The Fifth International Slow Food Congress closed today with powerful words from its founder and leader Carlo Petrini who announced two major pieces of news concerning the association, founded in 1986, and Terra Madre, the third edition of which will be held in 2008.
“One can’t always become sentimental when hearing youth speak out, demand equal rights for women or assert that farmers are at the heart of our association, and then not follow this declaration through with action”, declared Petrini. “It is also just that our leadership passes into new hands, individuals who represent the future evolution of Slow food and who will bring new lifeblood to the association.”
Petrini nominated three new Vice Presidents at the end of his closing address to the Congress. Alice Waters from Slow Food USA was reinstated and joined by Indian activist and scientist Vandana Shiva and Kenyan student John Kariuki Mwangi. The twenty year old student of the University of Gastronomic Sciences received great applause from the audience of 500 delegates.
“The next four years will be fantastic, enjoyable, interesting and full of new projects developing out of this evolution of Slow Food and its recent growth in areas such as South America, Africa and Asia,” Petrini declared. “Also here in Mexico, leadership must be passed into the hands of the people who we speak about so often, without always giving them the opportunity to make decisions. We must also ensure we develop an approach which is not Eurocentric,” continued the President, who then nominated Alma Rosa Garces from the Villahermosa food community in Tabasco as the new coordinator of the Mexican association.
The second significant news brought by Petrini concerns Terra Madre, the world meeting of food communities that is held in Torino every other year. “Our first edition of Terra Madre brought together farmers from all around the world. The second edition expanded this network by including cooks and university researchers and our next edition in 2008 will diversify further to become the biggest folk festival ever organized with musicians from food communities.” Petrini also announced that “a meeting of young people, universities and farmers from all around the world will be held concurrently with Terra Madre”.