Slow Food’s Sixth International Congress came to a close yesterday at the Lingotto center in Turin, where it had been held simultaneously with the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2012. Over the three days of the congress, the 650 delegates heard 90 presentations from over 50 different countries, from Palestine and Israel, from Somalia and Mali, from China and Brazil, representing the diversity and global reach of the international Slow Food association. In the words of Carlo Petrini, who was re-elected as the association’s president, “The world has spoken to Slow Food and Slow Food has spoken to the world.”
During the final session on Monday morning, the delegates, who had traveled to Turin from 95 different countries, voted to elect the governing bodies of the international association. Changes were made to the Slow Food International Statute. A new body, the Executive Committee, was also created, formed of six people, whose responsibility will be to put into practice the political and strategic choices of the International Council. Attached is the list of names elected to the association’s governing bodies.
Other changes were made to reflect developments over the past few years, which have seen the association’s presence grow exponentially outside its traditional spheres of influence. The International Council, the association’s managing body, will now represent as many countries as possible, instead of its composition being proportional to the number of members in each country. The 45 new councilors come from 30 different countries. “We must represent more broadly the whole global movement,” said Petrini, “including the projects and activities in different countries, not just the membership.”
He spoke of expanding Slow Food’s reach in Africa, most importantly by increasing the number of food gardens being created by the convivia and food communities around the continent. However, he emphasized that Slow Food must keep evolving and adapt itself to these new international contexts. “We must have the capacity to welcome China,” he said, “a country with almost 2 billion people. Woe to us if we can’t interact with the complexity of the Asian world.”
In the coming years, he said, Slow Food must continue to assert itself as a political subject, and work to protect biodiversity around the world. Vital to this task will be the continuing cataloguing of endangered products with projects like the Ark of Taste. “If we don’t make a catalog of what we want to defend, others will destroy it before we can do so,” said Petrini.
In his closing speech, he exhorted the delegates to return to their home countries and “go on doing what you’re doing with joy—a smile brings more passion and conviction than a sad face. The fun starts now, with Slow Food 2.0.”