- freely available
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1748; doi:10.3390/su9101748
2. Addressing Sustainable Development
“a process of synergetic integration and co-evolution among the great subsystems making up a city (economic, social, physical and environmental), which guarantees the local population a non-decreasing level of wellbeing in the long term, without compromising the possibilities of development of surrounding areas and contributing by this towards reducing the harmful effects of development on the biosphere”.
3. A Note on Methods
4. Academic Perspectives
4.1. Agriculture and Rural Studies (Agri-Food Systems, Supply Chains and Rural Development)
4.1.1. The Rural Development Paradigm
4.1.2. Local Food and GI Products
- Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) identifies products that are produced, processed and prepared in a specific geographical area using the expertise of local producers and ingredients from the region concerned. Characteristics of these products are linked to their geographical origin.
- Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) identifies products whose quality or reputation is linked to the place or region in which they are produced, processed or prepared even if the ingredients used do not necessarily come from that geographical area.
- Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG) identifies products of a traditional character, either in the composition or means of production, without having a link to a specific geographical area.
4.1.3. Short Food Supply Chains and Alternative Food Networks
4.2. Place/Destination Marketing and Place/Destination Branding
“a network of associations in the consumers’ mind based on the visual, verbal, and behavioural expression of a place, which is embodied through the aims, communication, values, behaviour and the general culture of the place’s stakeholders and the overall place design”. (p. 7)
4.2.1. Local Resources and Actors for Place Branding Based on F&G
4.2.2. Celebrating the Local: Food Events and Festivals
4.3. Food Tourism
4.3.1. Local Food and GI Products
4.3.2. Place, Food and People: Understanding Authenticity
Authenticity of Food and Food Experiences
Local Food Experience: Attraction or Impediment?
“A foodie is a person who is very, very, very interested in food. Foodies are the ones talking about food in any gathering—salivating over restaurants, recipes, radicchio. They do not think they are being trivial—Foodies consider food to be an art, on a level with painting or drama”. (p. 6)
5. Food and Gastronomy’s Role in Sustainable Place Development Policy
5.1. Food products with Geographical Indication (GI)
“an origin-linked product can become the pivotal point of a specific-quality virtuous circle within a territorial approach, meaning that its promotion as a GI product can have positive effects that are reinforced over time, thus allowing preservation of the agrifood system and related social networks, which in turn contributes to economic, sociocultural and environmental sustainability”.
5.2. Food Systems
5.3. Food as Cultural Heritage and Creative Sector
5.4. Food Tourism
- Local agri-food products originate from a particular area, and their origin represents a source of differentiation resulting from their local identity or typicality. They are considered both material products and intangible heritage .
- GI products represent a specific subset of local food in which the link between the product and the place (considered both in its geographical and its cultural dimension) is explicit and generally branded (e.g., PDO, PGI, and TSG). Typicity relates not only to the productive process but also to the actors that give it a collective dimension  and imbue it with cultural values shared by the community.
- Local food systems (e.g., SFSC, AFN, and LFSs) contribute to linking agriculture, society, producers and consumers and shortening the physical and relational distances between producers and consumers/tourists .
- Landscape (terroir) may be considered a synthesis between local biodiversity and sociocultural traditions .
- Local gastronomy (culinary practices) is linked to the culture, tradition and identity of the place and its people .
- Local food consumption places (restaurants, agritourism, wineries, bars, etc.) are locations at which the attributes of specialist food production may be tasted and experienced .
- Food events/festivals affirm community identity and values while representing relevant tools for regional development .
7. Discussion and Conclusions
- Local food and GI products may support agricultural differentiation, maintain local resources (biodiversity and natural and cultural resources) and contribute to the preservation of local landscapes.
- Local foods sold through alternative outlets may boost the sustainability of traditional farming, landscapes and farming communities .
- Local food networks may contribute to protecting existing jobs and creating employment by stimulating agrarian economies and favouring local farming communities and small-scale businesses, ultimately representing a tool for rural development .
- Adding value to local food products can improve producers’ remuneration. This can be realized through certification (PDO, PGI, and TSG), through place branding by strengthening the associations between food (geographical and heritage components) and place, and through food tourism, because local foods represent an important means of marketing a destination’s identity and culture.
