THE Gastronomic districts they reward collaboration between different actors in the agricultural and rural sector in a specific territorial context. Their objective is to promote the work of the entire supply chain and to make the production process transparent, offering the end consumer concrete guarantees.

Food Districts are a growing reality throughout Italy and represent an important opportunity for the future of agriculture and rural tourism and food and wine.

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Birth, functions and objectives of food districts

These partnerships, inspired by industrial districts, were created to involve stakeholders from the agri-food world. Created by law 205 of December 27, 2017, they were approved by the 2018 finance law.”They constitute a new development model for the Italian agri-food sector. Indeed, they were created to provide more opportunities and resources at the national level for the growth and recovery of supply chains and territories as a whole.“.

Food Districts can be considered as an evolution of already existing Agricultural Districts. born in 2001 by Legislative Decree 228/01. To these, initially classified as Quality Rural and Agri-Food Districts, were added Organic Districts, Bio-districts, Supply Chain Districts and Agro-industrials. The creation of Food Districts attempted to unify the evolution of national and regional regulations by grouping objectives and functions under a single definition.

Among the main objectives: food security, reducing the environmental impact of production and reducing food waste. Another intention is to safeguard the territory and landscape resources through agricultural and agri-food activities. Thanks to food districts, producers, associations, consortia, local authorities and owners of different types of businesses operating in the agri-food sector can contribute to the growth of the sectors they represent. “Promote territorial development, cohesion and social inclusion, encouraging the integration of activities characterized by territorial proximity“.

Promotion of Italian cultural, gastronomic, oenological and landscape heritage through Food Districts

Born quietly in 2017, despite their intentions, they had difficulty taking off and in 2021 there were only 65 left. Today the districts are recognized and regularly registered in the specific Masaf register. they have almost tripled. There are 196 which are distributed throughout the territory in a more or less homogeneous manner. The exceptions are the regions of Valle d'Aosta, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Food Districts, through their function of recovery and resilience of often disadvantaged territories, such as those surrounding small villages or located in mountain areas, are among the possible beneficiaries of community support.

Food districts by region Source Planet PSR

Source: Planète PSR

Indeed, there are various sources on which the Districts can draw to develop projects useful for the revival of the territories, the economy and Italian wine tourism. The possibility of additional funds from the PNRR arrived in 2023. According to Serena Tarangioli, technologist responsible for the CREATE A BP (Politics and Bioeconomy Center) «The arrival of financial resources played a driving role in the development of the Districts, which now represent a tool for seizing opportunities in European policy.“. Also THEL CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027 supports agri-food cooperation. This is considered a useful tool to ensure value addition and strengthen the role of farmers in decision-making processes in supply chains. According to CREATE vsBillions of euros are at stake between the CAP and the PNRR complementary fundwhich relies on resources from regional tenders and subsidized loans granted by banks.

By intercepting these resources, Food Districts can help create new jobs and combat the depopulation of rural areas. Improving the quality of life in a sustainable way and promoting local production and the promotion of economic activities linked to agriculture and Italian wine tourism.

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