As part of Terra Madre 2020, students on the Master of Food and Food Cultures course at the University of Paris-Sorbonne invited Bastien Beaufort, Co-president of Slow Food Paris and Deputy Director of Guayapi to take part in one of their weekly seminar sessions on October 15.
The seminar opened with an exchange among students on their definition of local consumption. How to define it? Is it simply a radius drawn in the sand of a certain number of kilometers? Or is it an act of ecological advocacy? Is it supporting farmers by buying from them directly or avoiding corporate middle-men? Is it consuming seasonal produce? The answers are diverse and complex.
MORE THAN JUST EATING LOCAL
Bastien Beaufort reminded students that simply because food travels a short distance between farm and fork, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good, clean or fair. Indeed, it is not only a question of consuming locally-produced foods or foods we make ourselves at home. A holistic approach to food means taking an active interest in shorter value chains and direct channels of exchange between producers and consumers, considering seasonality, and giving preference to products that are made with the philosophy of Good, Clean and Fair in mind.
In the second part, Bastien presented his thesis on the globalization of plants, with a particular focus on the Amazon. While the world’s largest rainforest is often considered a wilderness, it’s actually been the cradle of domestication for many of the plants present in our daily lives on a global scale, such as tobacco and cacao.