Terra Madre 2016 – A Look Back

Join us for a scintillating review of the 2016 Terra Madre Convention in Italy. Let our delegates John and Lolita take you on a journey of the senses through an international celebration of good, clean and fair food in today’s guest blog! – Alisha Eastep, Treasurer of Slow Food San Francisco


Imagine yourself in a city that was once the Capital of Italy; with wide boulevards; a beautiful park; an ornate opera house; a royal palace; a medieval village adjacent to a serene river; and surrounded by thousands of farmers and food producers from 150 countries. No, it’s not a dream. You’re at Slow Food’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2016 in Torino, Italy, and it’s taken over the city. For the first time in its 20-year history, the event was held in some of the most beautiful and prestigious sites around the city. The change of location opened the five-day event to an estimated one million visitors admission free.

My wife, Lolita, and I represented Slow Food San Francisco in Torino and were among the 5,000 delegates that came to celebrate this year’s theme, “Loving the Earth”. We also were interested to learn how the world celebrated and embraced good, clean and fair food. Food communities like Slow Fish and Slow Meat had full programs of workshops, programs, forums and cooking classes at Parque Valentino and at Eataly Torino Lingotto.

The Indigenous Terra Madre network met to “discuss their future in Slow Food and at Terra Madre”. Winona LaDuke, an environmentalist and Indian rights activist from the Objiwe Nation headed the US delegation. Vincent Medina of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of California and the Assistant Curator of Mission Dolores in San Francisco also joined and shared his stories with our delegation.

The diversity in the Terra Madre Marketplace was unimaginable and we were always on the lookout for the best food and drink. We found cumin from Morocco and cardamom from Guatemala that smelled like a spice bouquet; pesto with authentic basil from Liguria made by expert hands; porcini mushrooms, fresh and dried, from the forests of Piemonte; a smorgasbord of Swedish foods such as smoked reindeer and salmon, cloudberry juice, and goat cheese and whole grain crackers served on a wooden plank; wild strawberry and wild blackberry jam from Abruzzo, Italy; heirloom rice from the Banaue rice terraces in the Philippines; and a whole street of artisanal gelatos from Torino’s finest gelaterias. Of all the foods from all over the world, what was not to love?

Besides the food experiences, there were opportunities to join educational workshops on food systems and food issues with experts from California and around the world. Dr. Miguel Altieri From UC Berkeley, Anuradha Mittal from the Oakland Institute and Farmer and Forest Ecologist Yacouba Sawadogo from Burkina Faso, shared their stories on how they think, “Agroecology can Feed the World”. Alice Waters, chef and restaurateur from Berkeley, joined Ron Finley, the Gangsta Gardener of Los Angeles, and Edward Mikiibi from Slow Food International and 1000 Gardens in Africa in describing their “Garden Revolutions”.

It was Gaetano Pascale, President of Slow Food Italia who said, “The challenge of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2016 for Slow Food was political, cultural and social: to assert that good, clean and fair food is a human right, something that we must all feel part of, and that means loving the earth! We can proudly say we’ve succeeded in this challenge.”

John & Lolita Casazza

2016 Terra Madre Delegates, Slow Food San Francisco

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *