Slow Food: The connection between plate and planet |

Slow Food: The connection between plate and planet

Jill Paradis
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

Editor’s note: Part-time Eagle County resident Jill Paradis attended a Slow Foods event in Torino, Italy Oct. 23-27 called Terra Madre and an international culinary event called Salone Del Gusto, which happened concurently. She contributed these photos and story to the Vail Daily.

Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. The belief is that food should be good, clean and fair.

The Slow Food organization was founded in 1986 by Carlo Peltrini, in Northern Italy. The movement was founded upon the concept of eco-gastronomy ” recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet.

Today there are more than 85,000 members around the world. Slow Foods is committed to protecting traditional and sustainable quality foods, primary ingredients, conserving methods of cultivation and processing, and defending the biodiversity of cultivated and wild varieties. Slow Food protects places of historic, artistic or social value that form part of our food heritage, acknowledging the history and culture of every social group as it interacts within the broader network of reciprocal exchange.

Two major events presented by Slow Foods are Salone Del Gusto and Terra Madre. They took place last week in Torino Italy. Salone Del Gusto is the world’s largest artisanal food marketplace; it is held concurrently with Terra Madre in part for the attendees to gain a deeper sense of how small-scale sustainable producers can market their products effectively.

There were aisles of cheese, chocolate, salami, pasta, fruits, vegetables, fish, honey, olive oil, a large enoteca (literally means wine repository) with more than 1,000 wines and a beer garden with beers from around the world, including a few microbrews from Colorado. Every region in Italy was represented, as well as products from every continent. The producers shared samples and explained the history, tradition, ingredients and method of making the product. They were chef demonstrations, many tasting seminars for food, wine and the senses. Running simultaneously was Terra Madre.

Terra Madre is a worldwide network of more than 7,000 food communities. These farmers, fisherman, breeders, chefs, academics and students come together to exchange information around the themes of sustainable agriculture: food that tastes good and is clean from an environmental perspective and socially fair. People came from more than 150 countries, including more than 800 delegates from the U.S.

It was a real privilege to be able to attend the event. It was amazing talking to people about their ideas and products. They had head sets with seven simultaneous language translations for the various meetings and workshops. It was truly an international event. The people are united by a common goal of global sustainability in food.

Slow Food is good, clean and fair. The food we eat should taste good, it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health, and food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

There are small things we can do within our own community to make a difference and grow strong and healthy. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store rather than using the plastic bags. Support your local farmers and educate yourself about where your food comes from. Try to eat local products when possible. Get the younger generation involved in what they eat and celebrate harvest festivals.

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