Port city of 40,975 inhabitants, Paraty is located on the Costa Verde (Green Coast), a lush, green corridor that runs along the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Paraty was an important crossroads, which brought together indigenous, Portuguese and African cultures, a diversity reflected in traditional recipes such as paçoca-de-banana and farofa-de-feijão. Paraty is also celebrated for its know-how in cachaça making, Brazil’s famous sugarcane spirit; a talent highlighted during the Cachaça, Culture and Flavors Festival. It is estimated that 20% of the city’s labour force works in agro-alimentary and gastronomy-related sectors.
Paraty’s vision of gastronomy and agriculture largely focuses on environmental friendly processes based on biodiversity. Held for 15 years, the Folia Gastronômica festival displays traditional and innovative local cuisine through lectures, tastings and trainings and involves more than 50 chefs, including Brazilian chef Alex Atala and Zé Ferreira, pioneer in agroecology farming study. Paraty also hosted the Forum on Local Integrated Sustainable Development on the Agenda 21 Sustainable Gastronomy Programme, further developing cooperation between chefs and organic farmers and encouraging agroecology.
Having 78% of its territory environmentally protected, Paraty’s municipality has adopted several regulations to address its natural environment, including a Municipal Closed Fishing Season implemented during the spawning season while financial compensation is secured for fishers. More importantly, the Secretariat of the Environment is working, within the Agenda 21, to create the Sustainable Gastronomy and Green Passport certifications; the aims of which are to develop more sustainable tourism through community-based ecotourism initiatives and implement waste reduction schemes. The certification will also improve the sustainability of the area and increase awareness on environmental issues.
As a Creative City of Gastronomy, Paraty envisages:
- creating a Gastronomy Observatory to establish a clear picture of the gastronomy field, mapping the entire chain from farm to table;
- reinforcing the food supply chain, especially of the Fish Market, to improve the living standards of local fishing families, offering regularization, technical assistance, and professional training;
- establishing the Creative Economy and Training Center (CEFEC), a multidisciplinary hub for young people, offering training workshops linking design, crafts and folk art, media arts, together with gastronomy;
- strengthening the linkages between biodiversity and creativity in the gastronomy food chain through the Agroforestry Farm of Zé Ferreira as a reference centre and cooperation with other Creative Cities;
- strengthening Paraty’s national and international cooperation in gastronomy with other Creative Cities, establishing partnerships between the local Gastronomy Observatory and other institutions; and
- undertaking cross-cutting initiatives between gastronomy and literature fields including the ‘Cooking with Words’ project, developed in collaboration with Óbidos, the Creative City of Literature in Portugal.