By Slow Food International
A rich program will allow ITM to be the stage for discovering how indigenous communities could help us preserving biodiversity and saving the environment.
Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 (ITM 2015) – taking place from November 3-7, 2015 in Shillong (Meghalaya, India) – is the result of a collaboration between Slow Food, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (Indigenous Partnership) and the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS). The event will bring together representatives of indigenous communities from around the world to celebrate their food cultures and discuss how traditional knowledge and the sustainable use of natural resources can contribute to developing good, clean and fair food systems.
ITM will take place in Shillong city at the North East Hill University (NEHU) campus in two different locations – the Convocation Hall and the Cultural Centre.
Events Open to the Public
The Cultural Center will be open to general public from November 3 to 6 with community stalls, handicrafts, cultural shows, and the possibility to attend Theatre of Taste sessions.
There will also be a series of rooms hosted by various local, national and internationalorganizations and institutions such as UN agencies like FAO & IFAD, international research bodies and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity showcasing the international indigenous Presidia projects.
As for the conferences, the Slow Food Youth Network will hold workshops for local and international youth focusing on the theme of the Future.
The Theatre of Taste will involve groups from Slow Food Germany demonstrating meat curing and from Slow Food USA to present the “Slow Meat” concept from rearing to butchery. The aim of the demonstrations is mainly to inspire and educate visitors on the growing concern for animal welfare and hygiene standards of meat production. The workshops will bring together local and international butchers and those working in animal husbandry to share and exchange knowledge and ideas on good, clean and fair meat production.
The Mei-Ramew Food Festival, which is also the Khasi namesake for ITM given by the 41 co-hosting villages, will mark the end of the festival and anchor the Closing Ceremony. This will be also open to the general public and will be held on the last day of the event, on Saturday, November 7, next to the sacred grove of Mawphlang Village (25 km from Shillong).
The Food Festival will feature food communities from all over the northeast of India, known to be one of eight biodiversity hot-spots in the world. During the Festival, the diversity of indigenous foods will be celebrated through a Biodiversity Fair that also showcases an Ark of Taste display, highlighting the rich and unique biodiversity of the area, with each State having a stall displaying seeds, fruits, tubers, leaf vegetables and rhizomes. This display will also feature interactive sessions focusing on the Ark of Taste products and their use in the culinary realm.
Cultural performances will also be featured at ITM to provide a platform to showcase indigenous cultural handicrafts, songs, dance and dress; together with shared dining experiences, food tastings and workshops. There will also be an Education Roomdedicated to children and young adults with plenty of food-based sensory projects they can engage with.
The ITM Kitchen will showcase the talents of cooks from North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) Indigenous Cooks Alliance along with the national and international Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance, who will team up to cook using indigenous ingredients.
Events Open to ITM Delegates Only
The second venue at the North East Hill University (NEHU) campus will be the Convocation Hall, which will be open only to ITM delegates due to space restrictions. Each day there will be plenary and thematic track sessions, designed as forums to explore specific concepts and to spark future collaborative initiatives, along with taste workshops, which aim to connect people to the pleasure and importance of eating local foods (honey, wild edibles, fermented food and insects are the major themes to address the significance of consuming neglected and underutilized plants).
On Tuesday, November 3 the Inauguration Ceremony will be attended by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Dr. Mukul Sangma, as well as internationally recognized indigenous leaders, Ms. Victoria Tauli Corpuz (the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), and Mr. Myrna Cunningham (former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues). Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food International, will also attend the event and will speak on how Slow Food and the indigenous peoples’ food movement can work together for a more just and sustainable agricultural future.
On Wednesday, November 4 there will be two plenary sessions: the first one on the importance and future of indigenous local food systems with emphasis on agroecological practices, sustainable production, health, community, social life, indigenous identity and spirituality; the second one will present the findings of the workshops held by Indigenous Partnership with indigenous communities in North East India, Kenya, Peru and Nicaraguaon their challenges and opportunities to improve ways of life. Each plenary session will be followed by four thematic track sessions and two taste workshops. The day will end with a third plenary session on a briefing on the United Nations sustainable development goalsand the role that the indigenous peoples movement plays in these goals.
On Thursday, November 5 there will be two plenary sessions. The first will discuss thefindings of a study undertaken on by IUNS (International Union of Nutritional Sciences) that used available or collected data of several indigenous matriarchal communities in theUnited States, Asia and Africa in order to look at the nutritional status of communities known for the promotion of maternal values of respect, caring, sharing, consensus andmatriliny. The second session will address how agroecology and agrobiodiversity can contribute to future food security in the face of climate change, unequal food access and destructive agricultural systems. The plenary will be followed by four thematic track sessions and two taste workshops. The day will end with a third plenary session on a briefing on global climate change issues.
On Friday, November 6, field trips have been organized to ten host villages that represent the diverse landscapes of the rural areas around Shillong in order to give delegates a sense of the vast cultural and ecological richness of the region. Participants will have the opportunity to spend time and exchange ideas with local food communities in their respective landscapes.
Indigenous peoples have a unique part to play in shaping a future that is more respectfulof the environment and its biodiversity. ITM will be a stage to celebrate the cultural and biological diversity of indigenous communities as expressed in their songs, dance, dress, folklores and food systems that have evolved through generations of close interaction with nature. Through ITM, the cultural and biological treasures of Meghalaya and North East India will be showcased to the world at large.
You can find the program of the event here.
Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 gratefully acknowledges funding support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), The Christensen Fund and the Government of Meghalaya. Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 is also thankful for the contributions made by Tamalpais Trust, Swift Foundation, AgroEcology Fund, Bread for the World and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Terra Madre is a worldwide network, launched by Slow Food in 2004, which unites small-scale producers from 163 countries involved in the sustainable production of food. Among these, to date the Indigenous Terra Madre Network comprises 372 indigenous food communities, 41 indigenous Presidia projects and 308 indigenous Ark of Taste products. For more information, click here.
Discover the stories of Indigenous Peoples from around the world on Slow Food website in the ‘Indigenous Voices’ section!