Carlo Petrini, founder and president of the Slow Food organization will hold a series of talks on the future of food and the significance of biodiversity on a tour of several prestigious New England universities in October.
The same subject is also the focus of his latest book, Terra Madre – Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities, published in the US by Chelsea Green.
Petrini’s visit will include the following dates:
Oct 6, 12pm Tufts University – Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Oct 6, 4.30pm Harvard University
Oct 8 Yale University and the Yale Sustainable Food Project
Oct 10 Princeton University
In the book, a conceptual follow-up to his Slow Food Nation (2005), Petrini takes a fresh look at his theories in the light of the ongoing global crisis and the dominant school of thought and development model that are its prime cause. This model has failed and is incapable of coming up with innovative solutions outside the global system it has created.
The starting point for these reflections is Terra Madre, the global network of food communities founded by Slow Food. The network is made up of thousands of fishermen, farmers, small-scale livestock breeders, but also chefs, academics and young food activists from over 153 countries who come together every two years in Turin (Italy), all of them involved every day in food communities in their home countries. This loose coalition of small-scale food producers is a new entity in the global panorama, and is poised to become one of the largest alliances at the service of the planet.
Food communities have a central role to play in creating a constructive dialogue between those who produce and those who eat, thus rebalancing the relationship between humankind and the Earth. This role is fundamental if we are to attribute the right value to food. Petrini asks us to regain sovereignty over our food system through active participation in food communities, which are a significant force in the revival of local economies. Food sovereignty must be rebuilt through an alliance between food producers capable of operating outside the prevailing school of thought and of working in a sustainable manner in harmony with nature and consumers
Universities and research centers play a pivotal role in the effort to maintain and strengthen a sustainable food production in collaboration with food communities. Through promotional and educational activities, event organization and exchanges, they can support small-scale socially and ecologically sustainable quality food production and defend the right to self-determination in the food sector, as well as actively participating in the education of the civil society and the training of agro-food sector professionals.
The young generation has gained an ever greater importance in the Terra Madre network. Young farmers, cooks, artisans, activists and students committed to changing the food system from an exploitative, unsustainable and unhealthy one to a situation where quality, diverse, sustainable food is within reach of all. Terra Madre 2008 saw over 1000 young farmers, chefs, students and activists from more than 65 countries coming together in Turin.