Terra Madre Impressions: Carrying Knowledge of Place
As some of you know, a small group of us from the Triangle recently traveled to Turin, Italy for Terra Madre, the International Slow Food Conference. Many of us have returned home from our travels resonating with new ideas, people, foods, and experiences we shared while we were there. To the left is a rather blurry picture of Anna Child, Sabrina Lopez, and I with Carlo Petrini, founder of the International Slow Foods movement. We were all incredibly proud to be able to attend the conference and share the happenings about our Market, our farmers, programs, and community with food producers from Kenya, Estonia, Papa New Guinea, and so on. Food producers, educators, and activist from over 160 countries came together to celebrate local food while taking part in a larger conversation.
The larger conversation started with a very simple message introduced by Carlo Petrini. Petrini very clearly stated that we must find a way to wed traditional knowledge (e.g., respect for the earth, respect for nature, and century old practices), with the academic sciences necessary to transform our food system and environment in the future. In order to do that, we must all work to give voice to those key players in our community who are the custodians of this traditional knowledge. Petrini broke these players into 4 categories: indigenous people, farmers/fisherman, women, and the elderly. According to Petrini, these are the people who carry knowledge of place, environment, and culture in our many societies, but they are also frequently without a voice or under served in politics and media.
I found Petrini’s message very powerful and it set the tone for the remainder of the conference. Many food producers wore their traditional garb, spoke their native tongue, and discussed how food and knowledge is shared in their community, and more importantly, what challenges and opportunities they face. Youth delegates played a major role, explaining what innovative projects they are implementing in their home communities. One delegate, all of 17 years old, successfully created a community garden for under served populations at age 15 and has now expanded his acreage, irrigation, public support, and programming! Increased food access, greater support for farmers, establishing better farm-to-school programs, farmers markets in rural communities, sustainable local fisheries, etc. were just some of the many diverse conversations shared during the conference. My mind is still buzzing from the inspiring and numerous ideas and resources shared.
If you are interested in learning more about the Slow Foods Movement or playing a part in working with farmers and food access, contact our local Slow Food Triangle chapter and get involved! The more energy and support, the merrier.
See you tomorrow at Market,
Reposted from the Carrboro Farmers Market newsletter.