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Cr Alden awarded scholarship to further investigate City of Gastronomy bid

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Deputy Mayor Cr Dr Jennifer Alden has been awarded an international research fellowship to investigate the development of the two UNESCO Creative Cities of Gastronomy in Italy. The findings of the fellowship will help inform Bendigo’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Gastronomy and understand how the wider region can benefit from being included in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. 

Cr Alden has been awarded the Municipal Association of Victoria’s 2018 McArthur Local Government Fellowship, which allows a current Victorian councillor to undertake international research and study on an area of significance to the Local Government sector.

In September, Cr Alden will travel to Parma and Alba in Italy to pursue her research project.

She said she would use the trip to clarify initiatives that the Parma and Alba Local Governments pursued in getting their UNESCO City of Gastronomy accreditations.

“Parma and Alba are both located in the north of Italy. Parma is known for its ham and cheese, while Alba is famous for its white truffles, peaches and wine, and both use food to drive tourism to their areas. Parma will this year be the lead city in the network of 26 UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy, taking over the role from Östersund in Sweden.

“I will use the fellowship to investigate how Greater Bendigo and the wider region can build on its sustainable community food systems as well as gastronomic tourism opportunities and how producers, manufacturers and restaurateurs can benefit from these.

“Given Parma’s and Alba’s distance from Italy’s capital city of Rome, I will also be keen to understand how small townships and rural communities use their unique food economies to drive the development of new, innovative businesses.

“During my time in both cities, I will visit the Universities of Gastronomic Sciences in Parma and Alba to see how food industry training pathways have been developed and could be applied in Bendigo.

“This is a great opportunity to start developing relationships with other Cities of Gastronomy, so should Bendigo’s bid be successful, we could explore possible partnerships or collaborate on projects with the Parma and Alba Local Governments in the future.

“I believe Bendigo’s bid to be named a City of Gastronomy is strong. Community pride in our produce, restaurants and cafes, farmers, brewers and winemakers, as well as our history of indigenous food, can all be brought together to brand the city and region as an international leader in the healthy, creative, sustainable development of gastronomic tourism.

“I look forward to sharing my learnings on my return and using this experience to further bolster our bid.”

Cr Alden will receive $12,000 to cover travel, accommodation and associated expenses. Any costs exceeding the grant funding will be at Cr Alden’s expense.

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