A city of 120,000 inhabitants, Bergamo is the crossroad of the Cheese Valleys. Over the centuries, goat farming and agriculture have been the livelihood of the local population, with many of the ancient skills and craftsmanship still employed today. Thanks to its refined, traditional cheese-making process, the region is now renowned for its awarding winning cheese and a thriving culinary sector. In the provincial economy, the aggregated agriculture, food and beverage industries turnover reaches nearly UD$ 900 million annually and provides approximately 8,000 employment opportunities.
As well as supporting its own traditional food sector, Bergamo endorses and understands the need for a more sustainable gastronomic industry. During the World Expo 2015, Bergamo signed the 'Milan Urban Food Policy' pact, together with other 187 cities, to combat food waste, promote sustainable, fair and resilient systems, both for the producer and the consumer. Following this, in 2017 the City of Bergamo hosted the G7 Agriculture Summit on the 'Future of Nutrition and Agricultural Development' and organized the "Agriculture Week and Right to Food" festival with over 65 workshops and more than 106,000 visitors. These collaborative events highlight and reflect upon the vital roles agriculture and national environmental policies. By creating synergies to drive transformational change with the agriculture sector, the city aims to create a more sustainable and equal society.
In the past 5 years, Bergamo has implemented several gastronomy related policies and programmes in support of farmers and the local gastronomic sector. Greater endorsement of farmers markets and the establishment of appropriate priorities and policies to enhance the local food chain have been actioned with the aim of increasing production. Government schemes including 'Astino' and ‘Parco dei Colli’ also seek to provide farmers and workers with dedicated agricultural areas and green space to develop urban agriculture projects.
As a Creative City of Gastronomy, Bergamo envisages:
- engaging both Creative Cities of Gastronomy and of Film in the Bergamo Film Fest in focusing on healthy eating, reduced food waste and food justice messages;
- exchanging best practices on how to support local artisanal cheese producers and how to develop a farmers market, an urban food production, and a city market policy; and
- sharing Bergamo's model of inclusinevess and participation in cultural and active life for marginalized or vulnerable groups and individuals.