Terra Madre 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Terra Madre 2006The fourth day of Terra Madre began with a discussion over market access, with a focus on the challenges faced by small producers and developing countries in bringing goods to the international market. A panel was held covering "Responsible Tourism" and the ramifications of promoting tourism in ecologically challenged areas. Also, two different resource groups dealt with two major environmental challenges faced today: GMOs and access to water. The first acknowleged that the line has blurred between what is GMO and what is not, making it critcal that seeds are properly sourced and certified. The second group discussed the dwindling supply of fresh water, and the importance of conserving and maximizing access to it throughout the world.

Terra Madre 2006The day ended with a meeting of representatives from areas in conflict from around the world called "Food is Peace." The discussion was led by Phil Rees, a British journalist who has reported on numerous conflicts around the globe. Speakers included Kamal Mouzawak from Lebanon; David Homer of Kitchens without Borders; Nasir Mohammad, head of the community of raisin producers in Herat, Afghanistan; Moira Rahimjanova from Tajikistan and representatives from Rwanda, Senegal and the indigenous peoples of Colombia. Each shared experiences living in war zones and how the destruction led to hunger and the loss of food traditions. Stories from Lebanon and Afghanistan of unexploded ordnance and landmines further served as a reminder that the effects of war last long beyond the actual conflict.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Terra Madre 2006The third day of the Terra Madre conference began with a large meeting of the American delegation, featuring writers, chefs and academics from all over the U.S. The group discussed the risks and rewards of promoting local, sustainable production.

Speakers described efforts to work together with small farms and return to the roots of American agriculture. A representative of the country's indigenous peoples discussed the particular challenges of that group, while the director of the University of New Hampshire's Sustainability Program introduced the country's only university department dedicated to sustainability.

Terra Madre 2006The viability of worldwide sustainable production on an expanded scale was discussed in an afternoon session, as was the importance of spreading the systems of origin common in Europe (DOC) to the rest of the world as more and more people demand sustainability and traceability in their products. Another session looked at the relation between culture and cuisine, and how communication and art plays a role in the development of food. Speakers agreed that it was important to remain true to tradition even as modern recipes are developed. A strategy session was also held that dealt with the ever-growing use of technology in food production. While it was agreed that largescale agriculture production robs food of nutrition and is detrimental to the environment, the speakers agreed that certain techniques can be used to improve artisanal food production.

Lastly, Alternative Energy and Agriculture looked at three examples of how agricultural production can be retooled to lessen energy dependence and even generate electricity.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Terra Madre 2006The Terra Madre conference is broken into two parts: regional meetings and panel discussions. Regional meetings held on October 27 included Brazil, Ireland, Canada, the Basque countries, Central America and Mexico, Africa, and the Middle East. In addition, Slow Food holds the Salone del Gusto, a large food show open to the public that attracted over 58,000 people in the first two days.

Terra Madre 2006At Terra Madre, the Middle East discussion was led by Kamal Mouzawak, who spoke about the challenges facing the region given political and religious differences. The meeting was attended by delegates from Lebanon, Syria, Oman, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Israel. Israeli chef Moshe Basson blessed a loaf of "peace bread" and shared it in solidarity with his fellow Middle Easterners.

The afternoon discussions included two different forums on preserving seeds for local communities and the seed diversity of traditional agriculture. The African meeting focused on the numerous challenges faced by the continent, from armed conflict to resource depletion, yet spoke of the hope and progress made by embracing a rich culinary history.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Terra Madre 2006Terra Madre opened today with an Inauguration ceremony hosted by the Region of Piedmont with special guest Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. Slow Food president Carlo Petrini welcomed the attendees and spoke about the importance of creating local economies for the future of the planet. He was followed by food activists representing each continent: Amanita Traore, former minister of culture for Mali; Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk el Tayeb in Lebanon; Ihar Danilau, national coordinator of Belarus' delegation; Moises Quispe, president of the National Association of Ecological Producers in Peru; renowned American chef Alice Waters; and author Michael Pollan. The event closed with President Napolitano restating the importance of defending culture and traditions.

Terra Madre is Slow Food's annual international event, bringing together representatives of food communities that produce good, clean and fair food in a responsible and sustainable way. More than 5000 farmers, breeders, fisherman and traditional food producers, 1000 cooks, and 200 universities will meet in Turin to share information, ideas and solutions to the challenges of their work.

Make Food Not War had its launch at the 2006 Terra Madre conference, joining the Lebanese delegation led by Kamal Mouzawak, of Souk El Tayeb. While at the conference, Make Food Not War interviewed producers, educators and leaders. The campaign was then be taken to other cities around the globe with the goal of furthering the understanding of the complex relationship between food and conflict.

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