Celebrating Farmers at Terra Madre

Celebrating Farmers at Terra Madre

In a world dominated by fast food, slowing down to savor, taste, and appreciate the story behind a meal is a precious thing. For nearly three decades, Slow Food International has led the movement for traditional, local, sustainable, and “slow” foods. From October 23-28, 2014 Slow Food International will bring together farmers, chefs, scientists, and advocates from all over the world who are passionate about good, clean, and fair food at the biennial Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre events in Turin, Italy.

Slow Food advocates that “eating is an agricultural act and producing is a gastronomic act.” By pairing Salone del Gusto, the world’s largest food and wine fair, with Terra Madre, a conference on sustainable regional food systems, Slow Food connects attendees with the important processes used to produce the food they love, while facilitating a global meeting of food communities to address our most pressing environmental and social problems—including climate change, migration, conflict, animal welfare, food waste, land grabbing, and much more. The packed program of conferences, taste workshops, classes, and more combine to reveal the impact our eating and consumption habits have on the welfare of the planet’s ecosystems, people, and animals.

“Terra Madre is the unlikely combination of the most divine fancy food show meets a United Nations meeting on ecstasy,” says Richard McCarthy, Executive Director of Slow Food USA. “Everyone present is united by a common belief in quality and solidarity.” This year’s events will bring together more than 1,000 exhibitors from 130 countries, including more than 300 Slow Food Presidia, chefs, farmers, fishers, eaters, authors, advocates, academics, artisans, international representatives from wine and gastronomy, and Slow Food’s network of small-scale producers and food communities.

Cortney Ahern, Board President of Slow Food Chicago, looks forward to the diversity of attendees at the events. "I am excited to attend Terra Madre for the once in a lifetime conversations that could only happen there,” she says. “I can't wait for the moment when I look around the room to find a farmer from Tanzania, a beekeeper from Italy, an advocate from Thailand, and an organizer from Chicago celebrating good, clean, fair food around the world and forging connections to keep pushing forward together."

Edie Mukiibi, Vice President of Slow Food International, sees the conferences as a way to create viable solutions for global issues like hunger. He dreams “that every person can eat food that not only fills their bellies, but also nourishes their lives and communities.”

Slow Food New Orleans Chair, Gary Granata, hopes the convergence will shed light on regional issues, and is part of a 16 person delegation that plans to tell the story of how the unique food cultures of Southern Louisiana are at risk as Louisiana rapidly sinks into the Gulf of Mexico. “Approximately 2,000 square miles of Coastal Louisiana has disappeared in the past 80 years, largely due to the industrialization of the region,” he says. “The result is that entire communities and food systems have disappeared and many, many more are at risk of being under water in the next 100 years.”

2014 marks the tenth Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, and Food Tank is excited to participate in Terra Madre by moderating a panel on Family Farming Against Hunger and Poverty on October 24.

Despite the growth of industrial farms, family farming is still the primary form of agriculture across the globe. More than 500 million small-scale, family farms grow and harvest our food, and in developing countries, family farming produces 80 percent of the food supply. These farmers lack the resources available to large-scale agricultural productions, yet their farms are often highly productive and use sustainable land management practices.

This panel will gather representatives from community food networks and organizations, Slow Food, IFAD, the European Commission, and the European Foundation Initiative on Family Farming to highlight the important role of small-scale farming in combating hunger and improving nutrition.

Panelists include:

  • Soledad Barruti is a journalist and author, and her investigative writing reveals the effects of the modern food industry on health, the environment, and local communities.

  • Benjamin Bellegy is Director of International Solidarity at Fondation de France and Chair of the European Foundation for Family Farming (E4F) Initiative.

  • Don Bruno Bignami is an instructor of Moral Theology at the Instituto Superiore di Scienze Religose (ISSR), and President of the Foundation Don Primo Mazzolari.

  • Adolfo Brizzi is Director of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

  • Anshuman Das is a Regional Project Coordinator for Integrated Farming at Welthungerhilfe (World Hunger Aid) in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India.

  • Danielle Nierenberg is President of Food Tank and a food and agriculture expert.

  • Humberto Oliveira is the Director of Institutional Relations at Slow Food Brazil and an agricultural consultant.

  • Carlos Petrini, President of Slow Food International, founded the Slow Food movement, launched the first Salone del Gusto, and established the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy.

  • Roberto Ridolfi is the Director for Sustainable Growth and Development at the Directorate General for Development and Cooperation EuropeAid.  

For those of you attending Terra Madre next week, please join Food Tank for this panel discussion. We’d love to see you. You can register here!

What other ways do you connect with sustainable food advocates in your community? Let me know at danielle@foodtank.com.

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