- The respatialization and resocialization of food and food systems is important for local development; moreover, the cultural relocalization of food is aligned with the current demand for environmental friendliness and sustainability .
- Communities may be empowered by the proper use of local foods as leverage for tourism through job creation, the encouragement of entrepreneurship and enhanced pride  by branding the destination’s identity based on food and food experiences in the area.
- Food is implicated in many policy arenas. Therefore, addressing food’s impact on sustainability and food’s potential for sustainable development will not be possible if challenges are addressed only within a single policy sector, such as agriculture. A systemic approach is needed along with coordination among policy sectors such as education, business, health and others.
- Local stakeholders and local communities must be involved in each of the strategies identified (i.e., rural development, place branding, and food tourism). The engagement of local actors will allow them to assume ownership of projects/strategies and will contribute to the authenticity of food and food experiences.
- A one-size-fits-all solution for sustainable territorial development does not exist; therefore, all relevant stakeholders must be engaged through a participatory approach that identifies both the local competitive advantage and potential for sustainable growth.
- Food and food’s potential for development must be considered from a systemic perspective, which might enable the identification of cross-sectorial opportunities by linking food with other sectors (e.g., tourism, technology, education, etc.).
Conflicts of Interest
|AFNs||Alternative Food Networks|
|CLLD||Community-Led Local Development|
|FAO||Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations|
|F&G||Food and Gastronomy|
|LEADER||Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale (links between the rural economy and development actions)|
|LFSs||Local Food Systems|
|NFSCs||New Food Supply Chains|
|PDO||Protected Designation of Origin|
|PGI||Protected Geographical Indication|
|SFSCs||Short Food Supply Chains|
|TSG||Traditional Specialty Guaranteed|
|UNEP||United Nations Environment Programme|
|UNESCO||United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization|
|UNWTO||World Tourism Organization|
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|Local food and GI products||Unique food stems from the unique natural conditions of a territory. Local agri-food products originate from a particular area, and their origin represents a source of differentiation in the global arena.|
GI products contribute to preserving biodiversity and local landscapes.
|Local agri-food products also have a cultural component, which implicates cultural values shared by the members of the local community and their expertise [
GI/typical products can be considered a resource for the local community because typicalness relates not only to the productive process but also to the relations between the various actors in the territorial systems who give the product a collective dimension .
|Landscape (terroir)||Terroir is defined as “an area or terrain, usually rather small, whose soil and microclimate impart distinctive qualities to food products” [ 33] (p. 131). The quality of food stems greatly from the quality of its “terroir”, which contributes to increasing place attractiveness .||Landscape is considered both a natural and a cultural asset and is represented by its sociocultural traditions [ 23].|
|Local food consumption places||The context in which food is served and consumed represents a branding element; it attracts tourists because it contributes to authenticity.||Local consumption places using local food showcase local culture and strengthen local food identity.|
|Local gastronomy||Local gastronomy conveys the culture, traditions and identity of the place.|
Local gastronomy stems from the use of territorial products, which are valued through gastronomy because the place offers an opportunity to interpret local food according to local tradition and expertise, contributing specific flavours and ways of eating [ 120].
|Gastronomy has the ability to convey a sense of heritage and a community’s cultural identity [
A heritage dimension is essential to the authenticity of food experiences; tourists value local foods because they are seen not only as local (belonging to one place) but also as “traditional” products with a long history of production in a specific location .
|Local food systems||SFSCs contribute to the respatialization of food systems, which contrast with the conventional, industrial and globalized food system; SFSCs imply a connection between “place”, “community” and the “local” [ 45]. This respatialization also aligns with the concept of the foodshed, conceived as “a socio-geographic space: human activity embedded in the natural integument of a particular place”  (p. 37).||SFSCs contribute to the resocialization of food systems (shorter relational distances). The relations between the various actors of the territorial systems give the product a collective dimension [ 89].|
|Food events and food festivals||Food events contribute to the preservation and celebration of the local agri-food system, which is a part of local identity.||Food events are a celebration of a community’s local identity, values and pride.|
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