12 Months of Slow Food

17 Dec 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, we take a look back at some of the highlights…




The year got off to a strong start as Slow Food President Carlo Petrini headed to Berlin for the “Wir haben es satt” (we are fed up) demonstration against agribusiness. The event saw an incredible turn out, with 30,0000 farmers, beekeepers, producers and consumers taking to the streets to demand a change to the current food system.   


In a powerful speech, Petrini told the crowd: “If Europe loses its small farmers and its family farms, then it loses its history, it loses its culture, it loses its identity; it would not exist anymore…”





On February 17, the event “Slow Food for Africa” in Milan marked the official relaunch of the Thousand Gardens in Africa project.


The event was attended by the Director General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) José Graziano da Silva, along with many different members of the Slow Food network in Africa. This included Edie Mukiibi who was appointed at the new Vice-President of Slow Food International earlier in the month. The gardens project is a major focus for Slow Food; both for working within the framework of the 2014 International Year of Family Farming and for building strong leadership in different African countries to enable local people to take the challenge of freeing their continent from hunger into their own hands.



February also saw the Slow Camp take place in Uruguay, attended by members from Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile. The event was a great opportunity to share ideas and to discuss problems, issues and solutions for the continent of South America on GMO, food education, organic gardens and more.





On March 27, Regina Tchelly – the enterprising Brazilian chef making her mark on the Brazilian culinary scene through her work in the favelas of Rio – cooked up a feast for almost 100 people at the Slow Food headquarters in Italy.





On April 1, the global campaign against food waste, Feeding the 5000, headed to Brussels to serve up a free lunch made entirely from fresh fruit and vegetables – including misshapen potatoes, wonky carrots and oversized aubergines – that would otherwise have gone to waste due their physical appearance (failing to meet strict retail specifications). In the lead up to the event, volunteers harvested hundreds of kilos of “unwanted” produce from farms around Brussels.  The event was followed by a conference on Sustainable food in the European Parliament. 



The first edition of Slow Fish South Pacific took place in Ecuador from April 23- 27, bringing together representatives from the Ecuadorian coastal provinces, the North of Peru and Colombia. Fishers, clammers, crab gatherers, shepherds and farmers came together to share experiences and define common goals.





From May 1-11, the city of Bristol in the UK – with its diversity of communities and food cultures – hosted Bristol Food Connections. The event was dedicated to food traditions, education, diversity and taste. Slow Food was present at the festival, bringing the good, clean and fair message with a market and a pop-up pizzeria area.



May also saw the Food Film Festival make its return to Amsterdam for its fourth edition – bringing documentaries, films, people and discussions about the world of food to the city.



On May 22, Slow Food officially launched Slow Food Korea, a new organizational structure established to locally coordinate activities, events and projects, a step that follows the recent strengthening of the network in this region.





June was a busy month for Slow Food. After two editions in Sofia, the Terra Madre Balkans network chose Dubrovnik, Croatia for their third meeting that brought together food communities from Southeast Europe. More than 200 delegates from 11 countries came together to celebrate the network (and the food) from the region, and make plans for the future.



Here in Italy, a week-long party was held for the 10th birthday of the University of Gastronomic Sciences. It may seem young, but in one decade the school has grown up, experienced many significant relationships, created a close-knit and loving family, and produced generations of offspring of which it can be truly proud.



Finally, on the other side of the Atlantic, the first edition of Slow Meat took place in Denver, USA from June 20 – 22. In the first Slow Food event of its kind, the event brought together ranchers, butchers, policy experts, producers and of course consumers to investigate the good, the bad and the ugly in the meat production system in America.





August saw the official launch of a Slow Food Earth Market in Mauritius. Earth Markets are farmers’ markets established according to guidelines that follow the Slow Food philosophy. These community-run markets are important social meeting points, where local producers offer healthy, quality food directly to consumers at fair prices and guarantee environmentally sustainable methods. In addition, they preserve the food culture of the local community and contribute to defending biodiversity.





In September, Slow Food was honored to welcome the 28 European Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries at the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) for their Informal Meeting that included speeches by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloș, the Italian Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies Maurizio Martina, Slow Food President Carlo Petrini and UNISG Dean Piercarlo Grimaldi.



At the start of the month, Carlo Petrini was in Lima for the seventh edition of Peru’s largest gastronomic festival, Mistura.





October means just one thing for the Slow Food movement: Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre.  The 2014 edition saw the attendance of 220,000 visitors and 3000 delegates. The centerpiece of the event was an area dedicated to the Ark of Taste – a huge wooden structure hosting products at risk of extinction from all over the world. Guests could also sample Korean temple food, dishes from international chefs in the Terra Madre kitchen and hundreds of products in the Italian and international markets. There was also a space dedicated to the Indigenous Terra Madre Network, the ever-strong Slow Food Youth Network and Slow Fish, not to mention the extensive conference programme with guest speakers including Jamie Oliver and Danielle Nierenburg, and the new sound coming to the airwaves: Slow Food Radio… PHEW!



At the start of October, an important milestone was reached in the Ark of Taste project as the 2000th passenger was announced: Meoksi Persimmon Vinegar. The Ark of Taste began 18 years ago and has since become an international catalogue of food products, breeds and varieties which are at risk of disappearing, along with the traditions and knowledge to which they are linked.





On November 11, a nationwide celebration of the gardens project in Italy, held on the feast day of St. Martin, the date traditionally devoted to fallow fields. The Orti in Condotta project was launched in Italy in 2004, reflecting the idea cultivated by Slow Food Vice President Alice Waters in the mid-nineties in Berkeley, California.  Schools across Italy created snail images using local seeds.    





Every year on December 10, Slow Food celebrates Terra Madre Day. This year was a special date, marking 25 years since the international association was officially founded.  The day saw over 800 events around the world and over 150,000 participants. Slow Food also received a video message from Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who has taken the Terra Madre Day flag, along with several Slow Food Presidia legumes, on her 6-month trip into space to ensure she will be able to connect to home with local products…



We would like to thank each and every person who made 2014 a success – we look forward to what next year has in store! 




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