Food for Thought, Thought for Food

01 Oct 2012

The broad knowledge base of Slow Food’s network – embracing cultural diversity, science and tradition, old and new – will come together at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in 77 conferences and meetings that will be open to the public for the first time. Visitors to Slow Food’s major international biennial event will be able to join discussions with farmers, artisans, experts, chefs and activists; hear ideas from the food communities on how to get out of the current crisis and safeguard traditional knowledge; and visit the networking areas for specific issues.

The Slow Fish area will present Slow Food’s campaign to promote sustainable fishing and responsible consumption, with more than 100 representatives of fishing communities participating in activities with other experts in the field. Small-scale fishers will explain their important role in The Guardians of the Oceans and their fight for fishing rights and to be involved in research, management and decision-making processes. The program includes a workshop on FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines on Small-Scale Fisheries, intended to be used to promote small-scale fishers worldwide.

The room dedicated to beekeepers and honey will welcome around one hundred beekeepers who will sweeten the palates’ of visitors with various activities and tasting sessions at the Honey Bar, featuring 50 amazing honeys from around the world. The conference program will focus on the protection of bees, which are crucial to biodiversity, food production and life on this planet, and allow visitors to interact with honey producers from different countries, including indigenous peoples from Ethiopia, India and Brazil.

In the Slow Food Youth Network area, representatives of the growing movement will present their recent projects and share experiences: from film festivals in the Netherlands and Australia to public Eat-Ins and Disco Soup events to raise awareness of food waste in Germany. In the Say, Do, Hoe: Practices and Policies for Youth Agriculture conference young people will be putting forward suggestions for Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy reform while young Africans will speak about the challenges they face in The Africans’ Africa. The Youth Network will also be highlighting a different food issue every evening with an Eat-In.

The Indigenous Peoples’ space will highlight traditional knowledge and food practices and their role as custodians of agrobiodiversity and other sustainable production methods. Interested visitors can meet with producers of some fascinating traditional products from around the world and discuss food sovereignty and the protection of cultural identity with Mirna Cunningham of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in Indigenous Peoples and Local Food Sovereignty.

Many of the conferences will offer a snapshot of the state of our planet, such as Get Your Forks Out of the Forest! with Vandana Shiva, founder of the Navdanya organization; Green Economy: The Only Solution, which will look at how to change the current economic and production system; and Hungry for Land, which will analyze the land-grabbing phenomenon and how to fight its spread.

The Biodiversity House will also be hosting conferences and meetings organized by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, and a 400 square metre African garden will celebrate the Thousand Gardens in Africa, Slow Food’s ambitious project to create a thousand food gardens in 25 countries across the continent. Visitors will be able to wander through banana groves and vetiver plants, hibiscus bushes and papaya trees, getting a first-hand feel for the project. Amongst many generous donors to the Thousand Gardens project, the Lions Clubs International association has chosen to make a significant contribution, adopting 200 community and school food gardens. Their support will directly touch the lives of at least 5,000 people in several countries around the continent.

Click here to view the entire conference program.

Entrance to the conferences is free to all Salone Del Gusto and Terra Madre visitors, subject to the availability of places. Simultaneous translation will be provided into English and Italian.

Photo: © Paola Viesi

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