FoodSHIFT2030: Local Gastronomic Points – from concept to operation

What is a Local Gastronomic Point? Who sets it up? What is the added value that it brings to a community? How could the small producer promote it?

These are some of the questions we try to answer in this article.

The basic principle of a Local Gastronomic Point (LGP) is to create a space in the household of the small (or medium-sized) producer that is willing to carry on the tradition and authentic taste.

Thus, the starting point for setting up a LPG is the registered small producer, living in a rural area, who wants to diversify his/her activity and income and to valorise his/her own products: he/she cooks with vegetables from his/her own garden, animal products from his/her farm and fruit and jams from his /her orchard, as well as for nearby neighbours.

What are the needed steps to be taken so that the small producer can develop his/her business in a conducive, functional and healthy environment?

Given that this concept is not yet legally regulated, we have tried, through a series of meetings, to better understand the concept of PGL, as it currently operates, and how it can be improved in terms of promotion, taxation and regular control after establishment.

We briefly present the steps involved in setting up a LGP and the methods by which it could become operational:

  • The small producer is following a free training course for people who want to open a Local Gastronomic Point organised by the National Agency for Mountain Areas (ANZM).
  • After completing the course, the LGP activity can then be registered with the National Trade Register Office (ONRC) under CAEN code 5610 – Restaurants.
  • After receiving this diploma and registering their activity with the ONRC, the producer is required to attend a hygiene course at the county Public Health Department (DSP).
  • The next step is to obtain the approval of the county Veterinary and Food Safety Directorate – the small producer must first consult the Guide to Good Hygiene and Production Practices produced by the Ivan Patzaichin Association – Mila 23 in collaboration with ANSVSA, and Order 111/2008 on the approval of the sanitary veterinary and food safety standard on the procedure for the sanitary veterinary and food safety registration of activities for the production and direct and/or retail sale of food products of animal or non-animal origin, as well as activities for the production, processing, storage, transport and marketing of food products of non-animal culinary origin.
  • The small producer will receive the Veterinary and Food Safety Certificate for retail establishments.
  • Once the above steps have been completed, the small producer can open the Local Gastronomic Point.

A Local Gastronomic Point brings added value to the community it belongs to by promoting the village, traditions, crafts and, last but not least, local gastronomy. Considering that LPG owners do not have extensive information or knowledge of promotion and marketing, we identified the need to support small producers with useful information about these two areas, as well as to raise awareness nationally about the benefits of this type of gastronomic tourism.

Given that both local governments and Local Action Groups have the necessary expertise and organisational capacity, as well as better visibility at local and regional levels, and are two of the entities closest to LGPs owners, they can easily become providers for offering information on service improvement, fiscal information, promotion and marketing.

The draft law on Local Gastronomic Points, where the legal provisions under which a LGP can operate were presented, presents the following points:

  • The number of tourists must not exceed 15 people at one time.
  • The culinary products must be prepared from locally available raw materials, from primary production on the farm, and must necessarily come from rural areas.
  • The LGP can be set up by both individuals (by registering at the town hall and receiving a producer’s certificate and a sales licence) and legal entities (on the basis of an information certificate issued by the ONRC with CAEN codes certifying that they carry out agricultural activities).
  • The Ministry of Agriculture will support the LGPs through information, promotion and online dissemination actions, as well as proposing market measures to support the setting up and sustaining the activity of the LGPs.

These are just some of the basic points of the draft law as proposed and approved by the Senate. However, even though the form adopted by the Senate was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies for endorsement on 17 May 2023 and sent for reporting, the 30-day deadline having been automatically exceeded, on 4 September, the Government supported the adoption of this draft law, with the corresponding proposals and comments.

Thus, one can only wonder if and when this Law will be adopted, given the very long reaction time of the Parliament.

On this occasion, we would like to raise a question mark over the appropriateness of opening a LGP, the harmonisation of the implementation of the concept of setting up a LGP, as well as the ways of promoting this concept.