Food and Health: 10 things you can learn at Terra Madre to improve your well-being and that of the planet, starting with food

01 Sep 2022 | English

At Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2022, a space created in collaboration with Reale Mutua to discuss the relationship between food and health with professionals and experts

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A healthy diet and an active lifestyle are great starts to guarantee a long and healthy life, but these two things are not enough. In fact, our daily food choices depend on our well-being and that of the planet. These are the principles upon which the path launched in 2018 by Slow Food is based and which, after the publication of the position paper “Our food, our health: nourishing biodiversity to heal ourselves and the planet”   , will be well represented in the Food and Health space , at Parco Dora, Turin, from September 22 to 26 on the occasion of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto.

Following the Slow Food philosophy, committed to ensuring that everyone has access to good, clean, and fair food, health is one of the key values. Here we suggest 10 related events (plus one extra) not to be missed. The full program is available at this link.

  1. The importance of biodiversity for environmental and human health

Human and environmental health go hand in hand: the protection of biodiversity, at every level, is closely linked to the balance of ecosystems, supporting the life of all organisms that inhabit them. It also contributes to enriching our microbiomes and influencing our health. Delving into this relationship is the forum Invisible Biodiversity on Thursday, Sept. 22. We will then talk about the importance of taking care of the environment on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 12:30 p.m. during The Health of Ecosystems, a Common Good to Preserve, On Friday, Sept. 23 at 11 a.m. we’ll address the topic of regenerating our microbiomes through home fermentation in the company of Carlo Nesler, one of Italy’s leading experts on alternative food fermentations, during the event The World of Fermentation.

  1. Sports nutrition

An active lifestyle is essential to good health. For high-level athletic activity, however, nutrition requires additional attention. Bringing in all the necessary nutrients is crucial for successful athletic performance, but how can we combine these needs with the Slow Food philosophy? Chiara Bertino, a doctor of clinical sports nutrition, discusses this along with volleyball, basketball, and water polo players, supported by Reale Mutua on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 4 p.m. during the event From the (sports) field to Fork

  1. On the toddlers’ plate: tools for use.

We know that proper nutrition is important from an early age. This is even more crucial in the first thousand days of a child’s life because they experience their greatest period of development and, at the same time, of greatest vulnerability. And after this period, what should happen? The forums Nutrition in The First Thousand Days on Friday, September 23 at 4 p.m. The event Getting children to the table  on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 4:30 p.m., curated by Comitans Foundation and Giovani Genitori, offer more tools for parents and families to find answers to these questions about how to choose healthy, appropriate and diverse nutrition for their children more consciously.

  1. Seeds and health

In the relationship between food and health, the role of seeds may not be very obvious. Yet, come to think of it, they are both the starting and ending point of what we eat. Those who maintain them are in some way guardians of biodiversity itself. How so? Salvatore Ceccarelli, former professor of Genetic Resources and later of Genetic Improvement at University of Perugia’s Faculty of Agriculture, and Stefania Grando, an agronomist and geneticist with decades of experience in development research in Africa and Asia, talk about this at Planting the future  on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m.

  1. Food environments, or: tell me where you live and I will tell you how you will eat

The seeds of a healthy lifestyle, of good eating habits, of mental well-being, takes root where the environment is favorable, in other words, where there are appropriate spaces. Creating healthy food environments, regenerating and fostering the dissemination of farmers’ markets, urban gardens and shared kitchens, public, and social canteens, means multiplying interactions, reconnecting people, and shortening physical and cognitive distances between nature and cities. The crucial importance of these environments is discussed in the meeting How to improve public health on Friday, September 23 at 2 p.m. and in the forum Giving Space to Health on Saturday, September 24 at 6 p.m., where Slow Food communities will be interacting with each other.

  1. The virtues of good, clean and fair food

So-called super foods and dietary supplements are a growing market. But more and more scientific evidence shows that food produced in harmony with the territories, according to the rhythm of the seasons and artisanal processing by skilled hands, in addition to having positive effects on the environment, also have added value in nutritional terms. This will be discussed on Saturday 24 at 3 p.m. in the forum Good Clean Fair…and Healthy! and in events such as A good cheese starts from grass on Saturday 24 at 11 a.m. and Salumi: naturally on Friday 22 at 2 p.m.

  1. The need for protein transition

Protein transition is an increasingly studied and debated topic, with different views and opinions depending on the contexts. It ranges from greenhouse gas emissions to overfishing, from insect farming to plant-based alternatives, recognizing the key role legumes can play as an integral part of a healthy, low-impact diet. Providing clarity are experts, producers, farmers, and activists who share their experiences during the meeting Where do I get my protein? Discussing the protein transition at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.

  1. Wild plants, a wonderful world

In the increasingly growing and monotonous food landscape dominated by a few varieties of cultivated fruits and vegetables, foraging represents an unparalleled opportunity to amplify our knowledge of the world around us and reconnect with it. Learning to recognize and harvest what nature offers spontaneously is both a privilege and a responsibility. There are two meetings to approach this wonderful world, straddling fashion and tradition, in the right way: the event on Sunday, September 25, at 2 p.m. with Seasonal cooking, from Herbs to flowers in the company of Meret Bissegger, gatherer cook of the Swiss Slow Food delegation, while at 6 p.m. on the same day, you can hear about national and international experiences and testimonies, from Tajikistan to Colombia, during The Marvelous World of Wild Herbs.

  1. What if we gave up meat every Monday?

How much healthier could we become and how much healthier could the planet become through a small, simple action like giving up meat every Monday? In the U.S., to enhance and promote this behavior, the Meatless Monday campaign has been launched, urging people to reduce meat consumption in favor of healthier alternatives, such as legumes. This is discussed in more detail on Meatless Mondays: for a Healthier Diet on Monday, September 26 at 11 a.m.

  1. Fifty shades of corn

Corn is a plant with high strategic and political value, but before being used to feed farm animals, sweeten refined products, and make compostable polymers, it is first and foremost food – the basis of many people’s traditional diet. Thanks to the Slow Mays network, you can learn about the many varieties of corn and their attributes on Monday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Fifty Shades of Corn forum.

And more… 

Through the Foodnected project and with the free exhibition which will accompany the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto visitors, the associations and NGOs Slow Food, Global Footprint Network, Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE), GOB Menorca, MSJA, Yolda, Alliance for Mediterranean Nature & Culture, and CZIP are promoting a transition toward sustainable and equitable food systems in both Europe and the Mediterranean region. The exhibition will aim to understand our Ecological Food footprint

The full program is available here

Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is organized by Slow Food, Piedmont Region and City of Turin, with the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Forestry, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Anci. The event has been made possible by the support of companies who believe in the values and objectives of the event, including Main Partners: Iren, Lavazza, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pastificio di Martino, QBA – Quality Beer Academy, Reale Mutua and UniCreditFondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione CRT, Consulta delle Fondazioni di origine bancaria del Piemonte e della Liguria.

Terra Madre Salone del Gusto Press Office

Slow Food

Alessia Pautasso – [email protected] (+39) 342 8641029

Paola Nano – [email protected] (+39) 329 8321285

Piedmont Region

Donatella Actis – [email protected] (+39) 335 7586327

City of Turin

Luisa Cicero –  [email protected] (+39) 346 2356935

Slow Food is a worldwide network of local communities founded in 1989 in order to counteract the disappearance of local food traditions and the spread of fast food culture. Since then, Slow Food has grown to become a global movement that involves millions of people in more than 160 countries and works so that we can all have access to good, clean and fair food.

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