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UK signs Expo 2015 contract as fair extends far

Over 140 counties coming to Milan to participate

14 February, 14:32
UK signs Expo 2015 contract as fair extends far (By Emily Backus) (ANSA) - Milan, February 14 - The United Kingdom on Friday signed a contract to finalize its participation in the food-themed Milan Expo 2015. So far, 142 countries are participating in the Universal Exposition taking place next year from May 31 to October 31 in an area of more than 100 hectares near Milan's massive Rho Pero trade fair exhibition centre.

Two major efforts were announced this week to expand attractions well beyond the confines of the site for the world fair, whose theme is "Feeding the planet - Energy for life".

This means the event will tackle issues such as food security, combating hunger, and with promoting environmentally, socially, economically sustainable global food production practices. Like the city's iconic furniture fair, the Salone del Mobile - which has become a site of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of design professionals, students and afficionados from around the world every year - Milan's city administration is looking to spread the fair throughout the streets.

The Milan furniture fair by now is just as famous for the Fuori Salone, or unofficial fair that sprung up and spread when demand for exhibition space outgrew fairgrounds and new talent began showing in spaces in Milanese neighborhoods. In an effort to recreate that successful model, the City of Milan and the Milan Chamber of Commerce signed a 400,000-euro deal on Tuesday to create Expo in Città (Expo in the City).

Expenditures will be equally divided between the city administration and the chamber of commerce, and the project puts the chamber in charge of organizing, promoting and managing a programme of coordinated cultural, tourist and commercial events. The Expo in Città logo has been commissioned to Milan's contemporary art and design museum, the Triennale.

The deal also calls for an software application for a geographically referenced, unified electronic calendar for easy access by smart phone, tablets, computers and other digital platforms.

In addition, an online catalogue of spaces available for temporary exhibits, events, meetings and other activities will be made for potential Expo in Città participants. Meanwhile, plans for a major new food theme park in Bologna is poised exploit Expo 2015 for its launch. At a presentation in Milan Tuesday, organizers behind the Italian Farmer Factory (F.I.Co. or 'fig' in Italian) said an 80,000 square meter Eataly World - involving the popular high end food market chain Eataly - would be opened in the Bologna wholesale produce market, with celebrity chef Marco Bottura designing dishes for the restoration.

The organizers said 40 million euros had already been collected for the development fund to finance the project, which is forecast to garner 80 million euros per year and provide 500 jobs and 1340 direct hires.

The company that runs Bologna's wholesale produce market, CAAB, is not only behind the theme park effort but is also a founder of EXBO, an agreement between Bologna and Milan to create a synergetic ties between the two cities surrounding Expo 2015 and its themes of food culture, environmental sustainability and protecting biodiversity.