By Michelle DiMuzio, Slow Food USA Communications Coordinator
On September 22-26, over 200 US-based delegates joined thousands of Slow Food enthusiasts from around the world for Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2022. Hugs, laughter, and joy represented the excitement and energy around gathering as an international movement for the first time in four years. Turin’s vast Parco Doro provided a beautiful backdrop for five days of workshops, cultural exchange, and food memories; once a Michelin tire facility, the park’s regeneration into a mixed-use public space with industry and nature interwoven harmoniously exemplified this year’s theme of RegenerAction.
Slow Food USA also centralized the theme of joy and justice to ground our programming and discussions around the importance of good, clean and fair food for all. This was beautifully demonstrated at the North American delegate meeting, in which several Slow Food leaders from Slow Food Turtle Island Association, Slow Food Canada, and Slow Food USA shared their stories through several mediums. Members of Slow Food Turtle Island Association opened the meeting with Lorraine and Mitchell Gray through song and hoop dance, emulating symbols of nature and paying respects to earth’s bounties. Clayton and Margaret Brascoupe then gave us an indigenous welcome and shared their stories of farming and their decades long relationship with Slow Food. Lastly, Denisa Livingston framed our theme of joy and justice in concert with Slow Food USA Executive Director Anna Mulè and Slow Food In Canada Board Chair Heather Pritchard.
After the presentations, delegates from around the country discussed their personal relationships with Slow Food, challenges faced in local foodways, and what they hoped to bring back to our communities from Terra Madre. We also participated in a moment of cultural exchange in which we shared food items that had personal and local connections. Jim Embry, activist and farmer, closed the meeting through the song “Go Down Moses,” including an additional Slow Food centered rendition.
Slow Food USA has a long history of supporting volunteers from its 83 chapters and Community Action Teams to journey from North America to Italy, where they meet one another, share food products from their regions, and present their experiences to people on a global stage. This year was no exception: at least 21 people from the Slow Food USA network facilitated or presented at workshops for attendees. In addition to prepping delegates, capturing moments on photo and video, planning meetings with international counterparts and getting to know global delegates, the Slow Food USA national office team also hosted first-time-ever meetups for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) delegates as well as LGBTQ+ delegates.
Don’t take our word for how enriching and meaningful the Terra Madre experience is! Here are some quotes and posts shared from Slow Food USA delegates:
“I am amazed by the event itself and all the connections we got to make with people from all over the world who are doing work that is truly FOR the people and the planet. I am extremely grateful for the ripple effects these connections will have as we continue to share and collaborate from our home communities.”
— Lauren Zappone Maples | Executive Director, PEAS (Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability), Austin, TX
“Greetings my new found Slow Food Family. As a first-timer to Terra Madre and Italy I am filled with (mostly cheese) but more importantly a broader sense of commonality amongst the world’s Slow Food change makers. As a lifelong student of human interaction (due to an aversion to it as an introvert) I believe the most mind altering substance available to humans is our gift of language. That is why gatherings like Terra Madre are so priceless; face to face dialogue, in close proximity, absorbing the whole meaningful message the presenters are attempting to share. I’ve learned spoken word is merely a fraction of human communication. An overwhelming portion of our intended message is conveyed through a number of signals we don’t even know we’re sending. Our confidence on the topic at hand shows life experience with the issue (the what). Our emotional state, intonation, eloquently shares the purpose (the why). Our non-verbal body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, confirms and reinforces the message being shared. All this combined with the undeniable feelings of human energy freely shared exclusively in person allow the storyteller to connect and pass the mind altering words to the listeners (the how). We’re hard-wired for this form of wisdom sharing. This all happened at Terra Madre. That’s why I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to share more than just seeds with you all.“
— Paul Maschka | Farmer specializing in Ark of Taste crops