On Monday Slow Food closed the doors of this year’s Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2014 event, which saw the attendance of 220,000 visitors, as well as 400 journalists from 63 countries (on top of the Italian press). In addition, people from around the world renewed the excitement of cataloguing their traditional food products for protection by nominating hundreds of new products for the Ark of Taste project. The BBC dedicated 100 interviews to Ark of Taste products from around 50 countries, which allowed the small-scale producers to tell the extraordinary stories related to their product.
Carlo Petrini, founder and president of Slow Food, said that Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre has become the largest and most important event dedicated to food-related topics on a global level: “This is the Terra Madre network, a network that consists of people made of flesh and blood, along with their passions and traditional knowledge. Slow Food is the thread of the network and the communities are its nodes. After these five amazing days, this network of physical people should never forget to use the virtual world and all the tools that modern technologies offer to stay in contact, distribute information and to strengthen the union between thousands and thousands of food communities around the world.”
Paolo Di Croce, General Secretary of Slow Food International expressed his thanks to all Slow Food members around the world, who worked with passion to enable delegates and their products from over 160 countries to join in this event: “The energy and passion that our delegates, members and local leaders spent to make this the best edition of the event so far is admirable. I cannot refrain from thanking everyone on behalf of the Slow Food International Council and I wish to renew our commitment. The topics that were at the center of attention during this edition of Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre – the protection of food biodiversity and family farming – are the real challenges that the world is currently facing and Slow Food will continue to work on these fronts with renewed enthusiasm and energy.»
Many of the food communities completely sold out their products, like bananas from Uganda, two Slow Food Presidia for Vanilla (Chinantla Vanilla from Mexico and Mananara Vanilla from Madagascar), Mate herb from Paraguay, Timbuktu and Gao Katta Pasta Presidium from Mali, oasis dates from Morocco and Libya, Ixcán Cardamom Presidium from Guatemala, hyvar from the Balkans, Nacional Cacao from Ecuador, and the Herat Abjosh Raisin from Afghanistan, to name a few.
Visitors showed a great interest in the Italian and international market areas, but also in the hot topics affecting the current food system that were discussed in a diverse program consisting of conferences, workshops, educational activities, and cooking school sessions. Slow Food was happy to see an increased interest in the practical aspects of gastronomy. The visitors who attended spent more time at the event than previous years and almost all Taste Workshops and Cooking School sessions were completely booked out.
Interest was also high in the didactic material and educational activities, which was highlighted by a 40% increase in book sales from the Slow Food publishing house as compared to the last edition of the event. Membership for Slow Food has also increased, where 35% of the new members consist of youth, which confirms that young generations are interested in food-related hot topics. This is a very good sign, especially with the high volume of request for material from teachers from educational institutions around the world.
Thanks to all who participated and see you in 2016!