From 9 – 11 May, the 8th National Congress of Slow Food Italia was held in Riva del Garda, bringing together delegates from across the Italian network. A key component of the three-day meeting was the election of a new Executive Committee that will be responsible for guiding the association over the next few years. For the first time in the history of the Congress, convivium leaders were asked to choose between one of two lists of candidates, each with a designated leader. After the votes were cast, it was Gaetano (“Nino”) Pascale – an agronomist from the region of Campania and an expert in oils and wines – who was selected to be the new President of Slow Food Italia. Nino has been involved with the association for many years: After joining in 1997, he went on to become a trustee of the Valle Telesina Convivium and later the President of Slow Food Campania and Basilicata. He is also a member of the National Council and National Secretariat of Slow Food Italia.
In his electoral manifesto he suggests that: “The new objectives that Slow Food Italia have set aim to ensure that the network widens its horizons, looking beyond our generation, our land, our culture and the traditional themes of gastronomy, in order to sow the seeds for the future we desire. On the other hand, they will also force us to keep our feet firmly on the ground as we set about implementing these projects.”
At first glance, this might seem contradictory, but as Carlo Petrini said in his opening speech, the association should aim to be both visionary and pragmatic.
Speaking at the Congress, the new President said: “We pledge to continue along the lines that have enabled us to achieve everything that has already been done, but also to follow new tracks to complete what still needs to be done. Over the next four years there will no longer be two lists, just one big association called Slow Food.”
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, a new Executive Committee was also elected on May 11 during the Food Film Festival in Amsterdam. The Committee will assist new President Jack Stroeken. Like Nino, Jack is not a new face to Slow Food, having formed part of the previous Executive Committee. Speaking at the festival, Mr Stroeken pointed out that a movement such as Slow Food currently has enormous potential, with food at the center of many debates. However, he also pointed out that “this potential can only be maximized if we manage to build a bridge towards the general public, giving Slow Food greater social impact and more relevance in our country.”
So, as we welcome familiar faces to new positions, we look forward to future collaboration and a stronger network, working together to achieve shared goals and targets, such as the protection of biodiversity and a united commitment towards Africa.
So good luck Nino. Good luck Jack: Let’s sow the seeds for the future together!
Slow Food Italia Executive Committee:
• Nino Pascale: President
• Daniele Buttignol: General Secretary
• Lorenzo Berlendis
• Sonia Chellini
• Francesca Rocchi
• Cinzia Scaffidi
Slow Food Netherlands Executive Committee:
• Jack Stroeken: President
• Rob Cozzi: Secretary
• Paul Koopmans: Treasurer
• Guus Thijssen: Slow Food Youth Network
• Ton Jansen: Producer
• Dorien Brugmans: Marketing
• Roland de Ligny: Public Relations