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”... deriving from the Greek “diaita” meaning way of life,  the Mediterranean diet is a social practice based on the set of skills, knowledge and traditions ranging from the landscape to the table of the Mediterranean area, including the crops, harvest, fisheries, conservation, processing, preparation and, particularly, consumption of food” – 16th November 2010, Nairobi, Mediterranean Diet, intangible cultural heritage -  UNESCO

In 2010 UNESCO recognised the Mediterranean diet as intangible cultural heritage as a food and cultural model  whose survival and transmission to future generations is under threat.

Globalization involves the loss of knowledge and practices that have contributed to shaping the identity of Mediterranean peoples over the centuries. and which have constituted a rich and complex food culture in the Mediterranean region. The native ability to recognise, cultivate and use local crops is also being  lost at an unprecedented rate. The agricultural and rural models of the Mediterranean in which the Mediterranean food and cultural model is rooted are increasingly threatened by the predominance of imported food models.

Changes in inter-generational and inter-gender relationships, in the role of women in society and in relationships with the rest of the world (tourism and migration) are having major effects on the Mediterranean life styles, with a food consumption models tending towards westernization.

The factors mainly responsible for these changes are urbanization, the organization of working hours, increasing female employment and smaller families, as well as the fact that young people are less likely to socialize and live with the extended family, leading to the transformation of the collective environment.

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Visit also the website of the Forum on Mediterranean Food Cultures http://www.medfoodcultures.org/

 

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