The Future of Food is Theirs!

27 Oct 2014

The room is packed, people sitting on chairs, tables and the floor. The backpacks piled up in the corner of the room almost reach the ceiling. The discussions are lively despite the fatigue resulting from short nights: The Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) is back at Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre!


In their fight for good, clean and fair food, they use means that are more fit for the generation they belong to. The agenda for Salone del Gusto is packed with meetings and discussions about what is next for SFYN, but also opportunities to reflect on the two years since they were last here. One of the biggest successes they have had is the growth in their reach. Walk past the SFYN space at any time and you will see and hear people from all over the world, exchanging ideas and building friendships. A map of the world positioned in front of their stand is covered in photos of faces from the network, pinned to the place they have come from: a truly global presence.


When they think of the youth movement of Slow Food, many people think of the Disco Soup: an action to raise awareness about food waste. With its origins in Germany, the simple event format involves collecting vegetables from farms and shops that would otherwise go to waste, before peeling and cooking them (to music) in public places. Made into a soup, the food is then distributed for free or for a small donation. In a little over two years, the idea has gone global, with events taking place across Europe, as well as South Korea and the Americas. On Saturday afternoon, SFYN were joined by Feeding the 5000 founder Tristram Stuart for an exchange on how to maximize the impact of this campaign, as well as others.


Other conferences have included an introduction to indigenous youth and another that dealt with issues such as accessibility and elitism. During the debate “Good, clean, fair food for all?” SFYN turned an eye towards inclusion within the movement for Slow Food. Two sides offered visions for future efforts to change the food system.


The youth network has not simply been holding conferences in their own stand, members of the group have also been present on conference panels throughout the event. During the opening ceremony, Anna Grosmanová from the Czech Republic delivered a fantastic speech to the crowd of over 3000: “The most important thing is that we are not a separate movement. We are in this together with all the convivia around the world. We are the Slow Food movement and we are making the change,” she said.


The culmination of SFYN’s presence at the event came on Sunday when the network took to the stage with Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini: “The momentum for Slow Food is growing, we are working faster and faster towards the tipping point,” Joris Lohman, representative of SFYN in the Slow Food International Executive Committee, told the crowd.


The days are busy, but the evenings are no quieter: The energy they are generating both here at the event and in their everyday work is addictive. Good luck guys, we look forward to seeing what you do next! 

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