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The International Council, with representatives from over 60 countries, met this year in Puglia. From Slow Food USA, councilors Matt Jones (Denver), Joel Smith (Chicago), Kathryn Underwood (Detroit), and Charity Kenyon (Central Valley of California) attended, along with Richard McCarthy, executive director and member of the Slow Food International Executive Committee.

Puglia forms the heel of the boot of Italy. Its economy is dominated by agriculture, especially grapes and olives. The area is relatively less wealthy and less well travelled. The local food traditions are simply delicious.

This annual meeting of SFI staff and delegates from every region of the globe is a gathering of friends who have learned to listen and joke and collaborate. It’s enriching and energizing.

Slow Food 2.0: Diversity

{{ image(4493, {“class”: “flor round”, “width”: “300”, “height”: “300”}) }}Carlo Petrini and the executive committee have been sharpening the description of Slow Food’s essential role in the food movement. They want to move the organization to Slow Food 2.0 and lay the groundwork for the next international congress.

Carlo Petrini said our focus on diversity distinguishes Slow Food from other food organizations. We are a movement that protects diversity — not just cultural and biological diversity, but also economic diversity. As we have evolved from a traditional gastronomic organization to one focused on environment and justice, we have become more inclusive. Indigenous Terra Madre, the Slow Food Youth Network, 10,000 Gardens in Africa are key examples. We need to open up to the world. We need to open up to diversity. Our membership, leadership and organizational structures must evolve to embody these values and goals.

In an interactive session facilitated by Richard McCarthy, we looked at how this evolution will be accomplished. The themes that emerged were decentralization, democratization, and education/empowerment of local leaders.


  • The next International Congress will be in Kenya in June 2017.
  • We will include delegates doing the work of Slow Food who may not be dues paying members.
  • The results of the interactive session will form the basis of the report to the next congress.

Business and reports

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2015 budget approved

The Council approved the budget with recognition that our historic reliance on increasingly unpredictable Italian government and foundation funding is a weakness to be addressed in a new fundraising campaign.

Ark of Taste goes to school

The Ark of Taste program announced an exciting new relationship with UNISG through professor Andrea Pieroni, a preeminent ethnobotanist. He emphasizes not just the biological but the cultural diversity and context of AOT and the related goal of sustaining and empowering communities. Dr. Pieroni is also interested in both indigenous and “minority” food cultures. This could be very pertinent to development of AOT in the United States, a nation of minorities with flourishing food cultures.

Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2016

This year is going to be fantastic — and a challenging experiment in change. By going outside expo hall walls and collaborating with the City of Turin, amazing opportunities have emerged for interaction with the city’s inhabitants. 2016 is the laboratory for a new vocabulary and new formats of inclusiveness and diversity.


The University of Gastronomic Sciences has big news too. After 12 years it can officially create its own degree courses.

International fundraising campaign kicks off soon

“A Better World is Possible; I’m defending the earth” will collaborate with Scuola Holden, which specializes in storytelling. Get ready to spread the word!

We Feed the Planet

This event accomplished the impossible, bringing thousands of young farmers, fishers, producers and chefs to Milan’s Expo. Life changing experiences are reported from around the world.

Indigenous Terra Madre

Indigenous representatives from 62 countries gathered in far northern India. The gathering was another fantastic success and an impetus for formalizing Turtle Island Slow Food.

Delicious additions

{{ image(4495, {“class”: “flor round”, “width”: “300”, “height”: “300”}) }}A dinner hosted by Slow Food Puglia included countless courses and wines, mozzarella making and cocktail demonstrations, speeches and camaraderie all under the night sky of Leuca by the yacht harbor.

Add to all of this a tour of the Ugento Archeology Museum, the local nature preserve (collaborator in a fishing presidium), a visit to a vast vegetable drying facility (sun!) bringing caper cultivation back to the area, perfect swimming weather, a delightful agri-tourismo, and incredibly generous hosts.

Orecchiette: Literally “small ears” in Italian, this homemade, ear-shaped pasta is usually served with cime di rapa (broccoli rabe) and garlic, or fresh tomatoes and ricotta cheese.

Frisella: A crunchy, dry bread baked in a stone oven with a drop of olive oil. Friselle are one of Puglia’s most famous, and practical, foods since they can be stored for months.

Baccalà alla salentina: This traditional dish of Puglia and the Salento takes dried and salted cod to the next level. It’s sprinkled with breadcrumbs, pecorino cheese and fresh tomato, then baked in the oven with potatoes to a golden crisp.

Primitivo: Puglian Primitivo tastes of dark fruit like fresh figs, blueberries and baked blackberries. There’s a distinct dried fruit-leather character to it as well. The word Primitivo means early ripening. It’s the same grape as California’s Zinfandel.

Pasticciotto: The outside of this dessert may just look like a flaky crust. But take a bite for the surprise: a creamy custard filling, made even sweeter with black cherries!

Sott’olio: “Sott’olio” describes a particularly Pugliese method for preserving produce. Local vegetables like eggplant, artichokes, onions and peppers are jarred with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, letting them keep for months at a time… and making for the perfect appetizer when they are ready!

(food descriptions thanks to walksofitaly.com)

— Charity Kenyon