Slow Food, founded in 1986, is an international organization whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenization of modern fast food and life. Though a variety of initiatives it promotes gastronomic culture, develops taste education, conserves agricultural biodiversity and protects traditional foods at risk of extinction. It now boasts over 100,000 members in 153 countries.


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Monday, December 29, 2008

TERRA MADRE 2008, REPORT FROM ALDO AND MARY-ANN DI CESARE

TERRA MADRE CONFERENCE  TORINO 23 – 27 OCTOBER 2008.

REPORT FROM ALDO AND MARY-ANN DI CESARE.

We arrived in Torino in the afternoon by car and after many trial runs at the directions found the Olympic Park. There were many booths in the foyer and after discovering NZ we gathered the pack with all the information for the conference and familiarised ourselves with the events and the layout of the buildings as not all the events were in the same place. Also we had to find the accommodation arrangements and how to meet our billets in Bra. Many of the travellers to the conference were billeted by the Italians all around the Torino area. After the ceremony (in the dark) we decided to drive to Bra and wait at the appointed pick up drop off place for the buses which left each morning at 8am and return usually around the 7pm mark. Long Days!  Our arrival to Bra was before the bus, which gave us time to have a look around the town piazza. Clare’s direction and the assistance of a local Italians were paramount in finding our destination.

 

Opening Ceremony.

The opening began with the entertainment of three bands in selected areas around the stadium, which produced a carnival atmosphere as the flag bearers of the 153 countries made their way through the huge crowd to the place of honour on the stage.

Below are some of the important contents we noted from some of the speakers. 

Ceremony program and selected speeches:

Paolo Di Croce

Secretary General of Terra Madre Foundation

Introduction Speaker:

Welcome to all the 5000 people involved the conference.           

At this point in time in there are many projects in place to assist countries around the world affected by wars e.g. Africa, Middle East, and the aftermath of the natural disasters. Also the strong political influences that reflect in the poverty and inability to provide food for the people.

Sustainable farming is what it is all about. Local production and working together to form networks.

 

 

Sergio Chiamparino

Mayor of the City of Torino

The is the 3rd time in Torino that this event has been held to rediscovery the relationship with the earth and the people – remembering the quality of the people through natural health – nature, environment and science, which has more emphasis on the freedom of the individual to produce and market rather than the growing movement of globalisation of foods. The city of Torino now has 45 markets and there are projects in place to assist the food in schools.

 

 

Mercedes Bresso

President of Piedmont Regional Authority

Referred to the conference as being the Olympic of Foods. He welcomed all the different cultures and once again reminded us all of the responsibility of the relationship between nature and human beings.

 

Alice Waters

Alice Waters, Vice-President of Slow Food, presented a video message from HRH The Prince of Wales

Speaker  Vice  President of Slow Food-Alice Waters.

 She touched on the need and the concern of energy and the utilising the natural energy of water and sun. Leaders of the world must consider change and be responsible for the world shortage of food. There should be more concentration on the values of nourishment.


Speaker HRH The Prince of Wales

 Spoke of the contamination of the earth, and emphasises the improvements needed to show greater respect for nature. He mentions that not only food the considerations but the fact that there are too many people on the earth to feed. At present UK sponsors 480K pounds in the treatment of aids and asks the question why we are not spending money on the family planning to assist the situation at present.

Climate change is contributing to the water problems and new systems need to be implemented to save those countries affected. Global debates need to take place to exchange ideas and move to solving the world problems that not only include food but the whole of the cycle of sustainability. Multinational companies are ruling the world and the farmers are unable to match the prices and often give up the land. Also there is massive food waste 1.2million tonnes in land fills with a value of 4 billion Euros and with 3 million people dying of hunger each year this would appear to be another of mans folly. This was a very interesting video and gave another aspect of the problems facing the planet.

 Luca Zaia

Italy's Agriculture, Food and Forestry Minister

 Carlos Lopes

The Director of United Nations System Staff College read a personal message from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Carlos spoke of finding long-term solutions for the food problems and more encouragement to the farmers to produce quality and with assistance in a modern approach. Much of the future lies with the young people.

 

Vandana Shiva

Vice-President of Slow Food and Navdanya Founder and President

Three major considerations are prominent. Financial, Environment, Food.

Financial- In some parts of the world there is major corruption in governments, which is accounts for 70% collapse in the world at present. There is too much greed for land and very little control on the fair price. World Trade Organisation is unable to influence completely and this leads to high commodity prices and in India 200,000 farmers in debt have been reported as taking their lives.

Alliance with the Green Plan, as chemicals and fertilizers, around 25%, continue to affect the soil and this has lead to some dead zones with very little organic life. There is a need to have Bio privacy and security of seeds.

 

Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher

Director-General of Ethiopia's Environmental Protection Agency

Biosphere and perpetual health. 2007 UN census records show that the first time that urban exceeds rural. Once again the Multi Nationals encourage intensive cropping with chemicals and latest technologies and this leaves the countryside depopulated and the social infrastructure begins to fall apart. The Destiny of mankind lies with another type of living for the future. Water – Food – Safety.

The use of the natural resources available for the type of food suitable is linked to the rural world and this economy encourages the social community in which the money circulates with in the community.

