Every two years in the northern Italian town of Torino, Terra Madre brings together Slow Food members from more than 2,000 food communities—small-scale ranchers, farmers, chefs, educators and activists—with the goal of preserving taste and biodiversity. It’s an iconic event in the global food calendar. Past delegates have described leaving the event with a mix of lightheaded exhilaration and sadness.
The first event in 2004 brought together 5,000 producers from 130 countries and highlighted the importance of supporting people capable of stewarding the lands, sharing their know-how, so we can have food that still carries the taste of our youth. It became clear at the inaugural event that only through repeated, cumulative, local action, and following guiding principles, could significant impact be achieved.
Each representing country cultivates and sponsors a delegation that represents the diversity of its good, clean and fair food movement. Delegates are chosen for their ability to represent the breadth of the country’s food traditions and movement success stories as well as their capacity to take the new lessons, ideas and relationships back to the challenges still to be met at home.
“Those who sow utopia harvest reality, and you are the most beautiful and sacred reality in the world.”—Carlo Petrini
Slow Food USA sends a 200-plus-person delegation to represent the United States. Delegates have voting rights and are also supported by SF USA with housing, ground transportation, admission and food. Anyone can apply to be a delegate and regional selection committees assist in identifying would-be delegates.(Applications for 2014 are now closed.)
This multi-day event is open to the public.
Over the years, Portland has seen many farmers, food producers and others with ties to the food community attend Terra Madre, representing our immense bounty and rich food culture. They’ve returned from this multicultural experience with changed hearts and minds. For many alumni, Terra Madre jump started their dreams of running a sustainable food business, supplying unique foods, paying fair wages and contributing in new ways to the local economy.
Slow Food Portland helps offset travel costs for select delegates through various fundraising events to increase the possibility of their attendance. Through a variety of events leading up to and after Terra Madre, you’ll have a chance to meet them, hear their stories and share in what they bring back. Please consider making a donation!
Our new blog series, Terra Madre Chronicles, (see the first post) shines a light on past delegates and the impact Terra Madre had on their lives and how their experience benefits the greater Oregon community.