4 June 2018 Share



  Prof. İge Pırnar, Head of the Department of Business Administration at Yaşar University, and Research Assistant at the Department of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Duygu Çelebi conducted a study on sustainable agricultural practices and organic restaurants.

Noting that the recently-increasing level of environmental pollution and the health problems caused by it have increased consumers’ awareness about healthy and sustainable consumption, Yaşar’s academics also said that İzmir and the Aegean region at large have the potential to accomplish a worldwide reputation in gastronomic tourism for its local dishes, organic agricultural products, sustainable organic restaurants, as well as its food&drink festivals that have become a tradition in the region. 

To highlight the importance of organic agriculture, Pırnar and Çelebi underscored that the organic food consumers are highly conscious of protecting environment and ecological sustainability. “Organic agriculture and restaurants are of utmost significance since they promote eco-tourism, organic and sustainable gastronomic tourism while also helping consumers both enhance their life quality and protect the environment, as well as since they support sustainable practices, offer a healthy option for gastronomic tourists  and the high-quality, delicious and certified food consumers, contribute to local farmers and employment while also encouraging use of local seeds and protection of natural environment thanks to their environment-friendly approach,” said Pırnar and Çelebi.


In their study that focuses on Seferihisar – the first location in Turkey that has joined Cittaslow network, Pırnar and Çelebi stated that the city has been investing into the principles of slow cities that include slow food and organic agriculture, and shared their observation that these practices gained the city various benefits. Along with the gains expected of its being a slow city, the rapidly increasing number of organic and semi-organic restaurants in the city also contributes to the Aegean region’s gastronomic tourism movement, according to Pırnar and Çelebi.


  Stating that the organic agricultural products that are used by the sustainable green restaurants located in the Aegean region have a highly constructive influence on domestic tourism, Prof. Pırnar also noted that İzmir -particularly Seferihisar- and the Aegean region at large can accomplish a reputation in international gastronomic tourism if these competition-booster restaurants of the region fulfil higher standards and increase in number, and are promoted effectively.


  Underlining that gastronomic tourism is among the alternative tourism types that are being increasingly preferred, Prof. Pırnar continued saying, “A member of Délice Network of Gourmet Cities (DELICE) since 2015, İzmir and the Aegean region have hosted numerous festivals that include Alaçatı Herb Festival, International Artichoke Festival of Urla, Tire Herb Festival, Seferihisar Tangerine Festival, International Strawberry Agriculture Culture and Art Festival of Sultanhisar-Atça Nysa, Akhisar Green Almond Festival, Traditional Grape Harvest Festival of Urla, Food Festival-Aegean Cuisine Summit, İzmir Wine Festival, İzmir Chocolate Festival, Traditional Goldenberry Culture and Art Festival of Kemalpaşa, Buca Belenbaşı Cherry Festival, Germencik Fig Agriculture and Art Festival, Kavacık Wine Festival, International Grape Festival of Sarıgöl, Efemçukuru Organic Grape Festival, İzmir Boyoz Festival, and Ayvalık Olive Harvest Festival. All these festivals has gained İzmir an advantage in gastronomic tourism.”


Healthy and traditional dishes cooked with olive oil, organic agricultural products, endemic herbs and spices have been already promoting the Aegean cuisine and making the region a gastronomically-known destination, says Pırnar, who also expressed, “For example, Tire -which is known for its herbs and olive oil- is hosting various organizations to promote its local products and cuisine. There are restaurants that were started within this context, and they have started to attract attention internationally. The geography that we are mentioning here is an immense region that is made up of various cities from İzmir to Aydın, Denizli, and Muğla. A geography that in return offers organic, local, healthy and sustainable gastronomic products to us. If used and practiced strategically to promote this cuisine, these products that form the Aegean region’s cultural heritage can help the Aegean region be listed among the world’s top gourmet destinations.”