Interview with Erika Decock, Consultant for the Department of Economics for the City of Ghent.

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Which are the most relevant and interesting aspects of visited GPs? What will you bring home from this visit?

"Hi, I am Erika Decock, and I am economics consultant for the City of Ghent and we are here to talk about the Aristoteli project visit we had in the PROSPERA project.

I want to start by saying that even though the surface of Aristoteli is almost five times larger than Ghent, Ghent has almost 15 times more inhabitants. So Ghent is much more densely populated. This means we have very different issues when it comes to preservation of open space and natural and cultural heritage.

Nevertheless Aristoteli is an attractive municipality, with a lot of open space, green, nature, seaside, … Seeing the pictures, you immediately want to go there on holiday .

You also have the link with the philosopher Aristoteles, which is an additional asset, and which has resulted also in the creation of the Aristotelian Route, an outdoors hiking pathway.

In this Good practice we see also the link with our Greenways and open space Ghent.

And we love the approach of Aristoteli , their efforts for place branding of the peri-urban area , combining elements of both natural heritage and cultural heritage and co-working with local bodies and volunteers-residents. The idea of working with a QR-code is certainly something we will see if its possible to implement also in our territory .

The next Good practice we found very interesting and from which we can definitely learn is the Kouzina Program

We are impressed the way the culinary festival is organized with a lot of volunteers and also the communication with international reach.

We have also a culinary event here in Ghent every year, it is organized as a food truck event where you can come to taste different little dishes from different famous local cooks, the main goal is to attract tourists and in general more visitors in Ghent, but there is also attention for food strategy , against food waiste and promoting the short chain .

But with the next culinary event next year we want to do more with local producers and also typical dishes and products from Ghent. For example we have are famous dish The ‘ gentse waterzooi”. We want also more branding of Ghent into the culinary event and attract more tourists national and international.

We can learn therefore from the gastronomic approach of the Kouzina Program which includes marrying local tradition with modern gourmet creations, while using always local organic produce."