AGRICULTURE: Harmonizing crops, the environment and the real needs of communities: that’s what ‘agriculture’ means for Slow Food. It is the sum-total of knowledge and manual skills that are in urgent need of re-evaluation and understanding. Agriculture must be rooted in the land and quality and respect for the environment: it must use all the traditional and innovative practices that can make the soil productive while preserving fertility and biodiversity. Where is agriculture heading, and more importantly, where should it be heading? The Terra Madre food communities will be coming to Torino to debate its future.
COUNTRIES: Slow Food is present in 130 countries around the world in one way or another. It has self-running national offices in nine: Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the United States, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Australia. Eighty countries participated in the Salone del Gusto 2006, while Terra Madre welcomed food communities from 150 nations. With this level of international involvement, Salone/Terra Madre 2008 will be at once a cultural challenge and an opportunity for the food communities, for visitors and for the Piedmont region, which will be hosting delegates.
DAILY FOOD: Slow Food cannot limit itself to promoting regional food specialties and protecting gastronomic treasures at risk of extinction. While it has always been active in food and taste education, recently the organization has been developing a broader approach to the reality of everyday food inspired by the good, clean and fair principles. In every sphere of intervention, from markets to canteens, Slow Food is working to create a high-quality, short food supply chain, respecting the seasons, rich in biodiversity and conscious of the diversity of local cultures.
EARTH MARKETS: Fine-tuned by Slow Food, the Earth Markets are a model for local markets, in which farmers and artisan producers sell their products directly to the consumer, fulfilling the basic principles of good, clean and fair in one fell swoop. Markets from Italy, Lebanon and Mali will be relocating to the Lingotto Fiere for this year’s Salone del Gusto.
EDUCATION: Taste education innovatively integrating traditional teaching methods has always been one of Slow Food’s key projects. Traditional methods tend to reduce food education to nutritional science or commodity economics. But food is not just nourishment: it is also pleasure, culture and conviviality, a mediator of values and attitudes, a vehicle for relationships, a catalyst for emotions. Educational initiatives at the Salone include the Taste Workshops, Slow Food’s well-established guided tastings; lectures that offer a taste of the Master of Food study course; the Theater of Taste, starring the greatest Italian and international chefs; and Meeting the Makers and the Memory Workshops. Special events will also be staged for schoolchildren, including Taste Test sensory games for infants. Finally the Dream Canteen space will present a new model for collective catering.
FOOD: Its value must be redefined and addressed in its full complexity. The industrial food system is the leading factor behind global impoverishment, the destruction of the soil and the emission of carbon dioxide. Western food habits exported to developing countries are causing serious problems. We urgently need to draw up virtuous models of production and consumption. The food communities, the 400 university professors and researchers and the 1,000 cooks who form the Terra Madre network will be undertaking this vital task.
FOUNDATION FOR BIODIVERSITY: Set up with support from the Tuscany Regional Authority, the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity is based in the prestigious Georgofili Academy in Florence. An offshoot of Slow Food, but legally, financially and administratively autonomous, it funds projects to protect biodiversity like the Ark of Taste, the Slow Food Presidia and the Earth Markets. Its aims are to defend agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions around the world; to promote sustainable agriculture respectful of the environment, cultural identity and animal welfare; to set up Slow Food presidia, initiatives to support quality local products at risk of extinction in Italy and the rest of the world. Visitors to the Salone del Gusto can taste and buy produce from over 160 Italian presidia and 115 international presidia in 45 different countries.
GASTRONOMY: According to Brillat-Savarin, a multidisciplinary, complex science that interacts with different subjects and fields from social, anthropological, historical, economic, political, agronomic, zootechnical and other perspectives besides. Today gastronomy cannot ignore the serious environmental impact and consumption of land and water resources that mass food production brings with it. It is no longer enough to be passionate about food and wine. We have to become ‘neo-gastronomes’, always considering the relationship between food and the environment. The Salone del Gusto will raise awareness in the general public, spreading the value of neo-gastronomy through the discovery of pleasure.
GOOD, CLEAN AND FAIR: These three adjectives define in an elementary way the characteristics a food must have in order to meet the expectations of neo-gastronomy. ‘Good’ relates to the sense of pleasure derived from a food’s sensory qualities, as well as the complex set of feelings, memories and identity triggered by its emotional impact. ‘Clean’ means food that has been produced without damaging the planet, with respect for ecosystems and the environment. ‘Fair’ food must be made and sold in a socially just way. Support for these criteria by the producers present at the Salone del Gusto is a significant step forward for the concrete application of quality standards.
HACCP: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, a system originally developed by NASA in 1959 to ensure the wholesomeness of astronauts’ meals. It subsequently spread to other areas of the food industry and then became a European Directive, applied in 1999 in Italy. It brought new regulations and procedures for analyzing the risks of food contamination, but they proved difficult to interpret and implement for many small, traditional businesses. It endangered the survival of many small-scale, local producers, who, over the centuries, had developed safe practices based on knowledge handed down through generations. The Salone offers many examples of products made in this way, and just one taste should be enough to convince anyone that they should not be allowed to be eradicated by hyper-hygienic regulations designed for big industry or by an overly rigid application of the rules.
