AlpFoodway: An Interreg Alpine Space Project

The AlpFoodway project aims to create a sustainable development model for peripheral mountain areas based on the preservation/valorization of Alpine Space cultural food heritage and on the adoption of innovative marketing and governance tools.

Foodways are cultural and socioeconomic practices related to food production and consumption

Food heritage is a strong source of identity for alpine populations. It goes beyond products to include productive landscapes and traditional knowledge on production techniques, consumption customs and rituals, and transmission of ancient wisdom. Nowadays, depopulation, ageing population and globalization put Alpine food heritage at risk of disappearing. The AlpFoodway project aims to create a sustainable development model for peripheral mountain areas based on the preservation/valorization of Alpine Space cultural food heritage and on the adoption of innovative marketing and governance tools. Also, it wants to foster the emerging of a transnational alpine identity based on the common cultural values expressed in food heritage contributing to offer future generations living opportunities in mountain areas.

The project contributes to a recent international debate on the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the valorization actions. According to UNESCO (the 2013 UNESCO Convention), Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) consists in the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. Appropriately promoted, Alpine Food Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) can become an intangible asset, based on experiential and symbolic elements, capable of differentiating products and services in the eyes of tourists and other consumers. While all Alpine administrations are experimenting safeguard and valorization solutions, results are still fragmented and more coordination among all the actors involved is required. The project wants answer to this request at a scale – the entire Alps – never attempted before, in order to generate a broad Alpine network exchanging existing strategies, policies, tools and good practices valorizing Alpine Food Heritage. Also, as future perspective, the project could allow Alpine community to inscribe the Alpine food heritage on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list as a traditional foodway.

Kedge Business School is very proud to contribute to this ambitious project thanks to the competences developed by its researchers in the field of marketing and consumer culture theory

KEDGE activities

Kedge Business School is responsible for the identification of the best practices in the commercial valorization of Alpine Food ICH. By linking heritage with consumer culture, and marketing to external markets with internal participative processes, it will be possible to provide actionable knowledge on sustainable development (for example, km0, food waste reduction, etc.). From a methodological point of view, this will be carried out through a desk analysis of current  Alpine Food ICH commercial valorization practices; field studies of relevant cases of success; digital ethnography of market responses and consumer meanings; comparative analysis and development of educational, policy & managerial guidelines.

Alpfoodway was considered innovative by the EU Alpine Space program, which only funds a small number of the submitted projects, since it links food heritage with marketing and consumer culture, and does not consider heritage communities as passive recipients of ‘top-down’ interventions, but instead supports ‘bottom-up’ mobilization processes based on engagement/empowerment of the citizenship in order to find new approaches to the commercial valorization of authentic traditions.

The main outputs of the project will include

  • A Vision Paper on the safeguard and commercial valorization of the Alpine Food Intangible Cultural Heritage, which will summarize key insights and recommendations for Alpine farmers, firms, tourism and local economic development authorities, policy makers, and NGOs;
  • A Charta of Alpine Food ICH values, which will made available to sign by those (individual citizen-consumers, entrepreneurs, politicians, firms, NGOs, institutions) who will commit themselves to take action to safeguard and valorize the Alpine food and its intangible cultural heritage;
  • A better understanding of traditional food heritage in the Alps and its role in sustainable development, thanks also to the creation of a cutting edge online inventory;
  • Courses and educational units that will be made available to educational institutions across the Alps and beyond;
  • A cultural exchange platform based on events and tourist tours.  

The 14 Alpfoodway partners, from Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria and Slovenia, cover geographically and linguistically the entire Alpine space and contribute to the project thanks to their differentiated competencies in sustainable development, marketing, tourism, ICH safeguarding, and agricultural market strategies. 

Partners

  • Polo Poschiavo (CH)
  • Ethnographic and Social History Archive, Lombardy Region (IT)
  • Kedge Business School (FR)
  • Mountain Community of Camonica Valley (IT)
  • Regional Center of Alpine Population Studies-CREPA (CH)
  • RDA of Northern Primorska Ltd. Nova Gorica (SLO)
  • Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SLO)
  • Trentino School of Management (IT)
  • Autonomous Region of Aosta Valley - Department for Education and Culture (IT)
  • Bauges Regional Natural Park (FR)
  • Development agency for Upper Gorenjska (SLO)
  • Dislivelli Association (IT)
  • Munich University of Applied Sciences (DE)
  • University of Innsbruck (AT)

The project will last three years and will end October 31st 2019. The total funding amounts to 2,540,566 EUR of which 1,923,130 EUR covered by the ERDF grant.

Alpfoodway website

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