FoodChains 4 Europe project team had the opportunity to participate to the official opening of the world largest agro-food park : FICO - Fabrica Italiana (Italian Farming Factory) on the 15th of November 2017 in Bologna (Italy).

FC4EU has foreseen in the project agenda, the organization of several specific activities between the 15th -17th of November 2017 in Bologna (Italy), while our Italian hosts: Emilia Romagna region and Universita Catolica Sacre Cuore Piacenza, have successfully manage to connect these events to the grand opening of FICO.

The presence of the FC4EU project at this prestigious event is closely related to the aims and objective of our project, as all participating regions are committed to improve the implementation of their policies to stimulate innovation in sustainable food chains.

The official opening of FICO in Bologna is a milestone and an achievement for the regional authorities and the university, being equally a recognition of their common efforts made towards the sustainable development of the community. Under the umbrella of the EATALY group, founded in 2006 by Oscar Farinetti, a true promotor of local quality products, of gastronomic education among youngsters – the slow-food movement, FICO is an initiative meant to honour Italian local products, valued at world level. Choosing Bologna has not been done randomly, as beside the efforts of the local authorities Emilia Romagna region has the highest number of PDO - ”protected designation of origin” and PGI– ”protected geographical indication in all Italy.

FICO means 100.000 m2 of entertainment, education, social and environmental responsibility, daily basis opened facilities like : 20 ha of open agricultural areas with stables and living stock, 40 farming factories where the visitors can have live experiences in preparing fine meats, pastas, cheese, sweets. These facilities are completed by 40 local gastronomical points and restaurants, while the educational part is represented by 6 educational centres organized considered the elements of nature: fire, earth, sea, animals, and also an area dedicated to bottled goods and a section for the future.

The interactive part of FICO is sustained by 30 daily organized events, and also 50 seminars in the available facilities, FICO has also a congress area suitable for up to 1000 de persons.

For the region, the opening of FICO has contributed to the sustainable development of the area, as around 3000 jobs were created and also the rehabilitation of an unattractive area that served as an old local market.

The founders of this concept are sharing the same vision that the FoodChains 4 Europe project team has encountered during the study visits and learning event from Bologna: promoting agro-food culture and values, respect towards the brand and promoted product, but most importantly for the final consumer, all in the spirit of local specificity.

The FICO experience and the field visits made at local producers that were all members in different consortium under the prestigious label of the ‘’crown of Parma”, have been a true inspiration and a functional model of successful practice for the entire partnership FoodChains 4 Europe project.