ITALIAEUROPA-LIBERI DA OGM (Italy Europe: GMO-Free): A coalition of 32 organizations which together represent millions of Italians.
In modern post-industrial economies, the food-production system plays a decisive central role. We must follow a model in which food and its quality (sensory, environmental and social) are at the heart of a project based on biodiversity, GMO-free and centered on people and the land, health and quality, sustainability and innovation. The Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre will host an important international conference to debate this subject.
JOURNEY: A metaphorical, physical and temporal way to describe Slow Food’s growth over the last 20 years, but also the distance food travels from field to fork, the movement towards a sustainable world, the trips made by representatives of food communities who come to Torino to meet and learn about each other, the path that Salone del Gusto visitors follow as they explore new sensations, new tastes, new cultures …
PIEDMONT: This northern Italian region at the foot of the Alps has become a symbol for quality gastronomy and wine, its landscape of hills, rivers and plains making it an ideal source of good, clean and fair food. Scientific culture and ecological awareness permeate all its finest agricultural produce, from carefully controlled meats to ‘protected denomination of origin’ cheeses with The Piedmont Regional Authority has been a Salone del Gusto partner since 1996 and is a founding member of the Terra Madre Foundation.
RIGHTS: Slow Food’s first battle was for the right to pleasure. Specifically gastronomic pleasure, meaning conviviality, eating together, curiosity, knowledge and exchanges between different cultures and customs. Without knowledge there can be no true pleasure, and without pleasure no knowledge can ever become part of our most personal feelings. Practical experience has led Slow Food to formulate an ethical concept of hedonism. There are other rights that need to be fought for: the right to food sovereignty, to preserve traditions despite globalization’s standardizing forces; the right to food and taste education, to rediscover the ability to recognize quality; the right to see environments and agricultural land protected and used ecologically; the right to good, clean and fair food on a daily basis.
ROOTS: Food has its roots in the soil. Roots are also a cultural metaphor for the identity of people, traditions and history. Roots are material culture which must be preserved, they are the presidia of memory and they are Music and Sounds of Terra Madre, the event’s musical offshoot featuring traditional groups from around the world.
SCHOOL GARDENS: A three-year project will test a new method for food education in schools, based on practical work in a kitchen garden. The program is focused primarily on teaching about food and the environment through activities in the classroom and the garden. Slow Food educators provide training for teachers and meet with parents. The number of Slow Food school gardens is on the rise, with 127 gardens currently operational in Italian schools and 54 in the rest of the world.
SLOW FOOD: The International Slow Food Movement for the Defense of and the Right to Pleasure was founded in Paris in December 1989, during a now legendary congress at the Opéra Comique. Here 15 delegations from around the world signed the Slow Food Manifesto and pledged to promote initiatives that would encourage a greater awareness of the land and its uniqueness, while valuing individual cultural autonomy and supporting active exchange to improve understanding of other gastronomic cultures.
TORINO: The city has hosted the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre since the outset. Recent years have seen great changes in Torino’s urban design and architecture, with the 2006 Winter Olympic Games acting as a catalyst. The city’s cultural profile has now been raised to an international level, particularly in the fields of contemporary art, music, film and of course food and wine. In 2008 the city was declared the first World Capital of Design by ICSID, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, and the project to develop a new, low-environmental-impact model for events and exhibitions, to be applied to the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, is part of the Torino 2008 World Design Capital program.
The City of Torino has been a Salone del Gusto partner since 2006 and is a founding member of the Terra Madre Foundation.
UNIVERSITY OF GASTRONOMIC SCIENCES: The first of its kind in the world, the university has two campuses: at the Agenzia in Pollenzo, near Bra, in the province of Cuneo, a former Savoy palace, and at the summer residence of the Farnese family in Colorno, near Parma. The University of Gastronomic Sciences integrates scientific and humanistic disciplines as well as experience in the field and classroom lessons to create a unique program, taught by distinguished lecturers to an international student body.
WORKSHOPS: The Taste Workshops have become a leitmotiv of Slow Food’s events, encapsulating some of the modern consumer’s deepest needs. They fulfill the desire for a direct approach, for guided tastings, hence a return to sensory sensitivity; they represent food as entertainment and gratification rather than a nutritional necessity; they satisfy curiosity about foods which are often exotic or rare, as well as offering the intellectual gratification of learning about their stories and characteristics. A total of 133 Taste Workshops will be held over five days during the Salone del Gusto.
ZERO: Ideally most of our food would travel zero kilometers from producer to consumer. This would minimize environmental damage, with lower CO2 emissions, less oil consumption and reduced ecological and social costs. Not to mention the fact that food which is processed at the correct ripeness and with fewer preservatives and chemical additives is tastier and healthier.
Zero Impact is also the goal Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre hope to reach in the coming years. It will be a journey by stages, made in conjunction with the Industrial Design degree course at the Torino Polytechnic and the ZERI Foundation and other partners, towards the progressive reduction of the two events’ environmental impact. The project will develop new sustainable models for consumption and waste management, turning outputs (waste) into inputs for other processes, hence with a new economic value.