Bendigo joins the UNESCO Creative Cities Network

In October 2019, Bendigo was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy – the first in Australia. Our gastronomy story is about growing, sourcing, cooking and sharing food. It is about how our culture and heritage is represented and shared through what we eat and drink, the places we share meals, and the memories we make around food, family and community. The application to join the Network was made by and for our community, and designation is an honour shared by all across our region.

Across Bendigo and the region networks have formed and are growing – through community and school garden producers, food security champions and trade groups. People from all walks of life are talking about local produce, healthy eating and food security. Food is breaking down cultural barriers and bringing people together. Faced with the need for healthier lifestyles and the impacts of climate change, we are changing what we grow and eat, how we support our community and heal our regional landscape.

Bendigo’s application to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the category of Gastronomy shared this amazing journey with our community and with the rest of the world, helping us work towards an inclusive, secure and resilient food culture for everyone. The designation recognises the creativity and uniqueness of our city and region, and our commitment to working with cities around the world for a sustainable future.

Bendigo’s application to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network focused on the ways creativity, food, hospitality, agriculture and an Indigenous food system dating back tens of thousands of years are shaping our future. The application recognised and celebrated our entire region’s thriving food and drinks culture, and joining the Creative Cities Network means becoming part of a global network of cities using creativity as a driver for sustainable development.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is currently made up of 246 cities around the world, designated in seven different categories – Design, Music, Film, Crafts and Folk Art, Media Arts, Gastronomy and Literature. Bendigo joins Cities of Gastronomy such as Östersund in Sweden, Parma in Italy, Chengdu in China and Tucson in the United States and is the first city in Australia to gain this recognition.

Find out more about the UNESCO Creative Cities Network

“This is about what we do, it’s about what our businesses do and it’s about the economy of our primary producers and everyone else involved in providing food at various levels”

– Mayor Councillor Margaret O’Rourke

Footage from the launch of the City of Greater Bendigo’s UCCN application process