Loving the Earth
The central theme of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2016 has a profound meaning: loving the earth is cultivating it, taking care of it, working it with love, preserving the environment and the planet that we live on. Loving the earth is what must define this moment in history, and be an imperative for us all.
The Terra Madre food communities can convey the value of this statement better than anyone else. The role of farmers and food producers is crucial because it represents, at one and the same time, both a daily work practice – in sowing, feeding, pruning, harvesting – and an intellectual effort that carries forward thousands of years of traditional knowledge.
Farmers, fishers, artisans, herders and cooks of Terra Madre, as well as the Slow Food Presidia and the Earth Markets – show us how the first act of love for the earth is to sow with good seeds, watering it as necessary, guaranteeing its fertility, harvesting respectfully and without demanding more than the land can give us. Being a farmer is the first way to love the earth.
Even if you don’t work the land directly, you can love the earth through what you buy. The daily habits of a conscious consumer, or as we say, a co-producer, go beyond simply buying food to eat, but examining how the food we buy has been produced, its history and origins, the hands and faces behind it. The co-producer plays an important role, because they aid the success of a food production system that is good, clean and fair – and simultaneously reduce demand for food whose production harms our planet. Being a co-producer is the second way to love the earth.
Slow Food has always tried to bring farmers and co-producers together to create a moral supply chain. Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is one of many ways it has done this, improving the work of the former and the awareness of the latter. However, farmers and co-producers must meet beyond the marketplace. There is one place more than any other that passes down both knowledge and pleasure through the generations: the garden. A place where anyone can learn to know the land close-up, digging their hands into it to understand all the work and time that goes into everything we eat. Making your own garden is the third way to love the earth.
You can learn what it means to be a farmer, a co-producer and make a vegetable garden in Turin, from September 22-26. For the first time in history, the heart of the city will be an enormous field of discovery, ready to welcome the extraordinary wealth of the Terra Madre network, and everyone who’d like to experience it. We’ll be waiting for you there.