Background – Why this project?
Since the 1950s, processes of globalisation have inter alia spurred the diffusion of big scale food production in the food sector across the world in general and in the South Baltic (SB) region in particular. These processes were characterized by out-sourcing, bulk production, cost minimisation and product standardisation. This development was essential for increasing food security in Europe.
At the same time, it had a negative impact on employment opportunities in the food sector in the SB region. Concurrently, the SB regions have reported a decline in average levels of education due to the migration of the most educated and able residents from provinces to bigger cities. These trends combined to form a vicious circle that threatens economic development of the SB regions.
Since recently, however, there has increased awareness about the negative influence of the bulk food production on the environment, local economic- and social sustainability. This, in turn, has led to an increased demand for locally produced food. In response, new forms of local entrepreneurship in the food sector have been emerging in Europe that seek to add visible product value through re-coupling food products with their local and regional identity. The SB region was slow in joining that trend. This is in part due to the lack of a comprehensive knowledge on SB regional food and the shortage of educated workforce in the food sector that has training and job-competences in SB regional food. Development of a curricula and educational program on SB regional food is, therefore, a precondition for the preparation of food specialists competent in SB regional food. To ensure that the project addresses real needs in the food sector and is relevant to practitioners, the project was designed in consultation with the food sector practitioners, represented by the European Culinary Heritage Network.