Terra Madre is the biannual international Slow Food event. Held in Turin, Italy, in October, this four day convention brings together farmers, artisans, food activists, and eaters to celebrate good, clean and fair food. The theme of Terra Madre 2014 is biodiversity and family farming. Not so coincidentally, 2014 has been declared the International Year of the Family Farmer by the UN, and so it makes perfect sense that Shea, our incubator farmer, who only grow heirloom varieties, would be selected to attend as part of Slow Food USA’s 240 person delegation.
And I can speak to the value of going to conferences, no matter what – they are a great way to be re-energized about your day to day work and remember why you are doing what you’re doing. But I also know that Terra Madre is great and awesome and amazing and Shea (and her husband, Sal) really will be getting so much more than a trip to northern Italy out of going to Terra Madre, because in 2012 I went.
I got to meet Carlo Petrini (on the left, his translator is on the right), the founder of the Slow Food movement.
There is a LOT of walking around the Salone del Gusto and eating (a huge food festival, with one hall dedicated to regional Italian cuisine, and one hall dedicated to food from the rest of the globe), but there are conference sessions on different topics all day every day for the four days.
This is a sample of a 1000 Gardens in Africa project
My roommate was a dairy goat farmer from north central Washington state, and we did the rounds of all the cheese vendors the first day. Sadly, we didn;t get to eat the cheese horse (made of mozzarella).
Some of the events and sessions are in English, and some are in other languages (you can borrow headphones and there are live translations happening, so you can go to something in Italian or Japanese and get just as much out of it as the person next to you who is listening in Swahili).
It was awesome. And Shea (and Sal!) deserve to go. It’s expensive enough for one person, even just paying for airfare, but with two people going, they do need help fundraising. Slow Food USA provides housing for delegates, but since only Shea is an official delegate, they need to pay for their housing and airfare. Heirloominous Farm needs our support so they can both go and learn and enjoy and come back more excited than ever about growing fresh, healthy, sustainable and delicious food for our community. There will be several ways to donate – through their Indiegogo campaign , by joining us at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery for an heirloom tomato tasting, or by purchasing raffle tickets to win a 2015 CSA share.