Slow Food

SALONE DEL GUSTO: Slow Food Presents Its New Projects

Italy - 25 Oct 02

In an emotionally charged conference this morning, Slow Food and some of the world’s leading crusaders for biodiversity discussed the movement’s progress in this sphere.“On Wednesday we announced Slow Food Award,” Carlo Petrini began his speech, “in an emotional and significant opportunity to honor people defending biodiversity around the world. But Slow Food can’t and won’t stop there: we need more than a once yearly celebration. And this is where the International Presidia comes in”. “The Presidia,” Petrini continued, “is Slow Food’s concrete commitment to preserving our biodoviersity and culinary heritage.” Petrini thanked the Tuscan Regional Authority for their support, which has made the Foundation possible. “With them,” he continued, “Slow Food has found a passionate and worthy partner for this project of extraordinary importance.” Inviting the world’s farmers, agronomists and agricultural workers to the next Salone, Petrini continued, “I hope they will be at the 2004 Salone with a great pride in their work, and so through the international Presidia, the Salone will become a window for worldwide quality and diversity”.Dr Vandana Shiva from India’s Navdanya Seed Conservation Movement, and a great collaborator of Slow Food’s Presidia project, defined biodiversity as, “the culture of sharing – of farmer’s sharing seeds and agricultural knowledge. This is how food is grown, not through patents and genetic modification and control over seeds”. Spanish author Manuel Vàsquez Montalbàn called for a new commitment to biodiversity and his sentiments were echoed by Eric Schlosser, author of the bestseller Fast Food Nation. Schlosser argued that while mass centralization, the industrialization of our food supply and the devotion for cheap, quantities of food have marked the last century, “This new century demands new systems based on biodiversity. This foundation,” Schlosser continued, “is the beginning of this new ideology, and I support it completely”.The conference was attended by Presidia producers who have come to Italy from all corners of the world: Poland‘s Oscypek cheesemakers, who had traveled from the Tatra mountains by bus, the Malaysian rice growers, who brought their produce to Turin by buffalo, truck, boat then plane, a representative from Morocco’s Argan Oil cooperative, plus the international media and a representation of sponsors.