From October 25-29, around 250 leaders of the U.S. food movement will gather in Turin, Italy at Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, one of the world’s most important events dedicated to diverse food cultures, sustainability and biodiversity, which is held biannually. This year’s delegation—a group of individuals appointed by regional selection committees to represent the food and farming issues of their communities—will provide the largest and most diverse selection of American producers, chefs and food advocates in attendance in Slow Food history: members from 50 farming communities spanning all sectors of the food movement from labor to production to students will participate in the extraordinary event.
The U.S. presence will be highlighted through a range of stands displaying American Slow Food Presidia and Ark of Taste products that will be available for tasting or purchase, conferences and Taste Workshops. 103 U.S. delegates from all walks of life will also participate in the Slow Food Congress, a crucial meeting of Slow Food and Terra Madre leaders worldwide that happens every five years where management bodies are elected and decisions are made regarding Slow Food’s worldwide strategies for developing the association, the Terra Madre network and projects to defend biodiversity. The U.S. is in fact one of the countries where Slow Food has an extensive network of devoted volunteers and supporters: a global movement that brings together 100,000 members united in 1,300 local chapters across 150 countries. To learn more about one of this year’s delegates, be sure to check out the interview with Jim Embry, founder of the Sustainable Communities Network in Lexington.
Slow Food USA will have a large stand in the Marketplace space that will act as a meeting place for U.S. delegates, and a space for the presentation of U.S. Ark of Taste and Presidia products. At the gathering, Slow Food USA will outline its action plan for the next few years and the promotion of two essential aims: the importance of preserving biodiversity and diverse food cultures, and making the food system more equitable.
Three Slow Food Presidia will be represented in the U.S. space: The Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple, The Navajo-Churro Sheep and the Anishinaabeg Manoomin Rice.
A producer of the Navajo-Churro sheep Presidium, Carrie House, will also be participating in the conference Too Much At Steak on October 25 to promote more conscious consumption of meat. Read the story of the Navajo-Churro Sheep here.
The Greenville Earth Market, the first North American Earth Market, founded in May 2011, will also part of the U.S. exhibition space. Finally, another stand will be devoted to American sweet and savory produce: Chicago’s Mama’s Nuts and Scrumptious Pantry will be selling their specialties to Salone del Gusto attendees looking for a quick snack.
This year, the Southeastern African-American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON), a network of farmers using sustainable growing methods, will have its own stand for the first time. SAAFON co-founder and project coordinator Cynthia Hayes will be on hand to talk about the network’s ongoing projects, its partnership with the Thousand Gardens in Africa campaign, and its role in engaging local youth and farming communities in southeastern America. Further information about SAAFON’s important work will be available at the New Models of Production and Consumption conference at Salone del Gusto on October 27.
The Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre event also serves another vital purpose: it provides a space for the exchange of information, experiences and expert knowledge for all aspects of the food sector. U.S. chef, activist and vice president of Slow Food International Alice Waters will tackle the pressing issue of Edible Education for today’s youth in a conference at Salone del Gusto. America’s voice will also be represented in other conferences regarding key Slow Food projects. For example, Michael Dimock, president of food system advocacy group Roots of Change, will participate in the Enforcing the Right to Food: How? conference on October 26, and two marine affairs experts, Seth Macinko and Brett Tolley, will speak at the Guardians of the Oceans conference.
Several appointments will be devoted to the international beer scene, where the U.S. will be featured heavily. On October 26, the From East to West, North to South…Beers on the Road! Taste Workshop will look at the development of America’s booming microbrewery industry. With 2,000 microbreweries already established and 900 more slated to open, the growth and demand of artisanal beers is directly linked to the diversity of flavors, styles and food pairings. Charlie Papazian, president of the American Brewers Association, will present six choice microbrews from six American states for the audience to discover.
To find out more about the U.S. delegates, please click here.