Stories from Terra Madre

… there were people everywhere. Different languages being spoken and sung, instruments playing, signs in umpteen different languages. It sounded more like a beehive than a conference, if the bees played xylophone …

If you were lucky enough to share in the dinner fundraisers organized last August, then you’ve already had the joy of hearing a few of the local stories behind the lives of this year’s farmer delegates to Terra Madre. But those tales were just the beginning! Since those August meals, the Willamette Vallery delegation (which also included chefs, advocates and educators) made the trek to Torino, Italy, and returned with the stories of the people and ideas they met there.

Join us on Monday, January 19 from 6-8 pm at Ecotrust to hear about their experiences and see their photos. In attendance to recount the journey will be Chris Roehm and Amy Benson of Square Peg Farm, Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen, Anne Berblinger of Gales Meadow Farm, Suzanne Briggs of the Portland Farmers Market Association, Mark Doxtader of Tastebud, Troy McLarty from Lovely Hula Hands and Cathy Whims from Nostrana. For more information on the event, visit our events page.

Terra Madre gathers thousands of food producers and activists from around the world for four days of networking and idea-building. An overwhelming experience, to be sure, but Michael Paine of Gaining Ground Farm didn’t let the buzz deter him from recording his impressions of the whirlwind conference. So while most of us couldn’t visit Torino in October, Michael’s been kind enough to share his journals with us:

The vegetable was not well represented at the Salone. It may have been issues of perishability or sampling or just some sublime understanding that permeates the Italian psyche. That said there was a few vendors of veggie products and the first one I came upon possessed the exact thing for which I was searching. My friend and former delegate Josh Volk had spoke of a leek that defied the known tenets of agriculture, and yet there it was. Said leek and the other similar leeks with which it was bundled was at least thirty six inches long from root to top and of that great vegetable expanse, at least eighteen and easily twenty four of those inches where bone white. Probably the thickness of somewhere between a nickel and a quarter these beauties were not a marvel of girth, but I desperately wanted to throw them over my shoulder and strut about like a hunter hauling some strange and beautiful wild beast recently sacked.

To read more of Michael’s observations on Terra Madre prior to our upcoming delegate event, you can download the rest of his journals:

A Terra Madre Journal (.doc)

Thanks for sharing