Chiusi spells out the Slow Food political movement’s political program with a view to the 2020 International Congress and the next Terra Madre event in Turin
They are the cornerstone of global food production and they ensure 75% of the world’s food production. Yet they are fragmented, without a union or an organization to represent them, not sought out by politics as active subjects. We are referring to the 500 million people involved in family farming to whom FAO has attributed a key role in the fight against hunger and the protection of the environment, now threatened by the forceful advance of an economic model that, insofar as it tends towards homogenization, puts their very subsistence at risk.
In over 30 years in which it has worked to promote the right to good, clean and fair food and projects designed to consolidate food biodiversity, Slow Food has had the foresightedness to involve some of the world’s most virtuous producers, supporting them with its Presidia, the Ark of Taste, Terra Madre, and its members’ and Chefs’ Alliance networks.
Yet at the crossroads at which we now find ourselves, there is still a lot to do We have little more than ten years to take action against a food system that confuses food products with commodities and forgets the needs of individuals – a system that is leading to the destruction of our genetic and cultural inheritance. This is the pledge undertaken by the more than 90 delegates from 32 countries who have come together in Chiusi over the last few days for the Slow Food International Council, the annual meeting whose job it is to draw up the association’s policies for the future.
“We have to begin by strenuously defending biodiversity, which we are duty-bound to consolidate not for reasons of food fetishism but because it represents communities, millions of women and men and their labor, indeed their whole livelihood. We are on their side with our projects: the Ark of Taste is the most grandiose work of nature, and far from being archaeology, it is a living heritage that expresses the many and various interests of farmers, fishers, , indigenous communities, associations and artisans in local areas. We have to continue to embrace this biodiversity, to get to know it, defend it and recount it to those who feed off it without even knowing what it means. We have to implement political mechanisms to make it become an economic paradigm.” This is how Carlo Petrini, the president of Slow Food, addressed councilors as he opened the way to the 2020 International Congress and the next Terra Madre event.
He added that, “Terra Madre 2020 will determine a great change if it manages to attract the world’s visionaries and ensure that there is not just a single religion based on neoliberalism and never-ending growth, but also attention to an alternative economy that allows the voice of communities, local areas and the common good to be heard. Only in this way can we establish the meeting as an alternative to Davos. The town in Switzerland stands for the neo-liberalist vision, Turin welcomes the idea of a different world, a world capable of growing stronger and changing the paradigms of a destructive political economy that is currently running off with our common goods.”
Petrini went on to conclude that, “Thanks to our new structure, based on openness and sharing through the Slow Food Communities that are being launched all over the world, we now have a great opportunity to reach these people. We have to look to the University of Gastronomic Sciences, which produces 600 future leaders every year, who go on to represent Slow Food in their own countries. Thanks to them we are now able to involve Gen Z youngsters with their commitment to environmental policies. Now we too can try to be a little more digital and a little less analogical, but without allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by the political degeneration dictated by perverse social communication.