Protecting through utilizing – the Austrian Nature Park Specialties
Association of Austrian Nature Parks
Region & country
The quality label “Austrian Nature Park Specialties” is given to direct marketers in Austrian nature parks as a seal of approval by the Association of Austrian Nature Parks. The agricultural products that are marketed with this label are very diverse, but always support the conservation of cultural landscapes and biodiversity through gentle production processes. Cattle, sheep or goat farming not only results in different tasty products, but the grazing prevents the areas from overgrowing, which is usually the main challenge when preserving traditional cultural landscapes. Durable products from orchards, honey, herbs or wine are among the Austrian Nature Park Specialties too.
Photo: Franz Kovacs
Austrian Nature Park Specialties
Photo: Naturpark Obst-Hügel-Land
Background of the project
The idea to establish the quality label “Austrian Nature Park Specialties” arose through the distribution of Christmas parcels filled with products from different nature parks. Since 2000, these parcels were marketed with the slogan “Natural protection that can be eaten”. Through this initiative, a broad range of products was introduced and the connection between natural protection and agricultural products was made.
Before this initiative, no such label existed for products from protected areas that conserve the cultural landscapes.
Austria-wide valid criteria had to be developed in order to define what Austrian Nature Park Specialties are and which requirements the producers must fulfill in order to receive the label.
To make the Austrian Nature Park Specialties and their contribution to the preservation of cultural landscapes known, joint marketing was needed.
Solution and actions taken
- Development of Austria-wide valid criteria and decision about them during the general assembly
- Engaging nature parks and their producers for a cooperation
- Joint logo, website, and marketing
- Production of marketing materials with a consistent design (banderoles, signs, labels, recipe booklet, …)
- Survey on the value of the production of Austrian Nature Park Specialties for the cultural landscape and biodiversity
- Workshops for the development of criteria
- A decision about the criteria during the general assembly
- Development of a joint logo, website, and production of marketing materials
- Presentation of Austrian Nature Park Specialties (Parliament, Castle Schönbrunn) and joint public relation initiatives (business of the month, recipe set, …)
- Development of a study concerning the effects of Austrian Nature Park Specialties on biodiversity
Other institutions or parties involved
- Austrian nature parks
- Provincial Governments – Department for Nature Conservation
- Agricultural businesses and direct marketers of nature parks
Over 200 businesses market a broad range of Austrian Nature Park Specialties in more than half of the nature parks. Most of them are agricultural direct marketers, but there are also some small commercial businesses as well as over 30 regional outlets. Producers use the positive image of nature parks to show their own operation, philosophy, and origin. Through the cooperation, additional income and marketing opportunities arise and the visitors of nature parks value regional products.
The decision of all members on the Austria-wide valid criteria
Costs of evaluation of the businesses – the solution was the use of other quality labels that do regular inspections (such as Bio Austria, “Gutes vom Bauernhof”,…)
Staying in touch with the producers is connected to a high organizational effort – the communication is usually conducted through the nature parks
Regional culinary products lead to a mutual image gain. The products benefit from the positive image of the nature parks and the nature parks benefit from the products.
Numerous producers are aware of their contribution to the preservation of cultural landscapes and biodiversity and are proud to do so.
For protected areas, products are an important communication tool to increase the publicity as well as regional offers.
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