Words and Photos by Carla Capalbo

“Climate change – and global warming – are the biggest thing that has ever happened in human history”, said Amitan Ghosh during Terra Madre – Salone del gusto 2018 (read more about it here).

What are some of the solutions proposed at Terra Madre? Returning to low-impact ancestral methods of crop cultivations that don’t impact so negatively on the soils. Banning poisonous pesticides and weedkillers, and of course monocultures of genetically modified and sterile seeds. Eating more plants and definitely much less meat. (Indeed, the hope is to reduce the west’s consumption of meat by 50%). Use crops that have natural resistance to heat and scarcity of water rather than those that need constant irrigation in areas with limited water resources. Fonio, a forgotten ancient grain from sub-Saharan Africa, is such an ingredient, and has become the project of chef Pierre Thiam in New York who sees it as one of the nutritional super-foods of the future.

For chefs, one solution may be to rethink the use of meat as the main attraction in a meal. “You need to reinvent yourself completely, and to forget everything you learned before because it was based on fossil fuels,” says chef Xavier Hamon from France, who heads the French Slow Food Chef’s Alliance. “We long ago decided to work responsibly, in particular on the use of meat in the plate. This does not always mean reducing the amount of meat in a dish, though of course that’s part of it, but also changing the way we cut and store it using ancestral methods of salting, smoking and drying.”

Multi-starred French chef, Olivier Roellinger, is spearheading a joint venture between Relais et Châteaux and Slow Food to develop a manifesto for the kitchens of the world’s top tables. “The world’s larder is in extreme danger, and chefs can and must make a difference too with big changes in their attitudes, reducing waste and saving energy,” he says. “In haute cuisine there is plenty of room for imagination to be applied to this approach to food,” says Anatoly Kazakov, one of Russia’s foremost young talents who cooks at Selfie in Moscow. “In Russia we face challenges from embargoes and unsustainability but we have used them to help us focus more on local ingredients – such as tiny cucumbers and seafood obtained from free diving – that are available within a radius of 100 to 200 kilometres from Moscow.” He showcased three delicious and subtly complex dishes that each featured just four of these natural ingredients, including fermented green tomatoes, sweet raw scallops, sour sorrel and young almonds.

Slow Food took the opportunity at the Salone to bundle many of these initiatives into its climate-change programme, called Food for Change (#foodforchange). “We need to communicate and share these ideas, regardless of what our leaders do,” says Richard McCarthy, Slow Food’s executive director in the USA. They range from reducing food waste and eating local, to meatless weeks and celebrating local food-producing communities, as well as to the well-established Ark of Taste (for saving endangered foods and their makers) and many other key projects. The Università Diffusa is a notable new project that will see students learn not only from academics but also from people with traditional skills in producing food and working the land. Chef Alice Waters is working on a proposal that would see all the schools in her area in California (and then hopefully many other states) offer free lunches to all their students from ingredients that are sourced locally and produced sustainably.

“These ideas are strong and easy to communicate,” says Carlo Petrini, Slow Food’s creator and president. “We need to take on health, climate change and other big themes using the political and social biodiversity that the Terra Madre network brings if we are to fight for the dignity and survival of our planet. We can’t accept our politicians’ defense of national interests in a struggle that challenges our global community. We will join with chefs and farmers in resisting their denial that climate change is happening.”




Words and Photos by Carla Capalbo

“To cook is to be a revolutionary today” Olivier Roellinger

With a large part of the 5-day activities back in their original home at Lingotto, this year’s Terra Madre-Salone del Gusto was easier to navigate, even if some of the local colour and charm from Turin’s streets were missing. The Oval is Terra Madre territory, with contadini, fisherwomen and other small-scale food producers from dozens of countries around the world showing and telling about their native ingredients and foods. The Terra Madre Cucina featured a list of wonderful cooks and chefs from this network. I ate delicious meals from Algeria, Malaysia, Portugal and beyond.

As I have been to every Salone since the initial one 24 years ago, I now use Terra Madre as an opportunity to attend the conferences and forums where I can listen to the food activists, economists, climatologists and other expert accounts and learn firsthand what the challenges to our food production – and lives – are. This year’s message was an incredibly bitter and frightening one to absorb. (And it was underscored by the unheard-of high temperatures in Turin in those late September days, of 30°C.) As Amitan Ghosh, the Indian author who has written extensively on the problems facing his continent put it: “Climate change – and global warming – are the biggest thing that has ever happened in human history.”


Every conference theme reinforced this assertion. Whether it was the issue of climatic immigration, desertification of land, uncontrollable flooding, the harm created by industrial livestock programmes, the acidification of the oceans, the impact of cement-production on the CO2 levels in China, the fight for water and land rights…the message everywhere was the same: We all have to address climate change in a more proactive way, and we have to do it now. Or it really will be too late. The focus has changed from a timetable that foresaw the rise in global warming reaching the 2°C that the Paris Accord is seeking by the end of the century, to something much much more urgent.

