Riga Tourism Development Bureau), Vita Jermolovica handed over local gifts from their regions to North Brabant and Galway-West of Ireland, who officially picked the baton up as 2018 European Regions 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. IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism) organises the award with the support of European institutions.

IGCAT 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. IGCAT is the official secretariat for the Region of Gastronomy Platform and provides the European Region of Gastronomy Award, the European Young Chef Award and the Local Food Gift Project.

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