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The Challenge of Food Security and Mediterranean Diet in the Euro-Mediterranean Area

Venditto, Bruno and Caruso, Immacolata and Noviello, Valentina (2014): The Challenge of Food Security and Mediterranean Diet in the Euro-Mediterranean Area. Published in: Discourse Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences , Vol. Vol 2, No. Vol. 2(2): 39-52, February, 2014 (February 2014): pp. 39-52.

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The Mediterranean Diet (MD) derived from the Greek word “díaita” according to nutritionists is a “traditional diet” which is adapted to all people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea whose ancestors moved to the “cultivated food”. In recent years the MD has received worldwide attention particularly for its health impact. As indicated in the pioneer work of Ancel Keys and subsequently on that of many recent scholars. The lifestyle attached to the MD is the best medicine to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD). The MD however, cannot be simply identified with the “food” but must be seen as a holistic concept which promotes first of all social integration among the principal actors, which is derived by the practice of eating together, but also by the common practices of cultivation and harvesting linked to a seasonal calendar marked by nature and religious or ritual meanings attached to the rural life. For this reason in 2010 the MD received inscription on the UNESCO Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. This paper highlights how focusing on the protection and promotion of the MD could be made possible to strengthen the Mediterranean countries from both economic and socio-cultural point of view. In this perspective the Mediterranean basin could emerge as an area of convergence between countries and regions in North and South of its shores. This would be possible through the creation of a partnership that aims at the production of goods of “Mediterranean quality”. The role of women in this context has been particularly considered essential in the transmission of expertise well as knowledge of rituals, traditional gestures, celebrations and safeguarding of techniques at the base of the protection of the MD.

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