Friday, October 29, 2010

Glimpses - Terra madre and Salone Del Gusto!

I was priviledged to be part of the delegation from India at Terra Madre, this year thanks to Navdanya. More than 5,000 representatives from the worldwide Terra Madre network came together under one roof, in Turin, Italy from October 21-25, for the fourth time since the first Terra Madre meeting in 2004. The five-day meeting brought together food communities, cooks, academics, youth and musicians from all over the world, all with the united interest to promote sustainable local food production in harmony with the environment while respecting knowledge handed down over the generations.

Slow Food has many programs in many parts of the world, some better knownthan others. One of these is a worldwide network of food communities that comes together every two years in a biennial conference. The network and the conference, go by the name Terra Madre. Terra Madre, coincides every time with its parallel event the international Slow Food fair Salone del Gusto. Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, are two interconnected halves that offer, perhaps the only place in the world, where peasants and artisan producers, academics and chefs, wine connoisseurs and novice food lovers come together in a spirit of exchange and friendship.

The Terra Madre conference consists of food communities, or networks of localised small-scale, sustainable farmers from all over the world; food producers, chefs, food artisans and other people that share these interests coming together under one roof. And Salone Del Gusto is like being in a porn store for food lovers! This year, every possible aspect of Italian cuisine was represented in two sprawling pavilions, while foods from the rest of the world were available for exploration in a third pavilion.

Over the days of the conference I met with people from around the world, listened to their stories, discussed issues of common concern: traditional farming methods, farmers’ markets, GMOs, sustainability in the restaurant, the importance of cooks and chefs to bring sustainability from the farm to the table. We listened to speeches, translated in real time, from prominent people in the sustainable food movement. And between the various seminars and the hard core Italian food extravaganza that was Salone Del Gusto (where I spent many delicious hours sampling meats, cheeses, preserves, chocolates, pasta, fish and discovering flavors of the five continents!) we congregated; in coffee lines, at water stalls, over lunches and in buses home, to talk more, trade information, connect and cooperate.

At the risk of sounding idealistic, Terra Madre brought home to me just HOW MUCH local food is a global issue and how by enriching our food producers we enrich our area and ourselves towards a better future for our children. 

Terra Madre was an event out of my dreams. Untill I landed there, I had no idea what to expect. But over the next few days, I had many goose bump inducing moments that dramatically changed my perspective on a lot of things. Under that one roof were thousands of people, each with a different skin color, costume, religions, culture, beliefs and even cuisine and yet we all came from the same roots, TERRA MADRE or Mother Earth! 

Dancers at the opening ceremony.
Flags from hundreds of countries aroung the world take flight at the opening ceremony.
India comes in.
Carlo Petrini - creator of the Slow food movement giving the opening speech, urging us to live the next few days as intensely as we can, to give and recieve as much as possible.
Salone Del Gusto. I will share more of this in an individual post.
Cheese, if you please at Salone!
The legendary truffle, that tray is worht its weight in gold!
The Navdanya stall, that represented the presidia of Basmati Rice.
Awesomely stinky Goats cheese stall.
"Food is not a commodity, it is a right" Vandan Shiva in a stirring speech.
One of my personal favourite discoveries, Jigyasa Giri & Pratibha Jain, co-authors of “Cooking at Home with Pedatha” and “Sukham Ayu” a cookbook based on Ayurvedic insights. Here they talk about preserving traditional recipes. 

The inspiring panel at the closing ceremony of Terra Madre led by eight leading thinkers from around the world: Marcello Buiatti, professor of genetics at the University of Florence (biodiversity and ecosystems); Serge Latouche, professor emeritus of economic science at the University of Paris-Sud (social systems and transformation); author and journalist Raj Patel (goods, exchanges and shared resources); co-founder of the Committee on Sustainability Assessment, Daniele Giovannucci (laws, rights and policies); Angelo Consoli, European director of the Foundation on Economic Trends (energy and systemic production); scientist and eco-activist Vandana Shiva, (traditional knowledge, gender and immaterial values); economist and environmentalist Manfred Max-Neef (sustainable education); and Slow Food’s founder and president, Carlo Petrini (pleasure and well-being).
People get up to honor the closing anthem, 'We shall overcome".


Sassy Fork said...

How wonderful to be a part of such a convention! looking forward to reading the books based on Ayurveda

Kim said...

Lovely to see the pictures. We were supposed to see them when you were at home, but we gabbed too much and didn't have the time :)