By Richard McCarthy, Executive Director of Slow Food USA
Slow Food International will celebrate its sixth annual Terra Madre Day on December 10, with special events planned around the world. The day was first celebrated in 2009, marking the 20th anniversary of the Slow Food Manifesto. Since then, Slow Food Groups have gathered each year on December 10 for a global celebration of community through food.
In the United States, Slow Food asks individuals to recommit to opposing the “universal folly of Fast Life” by signing the Manifesto online, and growing a community through food offline. Slow Food locals all over the country are organizing events in honor of the global day. If you’ve never seen the Manifesto, check it out here.
This year, the celebration will include more than 150 events worldwide with over 25,000 participants. “Terra Madre Day will be celebrated in an endless number of ways, from small gatherings to large events: a celebratory picnic or dinner; a film screening or concert to raise the profile of good, clean, and fair food; an excursion to visit Terra Madre producers; a campaign or petition on a particular issue, food or taste education activities; a large gathering of producers, chefs, youth and others… or a combination of the above.” All are invited to participate, and activities are taking place in a wide range of locations, both urban and rural. For a full list of events, visit Slow Food’s interactive map, “What’s going on, where.” To organize a Terra Madre Day celebration of your own, click here.
The theme of Terra Madre Day 2014 is saving endangered products — in keeping with the theme of this year’s Terra Madre conference, The Ark of Taste. Slow Food is urging participants to focus on endangered local foods at risk of disappearing: “All over the world, traditional food products are disappearing, along with the knowledge, techniques, cultures and landscapes related to their production.”
Slow Food invites the general public to mark this anniversary in ways that are within your reach: Sign the Slow Food Manifesto of 1989. Identify endangered products in your food shed and nominate them for the organization’s Ark of Taste, and celebrate them on Terra Madre Day. The Ark— created in 1996 to catalogue and protect endangered foods—currently has more than 2,000 products on board. And finally, find others like you who hunger for community through food: stage an event or find one near you to express the desire to marshal cultural and ecological assets that counter the “folly of the Fast Life.”