WP10 - Bringing it all back home: Food and Tourism in Rural areas (pdf edition)

WP10 - Bringing it all back home: Food and Tourism in Rural areas (pdf edition)

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Jane F Eastham, Liz Sharples

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Bringing it all back home: an integrative approach to the sustainable development of Food and Tourism in Rural areas



This paper explores the strong linkages that exist between Food, Tourism, and the Countryside, by discussing the way in which 'local' food is now being used to promote the distinctiveness of certain geographical areas, whilst at the same time supporting the local economy.
In particular, the paper highlights the fact, that the extent to which the food aspects of tourism provide 'real' value to a community, is dependent upon the level to which it supports the rural economy. The paper suggests that true economic growth from 'food tourism', certainly within the U.K, is reliant, to a large extent, on the endogenisation of the multiplier effect through the re-coupling of the food production and supply system.
Initially, the paper outlines the changing nature of the U.K. countryside, its' declining agricultural industry, and the complex set of relationships that now exist within the food chain, where the links between prime producer and consumer are largely broken.
The impact of recent food scares, in particular, the Foot & Mouth outbreak of 2001, on both the agricultural and the tourism industries are reported, and the paper comments on the way these have acted as a catalyst for change and growth, amongst both consumers and key stakeholders.
The paper adopts a case study approach to demonstrate the type of approach that is now being taken, at a local level, to re-couple the food supply chain, in an attempt to add value to rural communities, whilst also giving tourists a ' taste' of the region.
The case used is 'Peaks Eats', an initiative based in the UK Peak District, involving the development of a range of ready-meals, made using local ingredients, which are sold through self- catering accommodation and camping / caravan sites in the area. The case ably demonstrates how both national and local bodies are now directing funding and support towards such initiatives.
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This example also shows, however, that much of the innovation for the development of locally distinctive products stems from the energy of individuals, working in small to medium enterprises. The building of sound regional partnerships/ networks, which can provide a framework of support for these initiatives, is, therefore a key factor for success.

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