On April 19th and 20th the 14 partners of the AlpFoodway project met in Bernried, at the foot of the Bavarian Alps, to share the progress of the different activities and define future steps. In two intense days work package leaders explained situation, issues and outlooks of their activities and all partners got a chance to learn about Bavarian food culture and to share ideas and information.
Ethnographic research is coordinated by AESS – Regione Lombardia and is now fully operating. Researchers from all the involved partners have worked together with local communities to select the practices worth analysing. The first data about food related intangible heritage are already available on the Intangiblesearch website and more are coming up as fieldwork progresses. Also, the foodways of the Alpine people will soon be made into a documentary. The shooting plan is being set up. Partners will cooperate with the production company to select the most suitable testimonials and plan the shooting sessions.
The goal of work package 2 is to identify best practices in the commercial valorization of Alpine Food ICH. Participating partners have now completed the desk research and have interviewed 33 key informants, whereas 24 more field studies of selected success cases are under way. Field studies will identify key processes related to food valorisation practices, enabling factors, effective business and financing models and economic impacts of valorisation practices. As partners from Kedge Business School explained, the next step is digital ethnography, to delve into market responses and consumer meanings, to understand which place food heritage holds in people minds when they think about the Alpine Space and finally to identify the messages that might prove most effective for the communication of Alpine food heritage.
AlpFoodway is itself developing and experimenting innovative practices in pilot sites. These activities, part of work package 3, led by MUAS, are mostly starting in 2018. Focusing on agricultural practices, transformation (especially bread baking in village ovens) and specialty dishes, these pilot cases develop new ways of networking, innovative training formats, community events and publications, both online (web applications) and offline (books). AlpFoodway pilot cases will later be compared and summarised, in order to identify applicable guidelines. A syntesis workshop is scheduled for 2019.
None of the above activities would be effective without a network of subjects sharing the same goal. The more important the goal the more this network must involve different levels: local, national, international. Work package 4 helps AlpFoodway become a large transnational network. The lead partner ZRC-SAZU has already prepared guidelines for identifying existing networks within the scope of the project. The next step is listing them and bringing them together toward a very ambitious, common goal: present Alpine Culture for listing in the ICH UNESCO list.