“We cannot continue with this ‘business as usual’ attitude,” says Luca Mercalli, one of Italy’s most prestigious climatologists. “If we don’t make radical changes now, it will be 5°C by the end of the century and that means a catastrophe for humans and every other living thing on our planet.” Too many governments are in denial about this (including the USA, obviously, though individual states such as California have decided to take matters into their own hands and not wait for federal action). The problems are so vast that they can seem overwhelming. Yet if we react now, as many people throughout the world are doing, we may be able to at least slow the tide.


What are some of the solutions proposed at Terra Madre?

Continue to read here.

Testo e foto di Redazione Cook_inc. 

Terra Madre apre le menti; invoglia a muoversi tutti insieme per apportare cambiamenti. Combina persone e pensieri, sapori e colori. Nessuno parla la stessa lingua, ma ci si capisce tutti. Si sorride senza sapere il perché (e senza volerlo sapere) per quattro giorni. Terra Madre stimola idee e accende fuochi. Ogni a Terra Madre ci si impegna a impegnarsi per il Buono, Pulito e Giusto per i due anni successivi. E due anni dopo si fa il punto della situazione.

Quest’anno il tema portante era decisamente potente, rivoluzionario fin dal nome: #FoodForChange. Perché i problemi nel mondo sono tanti e vanno affrontati da tutte le comunità. Per fortuna la voglia e le idee non mancano, anzi, si tratta solo di fare confluire tutte le energie nella stessa direzione. L’unione fa la forza, lo sanno tutti.

Abbiamo deciso di fare un piccolo recap dei main topics affrontati nel grande meeting torinese dedicato al cibo, buono pulito e giusto e a tutte le culture che ne fanno virtù. Saremo brevi, tweet size, ma vi consigliamo i link per approfondire quello di cui vi diamo un cenno (in inglese, ma sappiamo che voi come noi siete multicultural).

Women: “The question of women is based on a misunderstanding: that it concerns only women. This is a stupid mistake, because women’s issues are not just about women but about everyone. Also, and above all men. The talent of women is an extraordinary resource. To be valued, supported, admired” (Lella Costa) –

Climate Change: Extreme weather conditions, like droughts in many parts of the world and huge storms in other parts: “Let us find ways to go forwards that work with nature rather than destroying nature. We have had an industrial revolution and a cultural revolution a now let’s work to a restorative revolution.” (South African Government) Furthermore, Slow Food campaigns include reduction of the consumption of meat, concentration on local food and minimization of food waste. –

–  More Climate Change: and it’s connection to food: “Most chefs don’t think or don’t know that global warming is linked to food. They think about the energy and transport sectors, about overheated homes, but they never make the link to food. But we know that the food system has the greatest responsibility. That’s why we chefs have a key role to play to help fight this phenomenon: We can imagine our cooking with less meat, less fish, more grains, more legumes. We have to be active in reclaiming the freedom of seeds and in encouraging agroecological models and livestock farms that respect the well-being of animals and the environment. We chefs have the responsibility of feeding humanity. Together we can oppose industry” (Oliver Roellinger) –

–  Health and Food Safety: “Terra Madre is asking us to preserve the Planet. Choosing between Fast Food and Slow Food is our choice, it is a choice of ethics and sustainability!” (European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis) After the opening ceremony of the 12th edition of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, he also had the chance to meet and speak with the Italian minister of Agriculture Gian Marco Centinaio and Slow Food President Carlo Petrini, speaking very highly about the latter and calling him the “best teacher and guiding light for slow food.” – 

#foodforchange: There were five big thematic areas this year: Slow Meat, Slow Fish, Seeds, Food and Health, Bees and Insects, creating a program that would speak to everyone and attract the interest of different Terra Madre communities. Each area features thematic forums, for delegates of the network to share their experiences, as well as Taste Workshops and an Interactive Path, where experts guide visitors through the most important information. –

Arena: A place for the Indigenous Terra Madre network (ITM), the migrant network, and the youth network (SFYN) to talk about their experiences and challenges and a place for everyone else to learn from them: “youth are the key to the future, we need to have young people influencing all of the decisions that we make. And we are inviting them to come and learn and be influenced by the experience.” (Paolo di Croce, Slow Food International’s Secretary General) –

Petrini @ Arena: Petrini’s message was mainly for the Italians in the audience, yet it was about a topic all other nationalities could also connect to: “Not so long ago, we Italians were leaving our homeland, because there was no food, because there was no work, over 30 million Italians crossed the seas to the Americas, to Australia, to new homes. Let us remember that, now that we can offer a refuge to those facing now what we once did, who are now what we once were.” (Carlo Petrini)  –

Concludiamo con una piccolo esperienza toccante, tutta in stile Terra Madre, capitata a Constanze, la nostra stagista, alla sua prima esperienza nel grande mondo dei mondi di Terra Madre.

Surprise Pastry Workshop: Spontaneously being invited by Slow Food Carinthia to help fill their famous (and delicious) Kärntner Reindling and learn about how to make the sweet treat and about Southern Austrian culture and cuisine. Sharing the little stage with fellow Austrians, as well as my friends from Taiwan and Denmark was my personal Terra Madre Highlight, as this is what it is all about:

Combining love for food, with love for people.