STORIES OF TERROIR
My final project while at the Royal College of Art explored how to tell the stories of lands around the world; focusing on people who cultivate our lands and the people who traverse them.
Inspired by a passion for travel and eating, I was captivated by how we might reimagine the future of tourism for those that love learning about traditional food and culture. From a broader lens, I was interested in understanding how gastronomy influences people from different cultures to feel about each other and their respective countries. And how small nations could use gastrodiplomacy, a soft power tactic, to inspire respect and admiration in the international community.
Click the button to see my prototype!
This project studied connecting often neglected rural communities in high-traffic tourist destinations, with travellers that truly appreciate their unique practice. Focusing on the Croatian hinterland as a case study, I found a rich history of cultural traditions related to food and drink, many of which are at risk of disappearing due to the pace of modern life. At the same time, a growing market of gastro-tourists gave hope for a new wave of interest in these regions. An intimate exploration of these lands and people gave me the insight and inspiration to develop my final proposal.
what is 'terroir'?
(/tɛˈrwɑːr/, French: [tɛʁwaʁ]; from terre, "land")
French term used to describe the various factors that contribute to the taste of a crop, including unique environment contexts, the crop's specific growth habitat, as well as the farming practices of the grower.
If the quality of the soil, the slope of the hill, the amount of sunlight and the unique practice of the person that nurtures a vine all determine the character of a wine grape...then the same is true for a tomato, or a pepper, and even true for the meat, cheese and eggs we yield from the animals that graze on a particular piece of farmland.
THE PRESERVES PLATFORM
Preserves unites the terroir food community using a 3 prong omnichannel approach; a smart map where users can explore rural areas and share their findings, a subscription service to have seasonal sample products delivered, and an exclusive event club where users can book unique experiences hosted by local farmers. While each of these elements could function as standalone services, they are much more powerful when combined. Creating a magical, multifaceted service with powerful triggers that encourage travel and discovery.
While travelling you can use your camera to learn about the food you’re eating.The AI platform aggregates information found online related to their geolocation and the visual of the food pictured. ‘Stories, recipes, etc. In this way Preserves allows rural travelers to effortlessly maintain a record of gastro-exploration by intelligently linking photos taken of food to a digital map of tastes and stories.
A library of "must tastes" mapped around the world ensures users never miss out on the best each land has to offer.
Users can sync their photos to the smart map to effortlessly keep a record of everything they’ve eaten, which they can then revisit or share with others. Publicly posted on the map is the image and coordinates, giving online viewers a clue as to what they may find if they visit a particular region. Essentially creating a treasure map of “hidden gems”, powered by a hybrid of community input and AI.
Coalitions of family farms contribute to a subscription box of seasonal goods that features themed information on the subscribed region. Subscribers will receive different things, as boxes are filled randomly based on what’s available from each farm.
Beautifully packaged samples allow food lovers around the world a low-stakes way to engage in unique terroir products, they can “taste” a country from the comfort of their homes.
Exclusive seasonal events are hosted by local communities in rotation to not overwhelm any one particular village or family.
Each season a different location within the region hosts a small event, providing a unique cultural experience that builds mystique and appeal. Events are kept small to ensure a quality experience can be supported but guarantee sufficient income for each small group of family farms.