Resources

RESOURCES


RESOURCES: CASE STUDIES

Author : Jack Carlson & Deborah Edwards
Section : Industry Forum Case
Think Tank Topic : Innovation for Sustainable Tourism
Year : 2007

Case 1: Tasting Arizona

Tasting Arizona is a consortium of tourism, non-government, indigenous, farming, education, community, festival and food organizations that aim to provide ‘local flavor’ to customers in Arizona (see Table 1). Tasting Arizona began as a series of workshops held in 2007 as part of a project of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University. The philosophy behind Tasting Arizona is that visitors want local flavor and they have identified a range of food products that represent the taste and feel of Arizona. Wild foods such as flour made from the Mesquite bean and pure varieties of fruit and vegetables are just two examples of traditional local foods that have been revived.

The benefits of this revival extend well beyond providing visitors with local flavors, as these foods are linked with preserving traditional farming practices, conserving areas for wildlife, educating youth, keeping food pure and free from genetic modification, maintaining biodiversity and protecting cultural traditions.

Table 1: Tasting Arizona Partners

  • Tourism providers
  • Farmers markets
  • Local growers (farmers and ranchers)‏
  • Tribes
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • National and State Parks (Slide Rock)
  • Festival organizers
  • Non-profit organizations (Native Movement, Native Seeds SEARCH, Slowfood USA, etc.)
  • Foragers of wild foods
  • Restaurants
  • Food enthusiasts
  • University researchers
  • Plant and seed sellers
  • Heritage food growers
  • Youth gardens
  • Community gardens

Drivers of Innovation: Why Innovate?

Tasting Arizona believes that wild and traditional foods are good for everybody – producers, consumers and tourists. In addition to the community benefits there are indications that wild foods have previously unknown health benefits.  Certain foods such as white corn are central to traditional cultural ceremonies yet these pure varieties are under threat from cross-pollination with genetically modified varieties of corn.

Hence the drivers of innovation in Tasting Arizona can be summarized as:

  • Maintaining food purity and biodiversity;
  • Protecting local cultures and traditions;
  • Conserving natural areas;
  • Reviving farm lands; and
  • Educating the public (especially youth) about local foods.

Process of Innovation: When and How to Innovate?

The first step in reviving the traditional and wild foods was to create a food network with local people to:

  • Bring back local farmer’s markets;
  • Support local farms;
  • Fostering of Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs);
  • Demonstrate demand for local foods;
  • Grow food in community gardens; and
  • Contribute to organizations that are helping maintain and strengthen food systems.

Bringing back local farmer’s markets provides a place for celebration of local foods and interaction between producers, restaurants and consumers. Supporting local farms involves identifying traditional food varieties, orchard restoration, sponsorship of festivals and food events, inviting chefs to prepare local produce and creating food and wine trails.  These activities will enable visitors to discover local foods which will increase demand and encourage more producers to get involved. Engaging with youth in creating and farming community gardens that grow local varieties of produce is a tool that is used to educate the local community, increase demand and strengthen supply. Tasting Arizona is also introducing wild foods to visitors and residents in familiar ways, such as cookies made from Mesquite flour which is naturally sweet. This has been so successful that demand now outstrips supply. Another initiative is ‘Wild Food’ walks. These walks provide educational opportunities for linking wild foods to wildlife and preserving natural areas. 

CSAa is a direct connection between local farmers and the people who eat their produce. The aim is to foster a mutual commitment: communities of eaters commit to supporting a local farmer for a season. In return, CSA participants receive fresh, seasonal produce—sharing in the risks and bounty of farming.

The declaration of themed National Heritage Areas has provided an opportunity for the consortium to access funding for the development of tours and the production of maps of farming and wild food areas in Arizona and neighbouring States. In this way, tourists can be engaged in discovering new foods and support local producers.

Barriers to Innovation

The challenges are many. First both natural and farming lands are under increasing pressure from larger producers and non-local produce, to satisfy demand from customers who have become used to buying out-of-season and non-local produce.

