Under the theme Urban and Rural, the 1st EUREGA Interregional Knowledge Exchange visit took place in Sibiu, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019, on 11-14 February 2019.
Hosted by Sibiu County Council, the meeting aimed to share knowledge, expertise and good practices among the partners that support a re-connection between the urban and rural settings in the area of food.
Interesting case studies from the regions involved included among others: DM Natural Farming (South Aegean), the first farm of natural cultivation of aromatic and medicinal herbs in the island of Rhodes; Welcome to the farm (Catalonia), an initiative encouraging urban dwellers to visit Catalonia’s farms and involving restaurants and accommodation structures in the countryside; and REKO B2C (Kuopio) that facilitates consumers to buy local products directly from local producers through Facebook.
The meeting gathered representatives from all the 9 European partners involved in the project who had the chance to experience first-hand some of the initiatives developed in Sibiu to strengthen the link between the city and the countryside. Among them: APILIFE, that promotes awareness of the importance of bee products for health and nutrition; Association Hosman Durabil, that works on innovation in rural development to support local communities in the Hârtibaciului Valley; and Karpaten Meat Farm, producing high-quality meat according to sustainability principles.
The EUREGA project (EUropean REgions of GAstronomy building resilience and creating economic growth) is funded by the Interreg Europe programme. It has been developed by a consortium including six awarded European Regions of Gastronomy and building on their experience “to have food, food habits and gastronomy included and recognised in EU, regional and national strategies and policies both as a cultural asset and strong element in regional cultural identity and as a necessary tool to boost sustainable products and services.”
The 9 partners involved the Eurega project are: the Municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the Province of Noord-Brabant (North Brabant, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2018 – Netherlands); the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (Galway-West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2018 – Ireland); Sibiu County Council (Sibiu, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019 – Romania); the Development Agency of South Aegean Region – READ S.A. (South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019 – Greece); ProAgria Pohjois-Savo (Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020 – Finland); PRODECA – Government of Catalonia (Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016); Hajdú-Bihar County Government (Hungary); and IGCAT.
IGCAT is the Advisory Partner of EUREGA, offering expert advice to help the regions involved work on their challenges and objectives, and is in charge of monitoring and evaluating the project’s results.
About the European Region of Gastronomy
Candidate and awarded Regions of Gastronomy from Europe, guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness and share the long-term aim to: promote a better quality of life in European regions; highlight distinctive food cultures; educate for better health and sustainability; nurture creativity; improve tourism standards; and stimulate gastronomic innovation.
IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health 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 provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the European Region of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.