October 24, 2004

Terra Madre Five thousand food producers from 120 countries and five continents--eco-farmers, fishermen, shepherds, cheesemakers, traders and distributors---have convened in Turin, Italy for four days as part of Slow Food's biodiversity forum Terra Madre: A World Meeting of Food Communities. The first international conference on protecting food product diversity will be focused on solutions for sustainable agro-food production techniques and systems that are friendly to the environment, protect the health of consumers and defend world heritage of agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions. The event is held at the same time as the bi-annual Slow Food Salone de Gusto, perhaps the world’s largest showcase of agricultural and food products. Roughly 500 of the attendees are from the United States. Several of them from the Bay Area including Eatwell Farms, Frog Hollow Farms, Tierra Vegetables, and Marquita Farms. In Slow Food founder, Carlo Petrini's opening speech on Wednesday he stated, "believe that never as in this moment in time have consumers shared a common destiny. The safeguarding of our food heritage is a mutual obligation and as such can only be achieved by new ways of sharing. Only if consumers become co-producers and fully grasp the fact that production is being threatened, and only if producers assume the burden of quality, ensuring food safety, sustainability, pleasure and human rights, can we leave this difficult moment behind us." I've been a member of Slow Food for several years. While I embrace the philosophy of the organization I have been a bit disappointed in their events...


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