The focus of the second Interregional Learning Workshop, organized by UCSC and Emilia Romagna, has been the creation, organization, and management of networks for the promotion of innovation and sustainability within food supply chains. The event, which took place the 15th and 16th of November 2017, allowed participants to see different examples of success in the Italian food industry scenario.

The learning event started in Bologna, where project partners and stakeholders attended the opening of Fico, the first permanent park in the world dedicated to food and agriculture. This is a clear example of innovation, unique in its characteristics, given the combination of farms, food-processing plants, restaurants, shops, learning platforms, and event spaces all in the same location. Many among the most important Italian food excellences are featured in this space, where visitors can discover all the stages of production, from the raw material to the final product. The dinner was organized inside Fico, at the Consortium of Mortadella Bologna (PGI), where the Director outlined the challenges faced by the Consortium for meeting the high quality and quantity standards. Then, one of the organizers of Fico welcomed the participants, explaining the idea behind the birth of the park, and answered the questions of participants.

The second day of the interregional learning event took place in two different areas within Region Emilia-Romagna, renowned for their quality food products: the province of Piacenza and the province of Parma. Activities started in the morning at the campus of Piacenza of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC). The workshop focused on challenges or good practices experienced by the partner regions, related in particular to the environmental dimension of sustainability. Particularly interesting was the involvement of stakeholders, who delivered the majority of the presentations, and the exchange of comments, suggestions, and experiences shared afterwards. The Dean of the Faculty also welcomed the participants during the workshop.

The afternoon was dedicated to the visit of food facilities, located in the province of Parma, of two of the most important Italian PDO. First, the group visited a Prosciutto di Parma production facility and later in the afternoon a Parmigiano Reggiano production facility. In both cases, every stage of production was showed and described with plenty of details, presenting also the strict procedures guaranteed by the respective Consortia to ensure quality, adherence to traditional methods, and traceability procedures required for products with a Protected Designation of Origin. The cooperation and creation of networks along the supply chain was one of the main topics investigated during the visit, due to their importance in the production of traditional high quality products.

Finally, project partners and stakeholders visited a  a local producer’s  facility where they had the chance to try a variety of local specialties, many bearing geographical indications, and visit the cellar where cured meats (particularly the Culatello of Zibello – PDO) are stored for aging.

The Monitoring Board was also held in conjunction with the Interregional Learning Workshop, the 17th of November 2017 in Bologna.