After 205 Days and 1160 Meetings and Activities
An extraordinary edition that has created a cultural heritage, a clear vision of the new paradigms that represents the real ecological transition
The curtain has just gone down on the 13th edition of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, the international event organized by Slow Food, the City of Turin and the Piedmont Regional Authority, which refused to give in to Covid-19 and, showing a great spirit of resilience, revolutionized its format. The event thus became prevalently digital, staging 205 days of meetings and activities, organized by the Slow Food network and its partners in 75 countries, and reaching a total of more than 10 million digital profiles in 202 countries.
“Faced with the economic, social and health crisis caused by the pandemic we were at pains to focus attention on the causes that sparked it off,” declared Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food. “Namely agricultural biodiversity compromised by human behavior, the climate crisis that is threatening ecosystems, and the unfairness of the food production and distribution model. All problems we were familiar with long before the pandemic, but which the dominant development either ignores or refuses to address. In this situation, we have decided to shine the spotlight on solutions, small but revolutionary for their effectiveness at local level, that are already in the hands of the communities of farmers, fishers, artisans and cooks, but also of the individual citizens who with their mindful choices are working for change every day. For some time now we have argued the need for a paradigm shift and we haven’t been the only ones either. Over the last seven months, in fact, Terra Madre has allowed us to listen to the voices of scholars, academics, philosophers, scientists and economists together with those of the farmers, artisans, shepherds, fishers and educators who form the backbone of the Terra Madre and Slow Food network in every corner of the planet. What this edition of the event has delivered after thousands of hours of activities in all five continents is a clear vision of these new paradigms that represents the real ecological transition that has been called for from various quarters and can no longer be delayed.”
As Alberto Cirio, president of the Piedmont Regional Authority, put it, “The great success of this edition is proof of the extraordinary power of the community created by Slow Food over the years of which Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, Italy and Piedmont are the throbbing heart”. And as Chiara Appendino, the Mayor of Turin, pointed out, “It is necessary to stress how the chosen format has made it possible to transform the limits imposed by Covid19 into opportunities and to broaden the horizons of the event.”
Though no virtual event will ever replace the sense of fraternity and strength of the multitude who meet in Turin every two years, over the last few months for every Slow Food community, for every member and every activist, for every individual enthusiast – everywhere in the world whatever their language – Terra Madre has proved the ideal format.
According to an initial estimate, of the event’s more than 1,160 meetings and activities, organized in 75 countries – from Azerbaijan to Brazil, from the Philippines to the island of Antigua – an average of six were hosted and promoted by the www.terramadresalonedelgusto.com platform every day, reaching more than 10 million digital profiles all over the world. More specifically, the meetings and activities streamed on the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto platform and social media received a total of more than 1,300,000 views with an audience spread over 202 countries, while those organized directly by the Slow Food network around the world involved 250,000 participants. It is worth noting the figures for the 97 training activities and meetings requiring participation by prior registration: a total of 10,300 people registered for them and more than 1 million users followed them on the social media. Moreover, upwards of 150 initiatives were organised by indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and 3,300 young people all over the world took part in the month-long challenge organized on Instagram in collaboration with the activists of the Slow Food Youth Network to promote good, clean and fair food. Another significant figure emerged from one of the first statistical surveys carried out as the event drew to a close: it showed, in fact, that more than 45% of those who actively participated in Terra Madre Salone del Gusto activities had never previously been involved with Slow Food. We will be able to meet all these people—a solid interlocutor base that will act as a springboard in the challenges ahead—in the flesh for the first time at Terra Madre 2022.
Conferences, training meetings and forums, as well as more innovative, successful formats such as Food Talks and “How Is It Done?” demonstrations, represent a unique heritage of knowledge, a veritable “library of the good, clean and fair,” available to all those still keen to know, learn.
Dipping into this extraordinary online library, accessible free of charge to all, we wish to mention some of the many names that have accompanied us on this long journey: Franco Farinelli, Virginie Raisson and Paul Collier, with whom we opened the event on October 8 on the theme of new geographies for interpreting the world; Jonathan Franzen, who confirmed the thesis whereby, unlike that against the climate crisis, the battle to save biodiversity is within everyone’s reach; Heribert Hirt and David Quammen, who spoke on the relationships between food and health and between biodiversity loss and zoonoses; Elena Granata, whose presentation of a model for the city of the future, based on resilience rather than productive monoculture, was echoed by Carolyn Steel, according to whom the imperative is to reconnect cities with the surrounding countryside; Sunita Narain, who reminded us of the tragedy of the social injustices caused by the climate crisis; Célia Xakriabá, who expressed her point of view as a young indigenous woman about the role of food, the biodiversity of knowledge and cultures, and the right to land; Paul Ariès and Eric Schlosser, who spoke about the food of the future and the (non) solutions proposed by technology; and Alice Waters, who explained the role of taste education for young children (and in schools) in changing the food system”,
As always, Terra Madre 2020 combined major themes with the stories of its 630 exhibitors and their promotion—particularly important at this dramatic moment in time for them—through the marketplace and e-commerce, but also by the numerous chefs and producers who present our “How You Do It?” demonstrations worldwide.
The results of surveys completed by attendees at Terra Madre online events show that participants came from a much wider geographic spread of countries than a similar survey undertaken at the Terra Madre 2018. This is a strong indicator that the Terra Madre online edition has been more successful in engaging a global audience. In a nutshell: more than 99% of respondents found the event interesting, 90% responded they learnt something new, 88% said they intend to take action as a result of what they learnt. Thereby, there is a close correlation between the level of new learning and the intention to take action and make a change.
For more information:
Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2020 Press Office
Slow Food: [email protected] – Paola Nano (+39 329 8321285)
City of Turin: [email protected] – Luisa Cicero (+39 011 01121932)
Piedmont Region: [email protected] – Donatella Actis (+39 011 4322549)
All this was made possible thanks, above all, to the faith of all those who believed in Slow Food and a project that was anything but a mere foregone conclusion. Special thanks therefore to the institutions that have been partners of the event right from the very first edition, the City of Turin and the Piedmont Regional Authority, to the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, and to the Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea Protection, which have granted us their support, and to all the many other partners who have supported this edition. We wish to extend a special thanks to our Platinum Partners: Pastificio Di Martino, Unicredit, Lavazza, Acqua S.Bernardo and Quality Beer Academy; our Gold Partners: Agugiaro&Figna, Astoria and BBBell; and our Silver Partners: Compagnia dei Caraibi, Cuki, Parmigiano Reggiano and Reale Mutua. Last but not least, many thanks for their support also to the Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino, the Association of Bank Foundations of Piedmont and the Turin Chamber of Commerce, the International Fund for Economic Development (IFAD), Tamalpais Trust and the European Union.