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Crete - First steps towards a sustainable food destination

In this project, local farmers are introduced to sustainable farming methods and networked with local tourism stakeholders. The aim of the link is to discover and exploit synergies between food producers and holiday providers.

Olive oil and wine – both are foods that are an integral part of Greek culture and play an important role in Crete’s economy. At the same time, conventional farming methods cause a variety of sustainability challenges. In particular, the consequences are environmental pollution, a decline in profits and the closure of many small farms.

 

In addition to agriculture, tourism is the island’s main source of income and tourists are increasingly interested in local and sustainable products.

 

In the joint project with the TUI Care Foundation, the two economic sectors are connected and the synergies are used for sustainable tourism development and increasing the quality of the holiday product.

Project goals

  1. Improving local livelihoods in Crete through tourism by promoting local procurement and entrepreneurship opportunities
  2. Creating wealth and employment
  3. Improving competitiveness in a sustainable way
  4. Protecting Cretan culture through the cultivation of ancient wine varieties
  5. Protecting nature through organic farming methods

Challenges and solutions

Crete is an important wine-growing region in Greece, with a strong emphasis on effective mass production in recent decades – often at the expense of ecological and social sustainability. In particular, local winegrowers, who often also grow local, original varieties, lack opportunities to sell their products in the tourism industry on Crete. The result is that more and more agricultural businesses are having to close their doors.

 

Biodiversity can be preserved by adopting sustainable management practices (soil and water management, avoidance of chemical substances, etc.). In addition, native, original grape varieties are better adapted to the Cretan conditions and can at the same time have a positive impact on nature (e.g. on the quality of the soil). By highlighting the quality and tradition of Cretan wine, the sustainably produced wines can become an attraction for tourists in the long term.

The project

Crete is being developed into a sustainable culinary tourism destination based on more self-sufficient food economies and locally focused tourism products. The focus is on training wine and olive growers on organic farming and linking their products and services to the tourism industry.

 

Wine and olive growers are trained and coached in sustainable cultivation measures by the “Local Food Experts” and the cultivation method is audited: this means they receive, among other things, concrete information and support on how, for example, weed control can be done through sheep grazing instead of using artificial herbicides such as glyphosate.

 

We also help identify sustainable local products, such as grape varieties that are unique to Crete and have a long tradition. We then support the local tourism industry by promoting these products, ensuring that hotels use the local olive oil in their dishes, that restaurants offer locally produced wine, that shops sell these local products, and that excursions showcase these offerings well. This way, holidaymakers can continue to enjoy all that Greek cuisine has to offer while being confident that Crete’s local economy is being supported.

Project activities

  • Training around 200 farmers on sustainable farming methods
  • Connecting farmers with five wine and olive oil production sites
  • Connection of the production facilities with seven hotels
  • Development of interactive hotel events and newly designed excursion formats
  • Training of 21 key people from hotels, production facilities and agricultural cooperatives to become sustainable food experts through intensive training

Overview

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