A city of 189,000 inhabitants, Parma is the gastronomic centre of the “Italian Food Valley”. With 30.5% of the labour force working in the agri-food and gastronomic industry, the sector has forged the city’s history and remains the driving forces of the local economy. The city is classified by the Qualivita Foundation as the first Italian city for Agri-food Qualitative Supremacy, and was appointed a seat on the European Food Safety Authority. Parma’s vision of food and gastronomy is intrinsically linked to environmental sustainability being based on local production and urban-rural reciprocity.
Parma hosts important food-related events involving multistakeholders in the fields of entrepreneurship, industry and research, such as the International Food Fair Cibus, which over the last twenty years has become a reference for operators in Italian and international agri-food sector. Cibus has also developed many cross-cutting approaches through joint-events such as Cibus Tec/Food Pack, which showcases technologies for food industries and focuses on sustainability and efficiency in production processes and food safety. It also manages CibusLand, which seeks synergies between urban and rural areas for healthy and sustainable consumption.
The city testifies to its culture-led development plan by recording nearly 3,000 creative businesses. Parma City Council has reinforced its strategies and policies for supporting the emergence of new creative industries. In the field of gastronomy, the policy framework has been influenced by the market of agricultural entrepreneurs called The Court, from the earth to the table, which was the first to recognize the importance of direct sales and a short food chain for sustainable production and consumption. The local government is committed to following this direction by raising awareness about traceable and seasonable products to maintain biodiversity and environmental sustainability.
As a Creative City of Gastronomy, Parma envisages:
- increasing food-related educational programmes and collaborative research, mainly through the Food Science and Labs;
- strengthening urban-rural reciprocity and protecting local food culture with the Food Culture and Land Development project, focusing on establishing a balanced relationship between urban horticulture and peri-urban agriculture;
- fostering multidisciplinary approaches and inclusive cultural participation through the Art, Music and Fine Foods programme;
- strengthening cooperation with Creative Cities of Gastronomy through the Become a City of Gastronomy project, which aims to encourage participation in the line-up of food-related international events hosted by Parma;
- rising awareness on sustainable food and healthy lifestyles among young people with the Food and Nutrition for Children and Youth project; and
- nurturing exchange of knowledge and experiences through the Food for Future programme focusing on food and gastronomy as key levers of sustainable urban development by enhancing North-South cooperation.