Follow how SFD Organization has become the first initiative dedicated to creating sustainable food destinations.
Building the foundations
Back in 2015, it was evident that a hands-on case study had to be built-up for the connection of sustainable food production with the Hospitality Sector in Tourism destinations.
Food production had to become more sustainable and food supply chains had to become shorter.
In 2015, four visionary partners came together and agreed to strat bridging sustainable food production with the hospitality sector on Crete, Greece.
“Tourism had to support sustainable food production & consumption.”
TUI Austria, Futouris e.V., Local Food Experts social enterprise and blueContec started the project ‘Connecting Sustainable Winegrowing with the Hospitality Services’ in 2016 as a collaborative space for connecting the wine and tourism industries on the island of Crete.
The goals were
1. to train farmers and winemakers for producing sustainable wine,
2. to invite local resorts purchasing & making the final products available to resort’s visitors,
3. to make all involved stakeholders aware for the benefits of Short Sustainable Food Supply Chains and
4. find common solutions to the challenges of this procedure.
The project guided participants to navigate their way through the issues influencing the development of a sustainable food connection. We also brought together knowledge from across farming, food processing, tourism, stakeholder and supply chain management and help make it accessible and useful.
“We started bridging Tourism with the finest modern products of a 4,000 years old tradition.”
Crete: first steps towards a sustainable food destination
The project ‘Crete – first steps towards a sustainable food destination’ or “TASTE CRETE” (running from 2017–2019) followed the successful pilot project “Connecting sustainable winegrowing with the hospitality services” which was funded by TUI Austria and run from 2016 to 2017, under a strong connection and overlaps.
The Team that designed and managed the projects was comprised by the LFE Team, with Sotiris Di. Bampagiouris (CEO, LFE), Kostas Bouyouris (COO, LFE) and Maria Valerga (Senior Consultant for Sustainable Tourism, in LFE Team at that period), which unite a strong experience in sustainable food production and sustainable hotel services; BlueContec with Andreas Koch, and Futouris e.V., involved in the project management. The funding for the project including extension stemmed from the TUI Care Foundation.
Main GOAL of the project briefly & reasons of the successful result
GOAL: By developing Crete as a sustainable food destination through the establishment of a network of regenerative farmers, sustainable food producers, and tourism businesses to jointly promote local food products, the value of their regenerative production and the local gastronomic culture & use, to enhance the regional sustainable tourism product and parallel to strengthen the local economy.
The first steps of achieving the above goal were succeeded due to:
- The creation of specific tourism services and communication products from the teamwork of both sectors’ trainers to promote self-sustainable food products, based on their added value.
- Organization of common training of Hotel, and Tour Operator staff with the Food production units’ staff in the field of each other. the other).
- The constant strengthening of the link between participants by organizing get-togethers with representatives from all sectors.
- Implementation of many high-level dissemination events within and outside Crete, workshops, press trips, participation at trade shows and academic conferences to communicate, promote the involved participants from both sectors, create mutual understanding, and motivate stakeholders to engage in the project.
“This was the first ever business partnership between a tour operator, farmers, food producers and hotel groups.”
Train the Trainer Extension
In 2018, the project “Crete: first steps towards a sustainable food destination” received the “Train the Trainer – TtT” extension. This allowed to set up a program for the agricultural and tourism sectors and to offer benefits to a much higher number of people than originally planned.
The trainings were designed and conducted in a way that both increased the knowledge of participants about sustainable food and strengthened the understanding and ties between the participants of the agricultural and tourism sector.
“The hotels trained their staff about local food heritage and sustainable food. They offered to guests sustainable and authentic food experiences.”
First steps | Concluding event
The project partners of “Crete: first steps towards a sustainable food destination” invited more than 150 businesses and stakeholders’ representatives to the concluding event, in November 2019.
The Governor of Crete honoured this event with his presence. During his opening speech, he recognized the importance of the Sustainable Food Destination concept for the penetration of Crete in the global tourism market.
The project team presented the results of the project and how Local Sustainable Food contributes to Sustainable Tourism future. All project partners and participants were passionate about the vision that the island of Crete can be the showcase of a Sustainable Food Destination worldwide, in the future.
“The project initially had our curiousity... after those impressive results, it got our attention”
Working together for the future
Following the concluding event of “Crete: first steps towards a sustainable food destination | 2017-2019” project, many meetings occured among involved stakeholders during 2020, for discussing the future of this movement.
The discussion for forming a non profit organization that would take over the continuation of tis effort was on the table.
“There is one thing to do next... Move forward, beyond the First Steps....”
Leading the way
In 2021, the SFDO | Sustainable Food Destination Organization is formed as a non profit initiative. SFDO is committed to helping to create a destination where people, the planet and sustainable business solutions come together to ensure a viable and resilient future for tourism destinations and local communities.
The members of SFDO create networks with local communities, companies and individuals leading the way in sustainable tourism & sustainable food production, management and consumption.
In this way, SFDO builds up Sustainable Food Networks in Tourism Destinations for the benefit of local communities and the Hospitality Sector.
“We network stakeholders across sustainable food chain and tourism chain, to create added value for destinations.”
From helping farms stay viable to high-level international initiatives, the work of SFDO will be as local and global as it can get.
All members, in an environment of pre-competitive collaboration, have the potential to arrive at pragmatic solutions to common challenges.
SFDO can demonstrate that, through co-creative procedures and actions, the expertise can be developed to enable organisations from across the food, drink and tourism industry to work together towards a common goal.