In late October a vibrant global network of food-producers from over 2,500 communities met in Turin, Italy to take part in Slow Food’s biennial Terra Madre conference.
In 1989 founder Carlo Petrini, who had promoted Slow Food three years earlier to Italians as an alternative to the fast food culture that he saw was quickly creeping into Italian society, and concerned food producers from 15 other countries signed the original manifesto of the International Slow Food movement. Twenty-five years later Slow Food has grown into a global grassroots movement involving millions of people in over 150 countries.
Slow Food believes everyone should have access to good, clean and fair food, no matter where they live in the world. It strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourage the farming of plants, seeds and livestock that safeguard biodiversity of local ecosystems around the world.
Ten years ago Petrini expanded the Italian food fair, Salone del Gusto, to include international food-producing communities and to bring them together in one spot to share knowledge and exchange ideas.
At this year’s event delegates had the chance to hear from food celebrities such as Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver, cookbook author Claudia Roden and Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio or to interact with beekeepers from Brazil, yacón growers from Argentina, Indian seed keepers or farmers from Mozambique.
Walking amongst the stalls or participating in workshops conversations could be heard between delegates and the public about some of the main themes from this edition of Terra Madre: Slow Fish, 10,000 gardens for Africa, land and ocean grabbing and increased education of our youth about local and global food systems. But perhaps the two groups who provided the greatest energy and optimism for our food systems were the Slow Food Indigenous Network and the Slow Food Youth Network (in conjunction with the ten year old University of Gastronomic Sciences).
In the video below, I catch up with some of the Slow Food Canada delegation to get their thoughts about their experiences and takeaways from this year’s Terra Madre.
Can’t see the video? Please click here.