The structure, goals and methodology of the three-year-long European project “Slow Food Central Europe” was presented on Monday October 23 to the public at the headquarters of the Development Agency DURA. 

The project deals with the valorisation of the intangible cultural heritage of food whose lead partner is Slow Food, and the Croatian partners are the City of Dubrovnik Development Agency DURA and the Association Kinookus, in cooperation with the City of Venice, the University of Gastronomic Science in Pollenzo (Italy), the Tourist Board of the South Moravian Region, Slow Food Brno (the Czech Republic), the City of Krakow – Department for Promotion and Tourism (Poland), Slow Food Poland and the City of Kecskemet (Hungary).

The Head of the City Department for Tourism, Sea and Entrepreneurship Mr Marko Miljanić welcomed the representatives of the city and county institutions, citizens and producers associations, emphasizing the importance of the project for the establishment of foundations for a new approach to traditional production, especially in the light of a different tourist offer which the city authorities wish to develop in the upcoming years.

The project leader on behalf of DURA, Ms Mia Hrnić presented the technical information and activities of the project, whose value exceeds HRK 15 million, and within which a new, transnational model of assessing the intangible food heritage of the Dubrovnik region will be designed.

Mr Ivo Kara-Pešić from the Association Kinookus explained in more details the very history of the project origins and its main goals, working methodology and potentials for the Dubrovnik region. By referring to the works of Ms Jadranka Ničetić and Ms Vesna Miović, Kara-Pešić reminded the participants of the importance that had been given to food and its production by the old Dubrovnik people, mostly in the diplomacy, and he explained how a multidisciplinary and integrated approach of the Slow Food to the traditional production can be turned into a propeller of sustainable, economic, environmental and social development on the local level.

The project Slow Food Central Europe envisages mapping and assessing of the three agricultural traditions: livestock farming on the territory of Srđ and Bosanka, cereal growing and production of flour in the mills on the River Ljuta in Konavle, and salt production and shellfish farming in the area of the Bay of Mali Ston. Kara-Pešić pointed out that the project provides an opportunity to establish a strategic partnership between the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Catering High School, and the University of Gastronomic Science in Pollenzo, the world’s most prestigious university of this kind.

The project can, as Kara-Pešić pointed out, create a new, high-value content for the renewed historic heritage on the territory of Dubrovnik: a food heritage multidisciplinary museum that should develop from two edible exhibitions dedicated to the gastronomic tradition of the Republic of Dubrovnik. At the very end of his presentation Kara-Pešić once again said that without a systematic participation of all the stakeholders, from the city and county authorities, caterers and institutions, to the associations and citizens the project will not make a fundamental step towards the reinforcement of the local agricultural production.

A lively and long discussion developed after the presentation showing great interest of the representatives of the institutions, associations, producers and citizens in the revival of the local traditional agriculture and appropriate assessment of the rich food heritage of the Republic of Dubrovnik. All the participants agreed that without raising the awareness of the citizens and representatives of the institutions, continuous education of the producers and clear provisions of the city and county authorities with the goal of reinforcing the local food production, a desired change will not be possible, and that change is of vital importance for Dubrovnik and the surrounding area, especially in the light of the growing climate changes.