Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Terra Madre 2010 report

Ciao, internet.  We're back from Terra Madre 2010, the fourth edition of Slow Food International’s gathering of food producers, educators, activists, and cooks in Turin, Italy.  We joined over 6,000 delegates from over 150 countries for four days of discussion and networking.
We were inspired by the work of our fellow delegates, from fellow Slow Food chapter leaders to those far removed from our lives.  Standing in line for lunch one day, we spoke with an Israeli couple who grow organic fruit on a kibbutz, a government agronomist from Chad who helps subsistence farmers handle drought and desertification, and an Afghan horticulturist employed by the European Union to analyze local varieties of wheat suited to the different regions of his country.

Our big takeaways were twofold: policy and justice.

By policy, we mean the 2012 farm bill.  We were thrilled to hear from Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel that the national organization, which has been so successful at recognizing local innovators and building networks at the grassroots level, aims to be a major voice in the coming policy debate.  With 200 chapters and tens of thousands of members engaged in local-level efforts to build good, clean, and fair food systems, Slow Food USA is in a perfect position to highlight what works and lift it up to the national level.

And as we heard throughout the week, food justice needs to be central to this conversation.  At a meeting of the full U.S. delegation, Raj Patel reminded us of the Black Panther movement which, recognizing the centrality of food to social justice, pushed for school breakfasts in Oakland as their very first act.

Later, the Fair Food Network’s Oran Hesterman, in a packed workshop, presented a vision of food justice that includes not only equitable access to good, clean food, but also to the means of producing it, including land and water, and to good jobs in the food system.  Linking the issue with the upcoming farm bill, he laid out a menu of specific, achievable strategies that would incorporate both food justice and local food system supports into existing farm bill programs. 

As Slow Food Tufts members and graduate students of food and agriculture policy, we are ready to lend our energy and knowledge to this fight.  Tufts students – if you’d like to stay in the loop, write to to be added to our e-mail list.

-Jesse Appelman and Ronit Ridberg
Co-chairs, Slow Food Tufts

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