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TROUBLE AT MILL Gofio Heritage Under Threat

Friday September 30, 2016

TROUBLE AT MILL Gofio Heritage Under Threat

Lanzarote´s last active gofio mill in San Bartolome is under threat of permanent closure, sparking plans at local government level to rescue and resuscitate this important slice of the island´s ethnographic heritage.

Gofio, which is made from toasted grain flour, was once the staple food of the Canarian diet and dates back to the pre-Guanche aboriginal inhabitants of the islands, so it occupies an important historical and cultural position in local life. However, consumption has declined enormously in recent years and as a result production has dwindled with it, resulting in the closure of the last operational mill in San Bartolome in July.

Now, the island government plans to preserve the mill as it has great architectural value.  But ideally they want to turn it into a going concern too by expanding the appeal of gofio. Exploring potentially productive avenues such as inclusion as a healthy additive in local school meals, exploiting the organic market and processing a range of products made from gofio for sale in the shops of the island´s main attractions, such as Timanfaya National Park and the Jameos del Agua, which collectively welcomed 2.75 million visitors last year alone. Whilst also reaching out to the agricultural sector, in an attempt to reboot gofio production locally.

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