Humberto Oliveira

Secretary of Territorial Development of Brazil's Ministry for Rural Development

 

Sam Levin

Student at Monument Mountain Regional High School, Massachusetts, USA

The youth of today. He has organised food grown on the campus  to provide for the school lunches. He has a vision of healthy food using native seeds and using the water capsule system. Kindergartens also operate his system and the children participate in the growing and eating the food. Project SPROUT is promoting youth motivation and powerful resolution. A very good speaker with the enthusiasm of youth and watch this space for his future involvement of the Slow Food Movement.

  

Carlo Petrini

President of Slow Food and the Terra Madre Foundation

Welcome all to all the Producers, Weavers Musicians and university students .The network for growth.

3000 young people attended the conference to give the future hope. 2004 the beginning of the evolution upheaval.  2008 changing history around the world in all walks of life. The General Assembly has not been successful in reaching all those that are in need of food relief. 1 from 6 suffer food defeat. Rich countries need to contribute. During the recent financial collapse countries affected were able to put together $2000 billion dollars in a fortnight to save the country, which makes one realize that malnourishment is not top of the priorities. The rogue finance system housing speculation has burst. In Italy the 10% of income for food has now risen to between 50% and 80%. The concern for the future is for life jobs and dignity. We must stop think and reason, for more respect redemption to save the planet. NOW! Consumers are looking more and more for fresh local seasonal quality which is a right! The way of the forefathers who had the effective answer of sustainability. Traditional Diet planting for the season with short-term consumption and no waste.  There is 4000 tonnes of waste a day. The future will be with the young people. He is a man with a mission and his passion for the movement is evident in the strength of his belief.

Download the speech

 

 

 

First Session. Asia Oceanic Meeting

This was our first introduction to the translation box and headphones, which were to be with us for all the sessions. What an amazing service. To be able to understand with the assistance of two interpreters in each of the 8 booths for each 2-hour session, translating all the speeches.

Afganistan                 

A Farmer who grows olive trees apricots, citrus and grapes in the mountains has had 12 years of drought and wars and the fight to continue his life is almost impossible. The wheat price, which was $2 a kilo, is now $6. Also animals are starving. Florence Italy is assisting with the development of seeds for this dry climate. There is a major shift to privatisation. Engineers from Italy also assist with the repairs to machinery for producing the end product. We do not realise in NZ how lucky we are.

New Guinea

Networking is the most important reason for attending the conference. It is a paradise as the food is 100% organic and 100% slow food as they use the method of the old ways, foraging and farming for short-term consumption. The main objective is looking for clean fair trade and assured security for their way of life.

India                 

Endorse Slow Food but have a similar movement in place. They are looking to local seeds, which are safe and secure with diversity and are good and clean. The journey is the same. During the sunami the local seeds would not tolerate the now saline soils and new seeds had to be sourced for survival.

New Zealand

Philosophy of handing seeds to the children and involve them with the home gardens. Concentration of Heritage seeds and Gate to Plate. Use of seaweed and worm farms are growing, so are the Farmers Markets.  Emphasis on the protection of seeds and the pure product for local production for the season. Like our families the genealogy of seeds is paramount.

Australia.

Aborigine people were and still are in some areas nomadic. Once again there is a movement of going back to the land and the education of the young. At present too much is taken from the earth and this is not returned. The elders pass on the knowledge of the herbs and berries.

From Elena Aniere

This was the first regional meeting and was most successful and Elena looked forward to the next Terra Madre. We all enjoyed the introduction to the conference and it was noticeable that we are all here with the same vision.

Sessions.

We attended many of the sessions available and were amazed at the many professors from universities of the world imparting their knowledge on the programme attached. Also the participation from the floor by all walks of life concerned with Bio fuels /Tourism /Honey alarm/Climate change etc  etc.

Closing Ceremony.

This was the night of the music from many of the different countries and dancing in the aisles.

It will also be remember as a night of shame for the movement including the Italians who stood up and turned their backs on the video of the prominent Italian Minister. This was alarming and was fuelled I think mostly by young people. But As Carlos said after the rude demonstration that people in the movement must listen to all and be tolerant of the chance to one day, be in a position to influence changes in the world.

Thanks to the people of BRA who spent hours rounding up all their charges with some going missing now and then! Thanks to the drivers who kept us safe on the way home in the monotonous fog day after day.

In summary:

This was a lifetime experience. We also made time to visit the Salone Del Gusto section housed in another area. Wow what a show and the crowds! Food to die for everywhere. Aldo was in heaven with all the cheeses and meats and sweets etc. So many wonderful displays from all over Italy. And the German Beer was nice too!  Not forgetting the emerging beers appearing in Italy these days, quality stuff and great drinking.

For the Waitakere Convivium:

Whilst listening to the many speakers discussing the educational projects around the world maybe some thought could be given to the following:

1.     School education - growing in the school grounds and eating the produce they grow for lunch

2.     Grandparent Participation – Encourage the many Grandparents around the area with time on their hands to participate in the school programmes as they frequently have the knowledge.

3.     Encourage a Junior Slow Food Group-working with the local council on a project to promote good eating habits.

4.     Hospital food-Encourage only certified growers and producers to provide food for the welfare and health of patients.

Thank you to the Convivium for sponsoring us to this important event. I am sure that as the group grows, there will be opportunities to make a positive impact for this worthy cause. What a extraordinary thing Terra Madre is doing for the world!


Aldo and Mary-Ann Di Cesare

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