Local Agriculture the Answer

22 Mar 2009

The first National Assembly of Italian Slow Food Convivia was held this weekend in Rome, bringing together 520 delegates representing 40,000 members from all twenty regions. A key theme of the discussion was the role of agriculture in this period of economic, environmental, food and energy crises and its fundamental role in debate about the future of our production, social and cultural systems.

‘This National Assembly is occurring in a particular moment: economic, environmental, energy and finance crises have made it evident that we need a great change,’ stated Roberto Burdese, President of Slow Food Italy. ‘From our economic and cultural reference points, to our lifestyles and values, food can be one of the drivers of this change and at the same time a model which inspires our future.’

‘Slow Food has discussed these themes for years,’ continued Burdesse. ‘The movement has anticipated with alarm what is evident to everyone today, and for some time we have been working to develop proposals and to research a food system which is good, clean and fair’.

The discussion focused on the commitment of the association to drive projects at a local level to support food communities and co-producers (aware consumers). The experience of Terra Madre – the world network of farmers, fishers, shepherds, food artisans, cooks, researchers and youth – was seen as increasingly important to the central themes of Slow Food and a commitment was made to continue to work to bring together convivia, the historic foundation of Slow Food, with Terra Madre communities.

The National Assembly of Slow Food Convivia was organized in collaboration with ARSILA (Lazio Regional Authority for Agricultural Innovation). ‘We are strongly convinced about local agriculture,’ said Massimo Pallottini, the President of ARSILA. ‘In this moment of crisis, it can offer concrete answers both from an economic and environmental viewpoint.’

‘It is important that institutions concentrate their efforts on reinforcing and renewing agriculture based on biodiversity, intended primarily to provide for local communities, geared towards safeguarding ecosystems and to guarantee respect for those who produce and consume’, said Burdese.

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