Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2021

Travelling Sustainably with Your Tastebuds as Guide: Examples of Sustainable Food Tourism in the Nordin Region

Research paper

By Jonatan Leer, Head of Food and Tourism Research, University College Absalon, Denmark.

Over the past decades, the Nordic region has undergone a culinary revolution. Foodie tourists from all over the world are currently flocking to the region to experience this new cuisine anchored around visions of locality and sustainability. The culinary experiences are not only found in the metropolis. They are increasingly found in rural area emerged in nature often with sustainability as a driver.

In this paper, we will explore how sustainability is translated into taste experiences in rural areas in the Nordic region. More particularly, we will focus on the distinct understandings of sustainability. And how taste is seen as a vehicle for understanding, experiencing and saving local communities - and maybe also the planet? How are visions of alternative, sustainable futures designed through food? We will also discuss some of the inherent contradictions and dilemmas in the idea of sustainable food tourism and if it makes sense to talk about taste, tourism and sustainability in the same sentence.

Empirically, the paper is based on extensive field work across the Nordic region among “designers of sustainable food experiences”. The cases are quite distinct and offer a series of interpretations of sustainability as a matter of environmentalism, biodiversity, social justice, community building, critic of modernity… These are nonetheless all materialized through taste experiences.

The project is a part of the research project Sustainable Food Tourism in Nordic Rural Areas funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and designed by Jonatan Leer, University College Absalon.