Cardone TURIN Italy (Xinhua) -- As it
happens to plant varieties, seeds, or animal species, also
villages can be at risk of extinction.
Yet, they should
be preserved as much as biodiversity, for they are part of the
gastronomy and cultural heritage, and usually provide a model of
production sustainable for the environment.
This message was largely discussed at the 12th edition of the
Terra Madre-Salone del Gusto, one of the world’s largest
exhibitions of local food cultures that ran in the Italian city
of Turin on Sept. 20-24.
More than 5,000 delegates from 140 countries and regions,
over 800 exhibitors, and 500 food communities took part in the
event this year.
Representatives with Slow Food—the grassroots movement
promoting the right of access to sustainable, healthy, and fair
food at global level—said this would become a new guideline.
"The defense of villages represents the new frontier on which
Slow Food has to work globally," Carlo Petrini, founder and
president of Slow Food International, told a conference.
The risk of extinction for villages was directly connected to
the urbanization of hundreds of millions of people around the
Experts warned such wide trend would risk making development
less and less sustainable for environment and human health,
unless a partial balance could be found in small-scale
Abdullahi Adem from Ethiopia could easily agree with this
Behind the desk of his country’s stand, he explained
properties and benefits of an organic honey made in the Oromia
"This honey comes from an area some 3,000 meters high in the
mountains, and it is not their only special product," Adem told
Yet, he said, if that community was not to be protected by
social and climate changes, farmers could gradually disappear,
along with all of their farming knowledge.
The stalls of the international exhibitors offered a wide
variety of products to discover and taste, mostly food.
For example, there were special teas from South Africa and
forest-friendly teas from Thailand, organic cranberries from
Latvia, saffron from Afghanistan, wild fruits from Argentina,
seaweeds from Japan, lupine beans from Peru, karité butter from
Burkina Faso, among others.
Andrea, a 36-year-old office worker from Rimini, Italy seemed
interested in everything.
The man stressed local productions and environment-friendly
consumption were both crucial in his idea of development.
"My family and I like genuine food that is also produced in a
sustainable way," he told Xinhua.
"Unfortunately, daily life in a city does not always make
this practice easy to follow, and the access to large-scale
distribution is still the simplest way to buy food."
For Slow Food’s Petrini, the link between protecting villages
and promoting a sustainable food production (the "Food for
Change" campaign) was strong.
"The more you protect life in villages, the stronger our
‘Food for Change’ message is," he told Xinhua.
In fact, people would take care more easily of their original
land, and best practices were easier to implement in small
"But if we lose all small centers, raising awareness about a
eco-friendly food production becomes harder," Petrini said.
A project repeatedly mentioned by experts at the Salone del
Gusto referred to China, where the local branch of Slow Food
planned to create 1,000 "slow villages" by 2025.
"We are outlining the specific guidelines on how to create a
slow village," Sun Qun, secretary general of Slow Food Great
China, told Xinhua.
"We will be ready to start the construction of the first
village by the end of this year, with the help of the Chengdu
The pilot project would be developed in the community of
Anren near the city of Chengdu, in the Sichuan province, which
hosted the 2017 Slow Food Int’l Congress.
Sun explained the goal was to have slow villages formed by
original farmers, original inhabitants, and original food
This might not be easy, since many local farmers would not
easily believe a slow village could become a new community.
Yet, Sun stressed, China today offered big opportunities.
"I see at least three major tools: the first is
communication, which is very developed in China and could help
us present the slow village to the society as a ‘fashionable’
model," he said.
Secondly, major players in the logistic technology sector
might get involved, providing small farmers in villages a larger
access to the market.
Finally, Sun suggested Chinese big chains of restaurants
could play a role.
"These chains have young chefs, who aim at becoming not just
good professionals in the food industry, but ‘fashionable’
chefs," he said.
"If we are able to involve them in the project, invite them
to visit a slow village ...
"We could show them one way to be really innovative in their
European Union project to
heritage across central Europe launched in Italy
by Alessandra Cardone TURIN, Italy
(Xinhua) -- A new European Union (EU)
project to preserve gastronomic heritage was launched at the
Terra Madre Salone del Gusto Expo running here on Sept. 20-24.
The project "Slow Food-Central Europe (CE): Culture,
Heritage, and Food" will involve five cities in five
countries: Venice in Italy, Dubrovnik in Croatia, Krakow in
Poland, Kecskemet in Hungary, and Brno in the Czech Republic.
Led by Slow Food—a global movement promoting the right of
access to good, healthy, and fair food at global level—it would
see each of the cities launching a pilot initiative in public
Such initiatives would imply multiple actions, "within the
Slow Food philosophy that aims at enhancing specific
characteristics of the local gastronomy, its roots, and cultural
heritage," the Salone del Gusto organizers said in a statement.
