Bendigo announced as a UNESCO ‘City of Gastronomy’

More recognition for our growing city

More people are expected to flock to the Bendigo region to sample the best in food and wine after the city was recognised as a United Nations’ City of Gastronomy. Bendigo was one of ten cities to be designated into the gastronomy category for 2019 after a successful application process. The regional hub joins cities like Barcelona, Montreal and Dunedin in the category.  “This is not just about Bendigo,” City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said.

“Bendigo is the host of the application, but this is about the nine local government areas within the Dja Dja Wurrung footprint. So this means a lot for all of our municipalities.” While four other Australian cities have been recognised as UNESCO Creative Cities, Bendigo will be the first City of Gastronomy in the country. The international recognition was expected to boost tourism in the central Victorian region, Cr O’Rourke said. “We see Bendigo as one of the great cities of the world,” she said. “We’ve been talking about that for many years and I think this is a reward for that. “I’m sure this will lead to an increase in brand. Many people travel the world to see the Creative Cities so it will bring people here. There is no doubt about that.”

Masons of Bendigo Sonia Anthony said the recognition would help the region showcase the best food, wine and produce on offer. “When you live and work around the world and you come back here, you really realise how much is actually here,” she said. “The people work so incredibly hard to produce the food and the beverages that sit very much within the upper echelons of international cuisine.” Cr O’Rourke said more than 30 people were involved in the application, which highlighted the region’s Indigenous history, food security, and food sustainability going forward.

The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation was an active part of the application process, which Cr O’Rourke said was integral to the city’s success. “They’ve been here for over 60,000 years,” she said. “They’ve been able to adapt and evolve in terms of the climate changes that we’ve seen. “We need to learn more from that and one of the elements of the creative cities is, what can you teach the world? “We believe we have so much on our doorstep that we can share with the world and a big part of that is the Dja Dja Wurrung.”

The corporation’s chief executive Rodney Carter said the First Nations people were really excited to be part of the successful application. “I think there is a struggle for others to understand the benefit groups like mine can actually bring to the conversation,” Mr Carter said. “It’s yet to be fully understood. “The City of Greater Bendigo has been a fantastic partner. When there are really important discussions, we’ve always been involved.” City of Greater Bendigo Councillor Jennifer Alden was also involved in the region’s application. Cr Alden last year visited the Italian cities of Parma and Alba, which are recognised as UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy. She said the connection with those Italian cities would continue now that Bendigo had been formally recognised. “Those partnerships will strengthen,” Cr Alden said. “Parma is now the coordinating city for the network of the Cities of Gastronomy.” We’ve got some project ideas with the city of Alba. So watch this space because the whole intent of this type of creative network is the collaborations.”


Original article published by the Bendigo Advertiser


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