The seventh Salone del Gusto was officially presented at the Teatro Piccolo Regio in Turin on Wednesday. Speeches were made by Sergio Chiamparino, mayor of Turin, Mercedes Bresso, president of the Piedmont Regional Authority and Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food International.
Sergio Chiamparino said he was proud to host Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre once again. ‘If I had to associate an image with these two events it would be that of a colourful and happy crowd of people. Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre catalyze attention around important issues such as the relationship between quality and food production. Over the days of these two events, Turin becomes a place where strategies are developed so that environment, the optimization of the earth and economic challenges can live side by side in harmony. In conclusion, I warmly encourage the people of Turin to welcome to their homes the delegates of the food communities, as they did at the last Terra Madre event two years ago.’
Mercedes Bresso added that, ‘Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre 2008 will be a world meeting for “alternative globalization”, its aim being to protect and optimize crop varieties and animal breeds, in opposition to the homologation of food and the forms of indiscriminate exploitation that are created by food production in the poorest countries in the world. Since 1996 the Salone has promoted food quality, receiving full support from the various institutions, particularly the Piedmont Regional Authority, which has worked a great deal on the control and protection of agrifood products. It is nice to remember how the Mother Earth of Piedmont — by which I mean a soil and a terroir rich not only in fruit but, above all, great ideas — has given birth to Terra Madre.
Carlo Petrini was the last to speak: ‘Over the last twenty years, Slow Food has developed the concept of neo-gastronomy, in which pleasure is not just a pretext but a basic ingredient, provided it helps respect for the environment and social justice. For food production is a question that needs to be addressed on a planetary scale. The top item on the agenda at Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2008 will be the provision of the right motivations and rewards to persuade young people to return to the land. In Italy farmers make up 3% of the working population and the majority of them are elderly. It is necessary for the number of people who work the land to increase and this can only happen with the contribution of young people. Farmers and peasants are the true guardians of our planet, conservers of biodiversity and traditional wisdom. To relocalize food production is to combine economic value with a sustainable model for agriculture. This isn’t a utopia, but a truly winning idea, the most modern in the world. Since we are aware of the need to regenerate agriculture through young people, thousand of students and young farmers and will come to Terra Madre. We need to exploit their creativity and the support of the university system, which needs to elaborate new economic, political and cultural strategies. Terra Madre is a mighty karstic river that surfaces in Turin every two years to give a heft dose of self-esteem and ideas to farmers who, in turn, take them back to their homes in 154 countries around the world.’
The meeting was introduced by Roberto Burdese, president of Slow Food Italy: ‘This seventh Salone del Gusto will be the biggest and most important to date. Suffice it to think that the exhibition area will occupy 60,747 sq m, 15% more than in 2006. Above all, I’d like to point out that Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre will the first international exhibition to apply a systematic approach to progressively reduce its own impact on the environment. Our basic aim is to decrease energy use, gas emissions and waste at both events. CO2 emissions will be compensated for, but only after we have done our utmost to reduce them. By adopting this approach we are creating an exportable, low-environmental-impact, Piedmontese event model.’