AlpFoodway

A cross-disciplinary, transnational and participative approach to Alpine food cultural heritage

Aims & Activities

Foodways are socioeconomic and cultural practices related to food production and consumption. Food heritage is a strong identity source for alpine populations. It goes beyond products to include productive landscapes and traditional knowledge on production techniques, consumption customs and rituals, and the transmission of ancient wisdom. Depopulation, ageing population and globalization put Alpine food heritage at risk of disappearing. The project will 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. It will also foster the emerging of a transnational alpine identity based on the common cultural values expressed in food heritage. Project outputs include Vision Paper, Value Charta, mapping of traditional food heritage, creation of a cutting edge online inventory, courses and educational units, and a cultural exchange platform based on events and tourist tours. The project will benefit heritage communities; local development professionals and organizations; cultural institutions; local, regional and national authorities. The project is innovative 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. The project also contributes to a recent international debate (the 2013 UNESCO Convention) on the Intangible Cultural Heritage. All Alpine administrations are experimenting safeguard and valorization solutions – albeit in a fragmented and uncoordinated way. The project will develop this theme at a scale – the entire Alps – never attempted before. As future perspective, the Alpine community could aspire to inscribe the Alpine food heritage on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list as a traditional foodway.

The project contributes to Priority 3 (Liveable Alpine Space) as it valorizes Alpine Space cultural/natural heritage and enhances protection and conservation of the Alpine Space.