Leading Locally: Sustainable Food Tourism in St Ives – Event summary

Friday 01 January 2016

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On Thursday the 10th of November, the Leading Locally: Sustainable Food Tourism in St Ives event took place as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science. This was organised by a Project team consisting of Jordon Lazell, Professor Marylyn Carrigan, Carmela Bosangit (Swansea University), Solon Magrizos and PhD students Natalie Dukes and Rebecca Beech. 18 participants in total attended the event including local businesses, town councillors, academics from Plymouth University and representatives from the local business development organisation. The event took place at the Guildhall in St Ives, Cornwall and followed the weekly farmers market held in the building.

Jordon, Solon and Carmela collectively presented the findings of the Sustainable Food Tourism project undertaken in the town, providing a report for participants to take away that gave further details of the study’s findings. The first speaker, Ed Hamer, spoke about his Chagfood community supported agriculture group, noting similarities in how the community have come together to engage with local food and the difficulties of supplying food to the tourism trade. This was followed by a presentation from Tim Bouget of ODE true food who discussed how sustainability is central to the ethos of his restaurants, describing the practices employed to work with small local suppliers. The speakers provided critical insight into the topic of sustainable food tourism by using real world examples and were well received.

The event lead to much discussion on sustainable food and how it is often interlinked with tourism activities. Three discussion groups debated how businesses and tourists could do more to promote sustainable food, the challenges preventing such developments and where further academic research was required.

The event highlighted how St Ives is a fantastic example of a collective effort by small businesses to source produce locally, helping to sustain the local economy. The event was also an opportunity for businesses to express some of their concerns about the problems tourism is creating and potential solutions such as the need for more effective recycling and food waste collection.

The event proved to be a real success in getting the public engaged and talking about the topic of sustainable food tourism. The speakers were commended on their study and how it raised several points to be taken forward in the towns future endeavours. 

Download the report