Croatia is entering the European Union, which is a historical moment that people mainly talk about in terms of development, free trade, and opening of the markets; however, entering Europe also implies working concretely towards guaranteeing that agricultural traditions and the Croatian alimentary patrimony – and more generally of the whole Balkan region – is appreciated and protected. As the admission to the European Union will offer small-scale farmers benefits and opportunities, these farmers will have to acquire the awareness necessary to oppose potentially inappropriate or damaging policies, thus creating a basis for the sustainable development of rural areas.
In Croatia Slow Food is coordinating the project ESSEDRA (Environmentally Sustainable Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas). Financed by the European Union, the project consists in mapping the alimentary biodiversity in seven Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia) and Turkey, with the goal of safeguarding the agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions and to reinforce the civil society’s capacity to contribute to sustaining rural development and sustainable agricultural policies.
Croatian project partner KINOOKUS (Cinetaste, founded in January 2010), is an association of 15 young professionals in the audio-visual, educational, scientific, artistic and managerial fields, coming together over projects that bring multidisciplinary and holistic approaches to questions of land and food, with a particular emphasis on education of children and environmental protection.
Many traditional food products (whether breeds, varieties or processed food) are at risk of disappearing, victims not only of social change, globalization and industrial agriculture, but also of inappropriate and unnecessary rules and regulations, introduced unthinkingly as part of the process of EU accession.
The ESSEDRA activities in Croatia will be presented on the occasion of the 4 Kinookus Food Film Festival (September 4–8, 2013), discussing organic and sustainable agriculture with a particular emphasis on food sovereignty.