“The message of this global gathering is crucial: The solutions to the multiple crises we face already exist. We have seen, heard and exchanged them over the last few days with the hundreds of farmers, cooks, food producers, activists and experts who came together in Turin,” commented Edward Mukiibi, newly elected President of Slow Food International.
The theme of the event, held from September 22 to 26 in Parco Dora, Turin, was RegenerAction, a play on words capturing the need to take action to regenerate our food systems. “Local communities who thrive on the production of good, clean and fair food are assert the resilience of their biodiverse crops and breeds to climate change and their ability to foster social justice—in other words, the possibility of ensuring an enjoyable future for the next generations,” continued Mukiibi. “As a global food movement we leave Turin with renewed strength and determination. As President of Slow Food, I am very proud of this.”
This 14th edition of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, the global gathering of the Slow Food network and the world’s largest event dedicated to sustainable food and food politics, showcased how food can be a bridge to peace, demonstrating how through inclusion and dialogue we can cultivate a better future together. Over 3,000 representatives of the Slow Food network from 130 countries came together to share their experiences and come up with solutions to take back home, further strengthening the meaning of belonging that defines the Slow Food network. They also inspired over 350,000 visits to the event over the course of five days and offered practical suggestions to encourage everyone to make an impact on the food system through their own actions, as outlined in the RegenerAction toolkit.
“Terra Madre shows the power of coming together as a global network. As an Indigenous Nahua woman, elevating the voices and invisible struggles of Indigenous Peoples is crucial to achieve food sustainability and justice,” added Dali Nolasco Cruz, Slow Food board member. “Providing the tools to empower farming communities and connect them to consumers is pivotal to sustainable food systems. Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) and the blockchain, for example, are game changers. A PGS is based on the active participation of stakeholders and built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange. The blockchain is a traceability system that makes it possible to securely record every step along the production process. PGS and the blockchain combine the best of relationships of trust with innovative technology at the service of local communities and people, not multinationals. At Terra Madre, farmers testified how being part of a community and benefitting from tools like the PGS has changed their lives, allowing them to gain leverage and new possibilities. These new possibilities translate into better livelihoods for local communities and families.”
Nina Wolff, Slow Food board member and president of Slow Food Germany, said: “While the UN General Assembly discusses the main challenges the world is facing, Slow Food asks institutions and decision makers to listen to our voice: The solutions for humanity will not come from the top down, but from strengthening networks of local communities and supporting their knowledge, experience and capacity to innovate. At Terra Madre, we brought together practitioners and EU decision makers, putting the expertise of farmers and veterinarians, as gathered in Slow Food’s position paper on animal welfare, under the spotlight. As a result, their experience will be taken into account as the European Commission drafts a regulation on animal welfare. This is just one example of the impact that our advocacy work can have,” she concluded.
“We need radical change and action, not lip service,” warned Jorrit Kiewik, Slow Food Youth Network director and Slow Food board member. “We can take action every day, in whichever context we’re in. We vote with our forks daily, but we must also change our food environments: Voting with your fork is close to impossible if you live in a food desert, but we all have the ability and the duty to take action. That is why we’re taking to the streets with Fridays for Future and forming wider alliances. Raising awareness and empowering people to take action is crucial. Whether it’s about learning to use leftovers in delicious recipes or signing a petition to stop GMOs, these individual actions go a long way.”