Second there are limitations of the scale of production that prevent traditional and wild food producers from achieving continuity and volume of supply. Third there is as yet no distribution system in place for local foods.

Fourth locally produced food has been declining as water is being diverted for other uses. Fifth there is a lack of place-based agriculture and agricultural diversity as the trend to source mass-produced foods from outside of the local area continues.

Innovation Networks

The consortium has found that collaboration is the key to food production and distribution, and it is not possible to develop food systems without linking with various community, non-profit, tourism, education and land management agencies. Community and youth groups that grow traditional foods in community gardens are bringing people into the local food network. Non-profit organizations such as the Native Movement, Native Seed Search and Slow Food USA are important partners in providing knowledge and advice on production of traditional foods. Tasting Arizona has linked with schools, hospitals and universities through partnerships that undertake research and educate the public about local food. National and State Park agencies have a vested interest in conserving the environment where wild food and animals exist. Finally, tour operators, festival organizers, restaurants and food enthusiasts engage and support local producers and wild food foragers.

Hence food networks are extensive and interact with a wide cross-section of people in government, the community and business. Indeed, growing these networks could be considered just as important as growing the food if the consortium is going to remain sustainable into the future.

Summary

The long-term vision is to have local foods linked to tourism and made available to visitors. This will only be achieved when the numerous benefits of local food production are clearly identified and articulated.  The process of strengthening local food systems involves many innovative initiatives. Reviving local food production involves many barriers, not the least of which is reversing consumer trends towards mass produced food and protecting farming and natural areas from invasion. A strong network is critical to this process and overcoming the barriers.

This case demonstrates that a creative and innovative approach to food production can not only enhance tourism experiences, but it can protect local traditions, restore farmlands, maintain natural and agricultural biodiversity and move farming and native communities toward sustainability of their land, traditions, culture and community. Collaboration is the key to renewing food systems and creating local networks that produce, protect and promote traditional and wild foods.

This case study is one out of three on Innovation for Sustainable Tourism.
A later version of the case study has been published in book form.


List of Articles
No. Subject Date
20 WTTC case studies Whale Watch Kaikoura Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased from Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publ...

Author: Stephen L. Wearing & Paul A. Cunningham 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

19 WTTC case studies Namibia’s Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased from Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publ...

Author: Joram Ndlovu 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

18 WTTC case studies Back to the Roots: Agritourism in India Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased from Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publ...

Author: Nicole Häusler & Dörte Kasüske 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

17 WTTC case studies Zakynthos: Supply Chain Management and Customers’ Involvemen... Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased by Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publis...

Author: Marianna Sigala 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

16 WTTC case studies Corporate Social Responsibility and the Sustainable Tourism ... Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased by Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publis...

Author: Cynthia S. Deale 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

15 WTTC case studies Banyan Tree: Embracing the Environment, Empowering People Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased from Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publ...

Author: Tanya MacLaurin & Michael Chiam Kah Min 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

14 WTTC case studies Accor Standing for Children’s Rights in Tourism Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased from Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publ...

Author: Camelia Tepelus 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

13 WTTC case studies Tourism and the Great Barrier Reef: Healthy Reef, Healthy In... Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased by Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publis...

Author: Chris Briggs, Gianna Moscardo, Laurie Murphy, Margaret Gooch & Brian King 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

12 WTTC case studies Montenegro: Wild Beauty Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased by Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publis...

Author: Christian Baumgartner 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

11 WTTC case studies Planning for Sustainability: The Okavango Delta Management Plan Nov 29, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased from Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publ...

Author: Haretsebe Manwa 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

10 WTTC case studies Alpine Pearls: A Network Promoting Environmentally Friendly ... Nov 28, 2013

The case study has been published in the book International Cases in Sustainable Travel & Tourism and can be purchased from Goodfellow Publishers. To receive an exclusive 10% discount on the book enter the code BESTENGP at checkout when buying directly from the Goodfellow Publ...

