Grasse, Côte D’Azur, June 17 2003
The project took shape in less than a month. Now we had to define its outline, understand its limitations, identify its objectives. We needed to have a meeting far from our offices, ringing phones, interruptions both trivial and important.
The heat was intense, we were working in a room of the farm holiday place we were staying at. Ugo Vallauri, Carlo Bogliotti (President’s Office) and Silvia Monasterolo (Award Office) had joined our ranks. But in the meantime there had been other meetings and new developments.
By then we were talking about 5,000 people, half the original figure, and there was still room for more. But we had a problem with the producers concept. Because, in addition to them, we were also thinking about seed savers, cooks, promoters, distributors, sales people, fishermen, people who live on food that grows in the wild and so on.
The concept of a rural community didn’t work either because there are only some parts of the world where the rural community takes care of all the functions concerning food. Very often operators work on their own and have little knowledge of the other links in the chain.
In short, a Canadian farmer who produces organic, ecologically-friendly, fair-trade wheat may not know where it is ground, nor does he know the New York baker who only uses that flour because he is sure of its origins. And yet all these people are brought together by a shared sensibility and criteria. In effect, they form a community. We were almost there. But what sort of a community? A new sort: a food community.
This is the concept we were looking for. In the cool, shaded room, we could see it develop and its numbers increase, while outside all the cicadas in France were celebrating its arrival.
To be continued …
Cinzia Scaffidi is the director of the Slow Food Study Center
This is an edited excerpt from an article which was first published in Slow 46.