Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In Their Own Words: Terra Madre 2010

Jumping into the middle of Shannon Jasie's description of Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, she talks about the tremendous inspiration she received from the encounter, "To give my stomach a break and to walk off the infinite samples (from Salone del Gusto), we trekked through Torino to the Terra Madre opening ceremony.  The best way to describe this event would be call it the Food Olympics.  Each country and continent as a whole was represented with flags, among speeches, songs, and traditional dance.  The speeches were translated into a handful of languages, as eager foodies listened with open ears.  Carlo Petrini spoke last, filling us with hope and empowering us to be the change our communities need to remedy our food system.  The ceremony was quite lengthy, but it allowed for ample time to reflect on the union of people from all over the world sharing one common passion.  I couldn’t help but feel like I was part of the start of something huge.
  We made our way back to Salone del Gusto, because we somehow managed to work up an appetite listening to inspirational speeches on the topic of food.  After visiting the street foods section for a dish of the most flavorful pesto gnocchi known to mankind, I sleepily returned home to dream of pasta and canolis while I recharged for day two.
  The following day was primarily dedicated to exploring Terra Madre.  We passed through Salone del Gusto once more to fill our stomachs for the day, and found ourselves surrounded with beautiful traditional music from a quartet on a make-shift outdoor stage.  Entering the Oval where Terra Madre takes place was overwhelming, to say the least.  There were numerous tables displaying Slow Food projects, information booths, interactive activities for delegates and observers, and tons of people.  After consulting a schedule, I decided to attend a workshop on Family Farmers against GMO’s. 
 I had a little time to kill before the workshop started, so I wandered over to a gigantic tapestry filled with black writing.  As I approached, I learned that the purpose of this tapestry was to promote biodiversity and attendants of the conference were asked to write a national product produced in their country in their native tongue.  My contribution was Maple Syrup—a product that I have been missing this fall. 
  It was time for the workshop to start, and once again, we put on the translation headphones.  The guest talked for a bit about GMO’s, then opened the floor to the participants for discussion.  Through translators, a conversation began to unfold in English, Russian, German, and French, all with similar mindsets of the opposition to GMO’s, which was incredible to witness.  For the second time during this experience, I felt very privileged to be part of something so big among hundreds of people who shared a similar passion. 
 This experience has helped to continue to inspire me to work towards a non-corrupt food system.  Being surrounded by such passion reinforces the idea that I am not alone in this pursuit.  Being submersed in this energy was invigorating and refreshing, and this was an experience that I will never forget as I embark on my food endeavors."

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