The first day of an intense series of conferences at US universities led by Slow Food President Carlo Petrini kicked off yesterday at Tufts and Harvard, Boston’s two most important universities. Petrini’s warm and enthusiastic reception by the establishments’ students and communities demonstrated the commitment among the country’s youth to the philosophies of Slow Food and eagerness to create a better food future.
In the morning, Petrini delivered a lecture to an audience of 200 students, alumni, academics, staff and faculty from the nutrition, public health, medicine, agricultural, environmental and political science departments of Tufts University, a rapidly rising player in US university rankings. Petrini’s lecture was extremely well received, particularly amongst students, who crowded the final book signing. This success demonstrates, as Petrini said, quoting Edgar Morin that “everything must begin again and everything has already begun”. In the US, the movement that strives for a future of good, clean and fair food lives and works in the university curriculum, through a dedicated and growing mass of young people who engage in this philosophy.
In the afternoon, Petrini’s conference at the prestigious Harvard University further underlined this trend, with over 300 students and all the Boston area convivium coordinators attending. They applauded as he called for them to “fly high” in order to “plant utopia and harvest reality”. Many of those attending the conference will be present at the Terra Madre world meeting in Turin (October 21 to 25), demonstrating that the sustainable food movement has never been stronger in the country, with young people ready to commit, if not already active, in good, clean and fair food production and responsible consumption choices – acting as true co-producers.
Particularly important during the day was the presence of the Slow Food convivia active on campus at both universities, both which regularly organize events and food policy programs. Harvard’s Food Literacy Project, in particular, has been active in promoting a multidisciplinary, holistic understanding of food, and also organizes two farmers’ markets on campus.
Petrini’s tour will continue tomorrow with a stop in New York followed by visits to Yale and Princeton universities.
Carlo Petrini at Tufts University