The fourth edition of Terra Madre Balkans, to be held from June 2 to 5 in Tirana, Albania, will be attended by Edmond Panariti, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration; Milva Ekonomi, Minister of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship; Mirela Kumbaro, Minister of Culture; Brunilda Paskali, Deputy Mayor of Tirana; Alberto Cutillo, Italian ambassador; Yngve Engstrom – EU Delegation to Albania and Carlo Petrini, Slow Food President.
The Terra Madre Balkans event is organized by VIS Albania with the support of Slow Food, in partnership with the Albanian Ministry for Agriculture, Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship, the Municipality of Tirana and the Italian Agency for International Cooperation.
The event brings together 350 delegates from 12 countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, The Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Italy and Albania).
As an essential part of the event, the central Mother Teresa Square is hosting an Earth Market, where over 50 booths give visitors the chance to discover a wide selection of products from Terra Madre food communities, Slow Food Presidia, and the Ark of Taste, Slow Food’s catalog of the world’s food biodiversity.
Slow Food Presidia and representatives from more than 50 Terra Madre food communities are participating in the market from different countries:
- Albania is represented by the Mishavin Presidium – a cheese produced by 17 families in the Kelmend region in the north – and the Përmet Gliko Presidium, a preserve made from many different fruits and vegetables grown in the upper valley of the Vjosa River, in the south. Among Albanian Terra Madre food communities there are the Elbasan Olive Oil Producers, Kallmet Wine Growers and Lepushe Producers. Chefs from the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance network in Albania are also taking part in the event.
- From Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Pozegaca Plum Slatko Presidium – which safeguards the production of the traditional slatko, preserves produced from the indigenous Pozegaca plum variety – and two Terra Madre food communities: the Trebinje Poljak Bean Growers and Popovo Polje Maize Producers.
- From Bulgaria, four Presidia are attending the event: the Tcherni Vit Green Cheese, Karakachan Sheep, Smilyan Beans and Meurche, an exceptional cured meat encased in a pig’s bladder and preserved under ashes. Also, farmers of East Balkan Pig are participating.
- From Croatia, the Ljubitovica Sarac Garlic and the new Presidium of Varenik from the Pelješac peninsula, which has long been the center of Dalmatian viticulture. Dubrovnik Bitter Orange Marmalade Producers, along with a young chef and a pastry chef are presenting the traditional gastronomy of Dubrovnik to the public.
- The Republic of Macedonia is represented by five of its traditional products: Mavrovo Reka Mountain Pasture Cheeses, Macedonian Honeybee, Wild Fig Slatko, Stanushina Grape and Bukovo Red Peppers, whose Presidium was started to help the producers to select their seeds and maintain the purity of this variety of peppers. Also participating in the event, is the Learning community of Lazar Tanev Secondary School in Skopje, involved in an educational program on nutrition and taste.
- From Romania, two Presidia are bringing the traditions of local communities in Transylvania through the Bazna Pig and Saxon Village Preserves. Sweet Red Onions Producers from the Aries Valley and representatives from Brusturoasa and Palanca Learning Community and the Dr Ion Ratiu Nursery Educational Program in Turda are attending Terra Madre Balkans.
- From Serbia there are some producers of Gledić Crvena Ranka Plum Rakija, a type of brandy made in the heart of Šumadija, a region which has long been known for the quality of its plums. There are also two Terra Madre food communities: Futog Cabbage Producers and Leskovac Ajvar Producers. Among the products presented: the Ajvar from Dimitrovgrad, wine and brandy from Rajac, various types of flour, goat and cow cheeses, meat products and honey.
- Turkey is represented by the Boğatepe Gravyer Presidium, one of the few Kars gravyer cheeses still produced in the mountain pastures, using exclusively raw milk. Producers from the Foça Earth Market and Istanbul’s Historical Yedikule Gardens, together with activist from the Slow Olive campaign are also present.
The program for Terra Madre Balkans 2016 also includes tastings, concerts, workshops and conferences.
Some of the subjects of discussion are for instance:
- “The Fight Against World Hunger” – Thomas Pogge, professor at Yale University and the leading world expert on world poverty and human rights, presents a reflection on poverty reduction and the role of food.
- “Accessing Markets, Accessing Opportunities” – to explore the opportunities and constraints in accessing markets for small-scale farmers in the Balkans, both in EU states, as well in candidate countries in process of harmonizing with the acquis communautaire.
- “Farmers first!”, International Scientific Conference – to build a wide network of academicians and research institutes on food biodiversity and conservation of plant genetic resources; on financial and non-financial barriers preventing small‐scale artisan food producers from accessing markets.
- “Sustainable rural tourism, agritourism and the multifunctional agriculture approach” – to highlight some of the best experiences that have emerged so far, as well as new ways to help rural tourism boost local development; and to explore the contribution of traditional food production toward social, economic, and environmental sustainability in what is today defined as multifunctional agriculture.
- For the complete event and conference program, please visit: http://www.essedra.com/biodiversity/terra-madre-balkans/
The event is organized in the framework of the ESSEDRA project, co-funded by the European Union with the aim of supporting the integration process of the Balkan countries and Turkey into Europe through a strengthening of civil society and its capacity to influence policies and promote sustainable models of rural development.
After three editions in Sofia (2010, 2012) and Dubrovnik (2014), the Terra Madre Balkans network chose Tirana for this fourth meeting. Terra Madre Balkans is the first network of its kind to unite food communities from several countries of the same region. Slow Food and Terra Madre formed a deep-rooted network in the region with thousands of supporters, 24 Slow Food Presidia, 100 food communities, 50 chefs, 15 educational programs on nutrition and taste in schools and over 280 Balkan products listed in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste catalog.