Author: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher, Anja Hergesell & Karmen Mentil 

Section: International Cases in Sustainable Tourism Book Contributions 

9 WTTC case studies Zakoura Foundation for Micro-Credit, Morocco file Oct 13, 2013

Zakoura Foundation for Micro-Credit, Morocco Community Benefit Award Winner 2009 The Zakoura Foundation has taken micro-credit loans and financial development in rural Morocco to a successful and sustainable level, which brings tourists a preserved and authentic experience and upl...

Author: Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 

Section: WTTC Tourism for Tommorrow Awards Case Studies 

8 WTTC case studies NatureAir, Costa Rica file Oct 13, 2013

NaturAir, Costa Rica Conservation Award Winner 2009 Founded in 1990 and purchased in 2001 by the Nature Group, NatureAir – a passenger airline based in San Jose, Costa Rica – is setting a global precedent by fully mitigating its fleet’s carbon footprint through high-impact local c...

Author: Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 

Section: WTTC Tourism for Tommorrow Awards Case Studies 

7 WTTC case studies Marriott International Inc, USA & Global file Oct 13, 2013

Marriott International Inc, USA & Global Global Tourism Award Winner 2009 Founded in 1927, Marriott International Inc is one of the world’s largest hospitality groups with over 3,000 lodging properties, 17 brands and more than 151,000 employees. The company’s sustainability go...

Author: Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 

Section: WTTC Tourism for Tommorrow Awards Case Studies 

6 WTTC case studies Grupo PUNTACANA, Dominican Republic file Oct 13, 2013

Grupo PUNTACANA, Dominican Republic Destination Stewardship Award Winner 2009 Punta Cana is the biggest tourism destination in the Dominican Republic, and the third biggest in the Caribbean, attracting more than 2 million visitors a year. What began as a hotel development in the e...

Author: Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 

Section: WTTC Tourism for Tommorrow Awards Case Studies 

5 BESTEN case studies Xanterra LLC: You Can't Save What Measure... Corporate Envir... file Oct 12, 2013

Case 3: Xanterra LLC: You Can't Save What Measure...Corporate Environmental Sustainability Xanterra is the USA’s largest national park concessioner, operating hotels, lodges, restaurants, retail, campgrounds and transportation systems in more than 20 locations, including: Grand Ca...

Author: Jack Carlson & Deborah Edwards 

Section: Industry Forum Case 

Think Tank Topic: Innovation for Sustainable Tourism 

4 BESTEN case studies Diablo Canyon Rural Planning Area file Oct 12, 2013

Case 2: Diablo Canyon Rural Planning Area Diablo Trust is a land management team that was initiated in 1993 by two farming families the Metzgers and the Prossers to provide a forum for the community to actively participate in land stewardship. The Diablo Trust is an innovative app...

Author: Jack Carlson & Deborah Edwards 

Section: Industry Forum Case 

Think Tank Topic: Innovation for Sustainable Tourism 

» BESTEN case studies Tasting Arizona file Oct 12, 2013

Case 1: Tasting Arizona Tasting Arizona is a consortium of tourism, non-government, indigenous, farming, education, community, festival and food organizations that aim to provide ‘local flavor’ to customers in Arizona (see Table 1). Tasting Arizona began as a series of workshops h...

Author: Jack Carlson & Deborah Edwards 

Section: Industry Forum Case 

Think Tank Topic: Innovation for Sustainable Tourism 

2 BESTEN case studies Innovation for Sustainable Tourism Case Studies file Oct 12, 2013

Introduction to the Case Studies BEST EN TTVII hosted an industry forum facilitated by BEST EN Committee Member, Dr. Deborah Edwards in which three local practitioners from Arizona described their sustainable tourism products, how they deal with the barriers to innovation and how ...

Author: Jack Carlson & Deborah Edwards 

Section: Industry Forum Case 

Think Tank Topic: Innovation for Sustainable Tourism 

1 BESTEN case studies Early BEST Case Studies file Oct 10, 2013

Early BEST Case Studies Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel, an initiative of The Conference Board in association with the World Travel and Tourism Council, developed a series of case study publications. These highlight successful business practices utilized by travel and ...

Author: Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel (BEST) 

AAA