Slow Food

Terra Madre 2008 Inaugurated with Statements from the Prince of Wales and UN Secretary-General

Italy - 23 Oct 08

The Prince of Wales and the United Nations Secretary-General today highlighted the importance of traditional farming knowledge in finding a sustainable solution to the global food crisis at the inauguration of Terra Madre 2008, the third world meeting of food communities. Organized by Slow Food and the Terra Madre Foundation, the opening ceremony began at 2.30 pm at Turin’s Palasport Olimpico, welcoming over 7,000 participants and observers from 1,652 food communities of 153 different nationalities to the four-day event. “Finding long-term solutions to the world food crisis is one of the priorities of the United Nations. I welcome initiatives such as yours which contribute to building new partnerships and focus public opinion on small-scale farming.” These were the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a message sent to the gathering and read by Carlos Lopes, director of the United Nations System Staff College. “Your support can help small farmers adopt new technologies and modern farming methods and it can help attract more young people to farming, especially in urban areas of the world,” continued the statement, drawing attention to one of the most important themes of Terra Madre, with a youth delegation of a thousand young people attending for the first time this year. “The global food crisis requires a comprehensive and coordinated global response. This is why I have created a high-level task force, bringing together the UN, donor countries, civil society and the private sector in a ‘global partnership for food.’ I thank Terra Madre for joining our partnership. In that spirit, I wish you a most constructive and successful gathering.” His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who attended the inaugural edition of Terra Madre in 2004, sent a warm greeting to all the delegates and Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini via video. He spoke about his views on organic agriculture, biofuels and genetically modified foods. Prince Charles emphasized that the solution to these problems and the current global food shortages “rests largely with the truly sustainable farmer.” Referring to a UN report which argues that tradition and local knowledge form an extensive sphere of knowledge important for reaching sustainability, he said: “All this may, of course, seem far removed from the everyday concerns of small-scale food producers, farmers, cooks and academics, but it is crucial for your voices to be heard in these global debates.” “I am enormously encouraged that so many people are today recognizing the benefits of working with nature and harnessing positive forces through healthy soil, healthy crops and healthy animals in order to provide healthy food,” the prince continued. “I can only conclude by expressing nothing but my greatest admiration for all you stand for. You are the guarantors of our long-term food security, based upon your dedicated care of the natural environment,” he concluded. Other speakers included Luca Zaia, Italian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry; Mercedes Bresso, President of the Piedmont Regional Authority; Sergio Chiamparino, the Mayor of Turin; and Paolo Di Croce, Secretary of Slow Food International. From outside Italy came Vandana Shiva, Slow Food International Vice-President and founder of Navdanya; Tewolde Berhan Gebre-Egziabher, Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency of Ethiopia and UN “Champion of the Earth”; Humberto Oliveira, Secretary of Regional Development of the Ministry for Rural Development of Brazil; and Sam Levin, student at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Massachusetts, USA.