For example, Venice would launch a "Venice APPetite" project
to guide local people, students, and tourists to the discovery
of the most typical Venetian cuisine.
The initiative would include two new gastronomic paths in the
small islands of Sant’Erasmo and Pellestrina in the lagoon, and
10 information boards on local products to be set up across the
city’s most central areas.
A mobile app would also be launched to promote virtual
In the Croatian Dubrovnik, a multimedia exhibition will be
devoted to the local gastronomic and cultural heritage.
The Croatian initiative—called "City Feeders"—would include
video interviews with selected local farmers still following
traditional production practices, and analyses by local experts
of written documents and popular works on the local
The project in the Czech Republic would focus on specifically
promoting the gastronomy of the South Moravia region among
school children and teachers of the regional capital Brno, along
with the broad public.
Among the actions here, a Slow Food taste educational kit
(called "To the Origins of Taste") would be provided to
teachers, while practical workshops will bring together school
children and local farmers in common cooking activities of
A Children’s Farmers’ Market would also be organized in Brno
in October 2019, with students managing the stalls and selling
their own grown and baked products.
Similar actions, yet adjusted to the respective local
gastronomy traditions, will be launched in Poland’s Krakow and
Financed through the Interreg Central Europe—the EU funding
program encouraging cooperation among central European
regions—the Slow Food-CE project would run until May 2020.
This year’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto event drew in the
northwest city of Turin some 5,000 delegates from 140 countries
and regions, over 800 Italian and foreign exhibitors, and 500
It is the world’s largest exhibition devoted to local food
traditions and cultures, and to the exchange among small-scale
The Slow Food association was founded in Italy’s Piedmont
region by Carlo Petrini in 1986 to defend the country’s regional
gastronomic traditions, and overall promote a "slow pace" life
It grew into a global movement that today involves local
farmers, producers, agronomists, and academics in some 160
countries and regions.
Chinese food producers
joining 'Slow Food' movement
ROME Italy (Xinhua) --
Small food producers, restaurant owners, chefs,
and professors from China are joining the Slow Food movement
worldwide in order to create a greener and more sustainable
lifestyle in the future, according to the head of the Slow Food
organization for China.
"For the first time in its history, Slow Food China took part
in the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto gathering in Italy,"
president of Slow Food China Qiao Ling told Xinhua in a recent
interview in Turin, referring to the annual exhibition of food,
agricultural products in Italy.
"The association aims to preserve the tradition of food
processes and to preserve the variety of food,"she said.
Slow Food China was inaugurated in January 2015 at the
Italian Embassy in Beijing.
Slow Food China has set up an alliance with the China
Association for the Promotion of International Agricultural
Cooperation, and is currently registered as a non-profit
Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is an international event
dedicated to food and gastronomy that takes place every year in
The 2016 gathering wound down last week.
The meeting is organized by Slow Food, an association founded
in Italy by Carlo Petrini in 1986 to defend regional traditions,
good food, gastronomic pleasure, and a slow pace of life.
The Slow Food movement "aims to prevent the disappearance of
local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast
life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they
eat," according to Qiao.
It now promotes a comprehensive approach to food and involves
people in over 160 countries "working to ensure everyone has
access to good, clean and fair food," she said.
Slow Food China, as a Chinese association linked to the Slow
Food International network, always follows international values,
criterion, process and structure, Qiao added.
This time,"our delegation brought to Turin around 70 products
that belong to the project Ark of Taste," Qiao recalled.
It is a catalogue of endangered Chinese traditional food, the
goal being to protect culinary heritage, she stressed.
Products exhibited in Turin included Hanyuan Pepper, a
perennial and spiny plant.
"Its berries are collected and harvested just like common
"It has been collected for more than 1,000 years in the
Sichuan province in southwest China.
Other products brought by the Chinese delegation to the
international show were the Leishan Red Bean, Ordos Yellow
Millet Wine, wheat sauce, hand made oat bread, and Qingyi River
They also displayed the fancy buns of Huanghua, a type of
sweet and soft buns native to the town of Yang Erzhuang in the
northern part of the county of Huanghua.
Since they require a lot of manual work, they are an artisan
production, said Piero Ling, co-founder of Slow Food China.
"Our aim is to promote the message of Slow Food in China and
what they are doing,"said Vittorio Sun, the other co-founder of
Slow Food China.
"Last year we organized an event in Beijing, the so-called
Slow Food Beijing Festival."
The Chinese association wants to promote the development of
the Slow Food movement, and share its vision, objectives and
basic ideas, Sun said.
Among their goals is "to set up a communication platform in
order to exchange different cultural experiences and information
relating to the extraordinary Chinese food heritage," he added.
Slow Food is worldwide organization that promotes local food
and traditional cooking