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Tourists in the Eastern Rhodopes to be offered local organic food

Dr. Martin Lankester: The doctor of the future is a farmer and a mentor in a healthy lifestyle


“We are sure that the beautiful nature of the Eastern Rhodopes will attract an increasing number of tourists and, if this can be combined with delicious local cuisine and organic food, the resulting synergy will lead to sustainable development of the region, Dr. Martin Lankester, Director of the Avalon Foundation, the Netherlands, said for Klassa, during the Culinary Days of Organic and Local Products from the Eastern Rhodopes, organised by the Bulgarian-Dutch project The New Thracian Gold in Bulgaria. It was launched five years ago, financed with €5 mln by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

On June 7, 8 and 9, the Dutch chef Erik van Veluwen and his colleagues from the Soul Kitchen restaurant competed in cooking original organic foods. On June 7, Eric and his colleagues showed their skills in the Red Café, where the guests tasted their delicious dishes. A Culinary Guide to the Eastern Rhodopes was presented for the first time, comprising traditional recipes from the region and the opportunities for preparing them with organic and local products. The second day gathered fans of healthy, organic food diets at the Dutch Embassy in Sofia. The last day of the culinary event at the Wild Farm guest house in the village of Gorno Pole, Madjarovo Municipality, was the culmination of tasting local specialties, made entirely from certified organic foods and drinks.

The three culinary days organised under the New Thracian Gold in Bulgaria project were attended by diplomats, Bulgarian chefs, representatives of NGOs in the field of sustainable agriculture, producers of organic products and fans of organic and healthy diets. Among the guests were also producers of organic wine, produced from certified grapes.

The project is focused on the Eastern Rhodopes, where agriculture is not easy at all. “I like to say that the doctor of the future is a person who will not just prescribe pills to patients. He or she should be a teacher, instructing them to follow a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, the teacher of the future should be able to sow the seed of wonder in his/her students, i.e. this person should be both a teacher and a farmer. I believe that farmers are key factors and, according to my observations, most of the organic farmers in the world are women. This might not be strange because their task is to heal the world,” said Dr. Lankester, who has studied to be a physician, but has been engaged in organic farming for 37 years and owns one of the first organic food restaurants in Amsterdam.

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