Cheese presents its international conferences

08 Set 2023 | English


Herders, producers and experts discuss how to face climate change, animal welfare, regeneration of the mountains

Cheese, the largest international event dedicated to raw milk, natural cheeses and artisanal dairy products (Bra, Italy from September 15 to 18), organized by Slow Food and The City of Bra, represents a unique opportunity to discover and taste products from all around the world but also to listen to the stories of italian and international producers and attend conferences and debates with high level speakers.


The Taste of meadows is the common thread of cheese 2023, and even more so of the grand conferences that return in person at the Biodiversity House. There, thanks to the contributions of herders, producers, scientists and experts, visitors have the possibility to deepen various topics such as the climate crisis, animal welfare, landscape conservation and biodiversity.


Here you are a glance of speakers and topics on stage.


On September 15 at 3 pm Francesco Sottile, Slow Food board member and professor of biodiversity and quality in the agrifood system and conservation of traditional rural landscapes at the University of Palermo, will participate in the conference Meadows: why they’re disappearing and how to save them. Sottile, together with other speakers such as Jim Levitt, director of the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN) at the Lincoln Institute, and Bruno Martin, Senior Researcher at the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE). Together, they will stress current challenges caused by depopulation and abandonment, but also demonstrate actions to save these ecosystems and all their plant and animal biodiversity.


On September 16 at 10 am at the African swine fever: who pays the price? conference, Lucian Scumpu, Mayor of Bazna, Romania, Ben Mehedin, Coordinator of the Slow Food Presidium for Bazna pig, Romania, and Dessislava Dimitrova, coordinator of Slow Food in Bulgaria, will be on stage to discuss how they dealt with the African swine fever which affected the Balkans in the past months and what it means for biodiversity and herders.


At 11.30 Oleksandr Shatalov, spokesperson for the Slow Food Community for the revitalization of Hutsul gastronomy and traditional agriculture in Kvasy, Zakarpattia, and founder of the organic farm Rosenthal in Transcarpathia, Ukraine and Miguel Acebes, co-founder of Tularù, a regenerative organic farm, and member of Slow Grains explain how to bring a new regeneration in the mountains and highlands, which are experiencing depopulation and abandonment. Repopulating the mountains is crucial for the environmental balance of the territories and there is a need for a common approach which triggers mechanisms of solidarity, exchange, and hospitality.


At the conference The small-scale under attack on September 16 at 3 pm, Camila Almeida Alves, cheesemaker and director of the Estância Silvania agricultural company, expert in raw milk cheeses in Brazil and Latin America and other protagonists present the challenges they are facing.


Welcome new Cheese Presidia! On September 16 at 5pm representatives of the Austrian Plezzana sheep, the French Bleu de Queyras and Tome de la Brigue, the Italian Cacio di Genazzano and Fodom cheese will be presented as new Slow Food Presidia.


Dry springs, increasingly hot summers, more intense and concentrated rainfall, dry winters, and scarce snowfall. These are all events that herders and farmers are already grappling with today, events that increasingly influence the lives and choices of those working in the area. Alpine pastures are likely the ecosystems most sensitive to the effects of climate change and human pressures. Aud Slettehaug, from the Slow Food Presidia for artisanal geitost from the Sogne Fjord and pultost from the counties of Hedmark and Oppland, Norway, presents challenges and solutions to face current Chronicles of a changing climate , on September 17 at 11,30.


Anton Gazenbee, President of the Agriculture, Biodiversity, and Climate Group, Eurosite, and Elena Karovska Gosevska, Slow Food Macedonia Coordinator speak at September: time of transhumance, on September 17 at 3 pm. Speaking of transhumance means delving into an ancient practice described in literary works and legal texts. It refers to a true civilization that has evolved over centuries of history. But at the same time, it gives a voice to those who continue to practice it today, faithfully preserving a technique that carries incredibly contemporary messages about landscape conservation, pastures, and traditional routes, and the welfare of animals.


During Sustainable farming and sustainable consumption, on September 18 at 11 am, speakers discuss sustainable livestock farming and how consumers can play their part by reducing consumption, avoiding waste, and supporting the work of those who care for the soil, pastureland biodiversity, animals, and the landscape. Among them, Gilles Luneau, filmmaker and journalist, Vincent Pautré, founder of BEEF Take, and Sara Lenzi, from the Entre Nous restaurant in Brussels.


Learning to be a herder. During this conference on September 18 at 3 pm Fernando García-Dory from the Campo Adentro Shepherd´s Schools (Spain), the European Shepherds Network, and Regional Coordinator of the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples presents the profession of the herder, highlighting the need of stimulating a generational turnover and how many schools are being launched all around Europe.


Three film screenings animate the Biodiversity House in the evening. On September 15 at 9 pm the documentary by the italian director Remo Schellino Let’s save permanent meadows takes the public to the origin of the cheese and speaks about the survival of fragile ecosystems, valuable landscapes, the balance established over centuries between plant and animal species, and the work of humans who recognize their value and care for them. . Available in Italian and English

Master of Cheese, on September 16 at 9 pm, tells the story of a great cheesemaker who produces his cheese in a dairy as cozy as a living room. Willi Schmid had the courage to listen to the call of nature and did everything necessary to master his craft. This touching, inspiring, and educational film tells a story of real food, a food that can inspire the world to embark on the urgent change we need. This documentary will be screened in its original language, German, with English subtitles. With the participation of Myriam Zumbühl, producer, writer and director, and of Willi Schmid.


On September 17 at 9 pm Gilles Luneau’s documentary tells, through images and dialogue with a French farmer from Limousin, how an agricultural landscape marked by monoculture can regain a new life by restoring the rural landscape characterized by small woods, natural hedgerows. Available in Italian and French. With the participation of Gilles Luneau, writer, director, journalist


Moreover, everyday The Aperitif on the Grass represents the perfect opportunity to explore the different characteristics of products that originate from pastures and meadows, and to understand their implications for our health.



The Biodiversity House is made possible with the support of Reale Mutua, an official sponsor of Slow Food Italia and a main partner of Cheese 2023


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