Voices from the Inauguration of the 7th International Congress

01 Jan 1970

In Chengdu, China, we are discussing the future of Slow Food and the entire global food system which is in such dire need of change. At the inauguration of the congress, a host of speakers took to the stage to share their thoughts, hopes and concerns.

Hongbo Liu, Mayor of Chengdu — MA NON SI CHIAMA “LUO QIANG” IL SINDACO DI CHENGDU? TROVO UN “YANG HONGBO”; “Vice Governor of Sichuan Province ” — vogliamo essere sicuri prima di pubblicare questo

Our sincere gratitude to the Italian Embassy and Slow Food for choosing Chengdu as the location for this congress. We have one of the most important gastronomic heritages in the world in our city, and a close bond with Slow Food. This is a city of innovation, tolerance, optimism and philanthropy: a spirit that we share with Slow Food.

Carlo Petrini

Allow me to say, on behalf of all the delegates here, our gratitude to our host city, and welcome to the delegation of 150 farmers from across the provinces of China. The city of Chengdu surely completely deserves the recognition which it has been afforded by UNESCO. This is the gastronomic capital of an immense country, and we must say clearly, with affection, that neither this city nor indeed any gastronomic capital can consider itself as such without strong local agriculture, a strong farming community that is respected by all. It is for this reason that we hope our meeting here may consolidate, through the work of Slow Food Great China, a stronger relationship with the Rural Reconstruction Movement. This extraordinary country must uphold the dignity of farming communities. It’s a great challenge, but we’re here to make that voice heard: that an extraordinary cannot exist without an extraordinary countryside supporting it.

Ettore Sequi, Italian Ambassador to China

Cina e Italia hanno caratteristiche comuni: antica tradizione rurale, problemi importantissimi – pensiamo che la Cina ha il 21% della popolazione mondiale – in Cina si dice che per il popolo il cibo è come il cielo. E’ sufficiente a definire qual è l’importanza del cibo, così come per l’Italia. Chengdu è la capitale mondiale della gastronomia. Sicurezza alimentare, qualità del cibo, ambiente. Siamo la prima ambasciata Slow Food e serviremo ai nostri ospiti soltanto il cibo che viene da quel villaggio. Ruolo dei contadini, rapporto tra città e campagna, sono temi cruciali.

Vincent Martin, FAO

There is a passion for culture, gastronomy and local development here that is harmony with the concepts that underpin the FAO. We share a common desire: to rid the world of hunger. We produce enough good for everyone, and access to food is a fundamental human right. We live in a world of painful paradoxes, where people may both die of obesity and of hunger.

Vittorio Sun, Secretary-General of Slow Food Great China

Organizzazione fondata solo nel 2015, molto giovane. Abbiamo iniziato a condivdere progetti e a sviluppare la rete di terra madre eravamo molto entusiasti ma anche timorosi perché molto giovani, non sapevamo bene come muoverci. Approccio integrato di slow food può rafforzare le comunità rurali. Tocca a noi fare qualcosa per migliorare le condizioni nelle zone rurali. Abbiamo concentrato la nostra attenzione sui villaggi rurali cercando di incrementare il nostro sostegno e speriamo di poterci concentrare per favorire la diffusione dei villaggi slow. Speriamo di arrivare ad avere 1.000 villaggi slow. Progetto molto ben accolto dal pubblico, ci sono oltre 200 ristoranti coinvolti e abbiamo anche il sostegno del consolato italiano e a chengdu ci sono diversi partner.

Reveca Tapie, Coordinator of Slow Food Brazil (Northeast)

Brazil has an enormous biodiversity, an active network of Presidia, over 200 products at risk of extinction on the Ark of Taste, 60 convivia and a network of university students. Eating local products is the best way to practice taste education. We must make access to the products which are the fruit of Slow Food’s work easier for normal consumers. We must strengthen our projects, and allow farmers to continue making a living in the countryside. Here, today, everything seems possible.

Nicolas Mushumbi Mukumo, Pygmy activist, Democratic Republic of Congo

The Pygmy community is one of the most ancient in central Africa, we’re hunter, and we consider the forest to be sacred. We eat crabs, seafood, larvae, antilopes, fish and honey. More than anything, we have a collective conscience that nurtures constant adaptation so as to remain in harmony with nature. We recognize the dangers and the advantages of some of our practices, and we have established collective rules that are respectful of nature, including systems of management of natural resources. Our lands know no borders, nor are they protected by law, and without legislation this brings conflict, the abuse of natural resources, deforestation and the devastation of natural reserves. At Indigenous Terra Madre in 2015 I realized that we weren’t alone. I started a convivium with my community, which has fostered an end to hostile conflict between two rival communities through a shared food garden. This, for me, is what Slow Food is and must be.

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