As part of the FAO-EBRD project, Slow Food has worked together with its local network, Georgian officials and the FAO to create an Atlas of origin-linked products in Georgia, which was launched at the project’s closing conference on November 19 in the capital, Tbilisi.
Georgia is well-known for its diverse environment—it has a wide range of climates, soils, and altitudinal zonation. Throughout the long history of Georgian agriculture local people have developed a wealth of food products, including wines, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and meat, which together belong to the history and traditions of the country’s mountains, seaside regions, rural villages and local communities.
The Atlas lists and describes 75 local foods that make up of this remarkable food heritage. It provides information on the production environment and process, as well as the key factors which make them distinctive. This Atlas seeks to promote traditional Georgian food products and the country’s rich, culinary heritage and identity, while highlighting the specific knowledge of farmers and food producers and their roles as guardians of food heritage and biodiversity.
During the conference organized by FAO and EBRD in Tbilisi on November 19, the Atlas was presented to stakeholders, including governmental authorities, producers, and retailers. Panelists highlighted the fact that successful Geographical Indication initiatives (GIs) can help preserve a country’s food traditions and biodiversity. They can also secure higher prices for producers and make agrifood systems more efficient and inclusive. They acknowledged how GIs can drive sustainable growth and development in Georgia’s rural areas, opening up new opportunities, including tourism, that celebrate the country’s food heritage. Such development may give local producers even more incentive to protect their natural resources and biodiversity, including rangelands and local livestock breeds, as well as the traditional know-how that underpins Georgian food culture.
This Atlas of origin-linked products in Georgia was prepared as part of the project “Georgia: Support to Sustainable Value Chains through the Development of Geographical Indications in the Dairy Sector, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It was prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA) and the National Intellectual Property Center-Sakpatenti, and with the support of the Biological Farming Association Elkana and Slow Food International.