Found in 150 countries, Terra Madre is an international network uniting food producers, fishers, breeders, chefs, academics, young people, NGOs and representatives of local communities−all working to establish a system of good, clean and fair food from the grassroots level.
With their vision and knowledge, they work to promote a new approach to gastronomy, based on the defence of biodiversity, environmental protection and respect for local cultures and traditions. Though adapted to local contexts and different regions, the network tackles similar problems all over the globe, coming up with surprisingly analogous solutions.
The Terra Madre network offers effective solutions that start from the specific nature of local places, from the preservation of plant varieties and animal breeds, to local culinary cultures that have developed over time to allow natural resources to be preserved, not depleted. Through their daily work, Terra Madre communities offer a concrete example of the Slow Food philosophy: access to good, clean and fair food for everyone. Good refers to the quality and flavour of foods, clean to environmentally friendly production methods and fair to dignity and fair pay for producers and accessible prices for consumers.
Food communities are groups of people involved in the sustainable production and distribution of quality food, linked either historically, socially or culturally to a geographic area.
Cooks play an essential role as the interpreters of a place, able to add value through their creativity. The Terra Madre chefs understand that pleasure cannot be separated from a responsibility towards producers, without whom there would be no great cuisine. Restaurants are the ideal location for passing on this philosophy to consumers. Chefs reinforce the food communities through dialogue and collaboration, fighting against the abandonment of traditional cultures and the standardization of food. In order to show how chefs and cooks can actively support the role of food producers, Slow Food launched the Alliance project bringing together chefs and Slow Food Presidia has been developed. The Alliance is currently active in Italy, the Netherlands and Morocco.
The Terra Madre network also includes over 450 academics from universities and research centers around the world. Among the network’s universities, the University of Gastronomic Sciences plays a key role, welcoming students from all over the world and offering scholarships to young representatives from the Terra Madre network.
The young people from the Slow Food Youth Network represent one of Terra Madre network’s most active and dynamic assets. As with the chefs and academics, they also offer essential support to producers from food communities, inspired by the need to drastically change the way the world produces and consumes food.
Terra Madre and Slow Food are increasingly influencing each other and working in a reciprocal way. A key example of this was is the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, a single large event that broke down barriers between the two.
Every two years, the Terra Madre network meets for the global gathering of food communities in Turin.
To find out more go to www.salonedelgusto.com
Wine & Food Traveller offers foodies the chance to explore 2 regions of Italy prior to attending Terra Madre . To find out more go to http://wineandfoodtraveller.com/tours/the-grand-culinary-tour-of-italy/