ENVISIONING SUSTAINABLE MOUNTAIN FOOD SYSTEMS
Agriculture and valorisation of food products are at the heart of the issue of sustainable development in mountainous areas. Beyond the many positive externalities associated with these regions, many constraints must be overcome to maintain and support the mountain territories.
Topographic and climatic constraints are limiting factors for agriculture. Thus, in mountain areas, food systems are mainly extensive. In parallel, mountain farming is characterized by a large number of activities on or off-farm, and so more diversification. Tourism and recreational activities are also key factors for mountain development. They bring stability and a sustainable diversification, as well as an important source of employment for mountain communities. The link between quality products and cultural identity offers opportunities both for increasing markets for these products and for regional development through the reputation of both the products and their regions. Finally, food production are powerful cultural elements that link the mountain environment to its population through secular practices such as the traditional cheese production or transhumance, often associated with landscape and heritage, songs, festivals and cultural itineraries.
Mountain and local labels offer significant potential for supporting the development of distribution channels for mountain food products. The specific characteristics of these products linked to the qualities of the mountain environment and/or their production methods give them special value as niche products. Beyond labelling tools, the strategies of producer organizations are essential.
The Forum Origin Diversity and Territory addresses these reflections on the 1st of December during the Salon des Goûts & Terroirs in Bulle by answering the following questions:
- How to design sustainable food systems in mountain areas?
- Are culinary and gastronomic heritages a gateway to foster sustainable agri-food systems?
- What are the organizational strategies for valorising and marketing mountain products, strengthening the link with the consumer and diversifying activities through tourism?
- Which market access strategies use for which objectives (on-farm sales, labelling, mass distribution channels, links with the catering sectors, etc.)?
For more information consult the Forum webpage: http://origin-for-sustainability.org/en/