Saturday, October 25, 2008

Terra Madre 2008 Day 2

So I was wrong about the number of delegates at Terra Madre. There are around 7,000 producers, chefs, and educators present. And the US has quite a presence, with around 800 delegates, the largest group outside the host country, Italy. Washington state has 19 delegates here!

I got my facts checked by none other than Linda Neunzig, of Snohomish county's Ninety Farms, shown in the attached photo with Mina Williams and Anza Meunchow, aslo from WA state. What a trip, to travel halfway around the world and find your neighbors.

The day began with ma familia and I diving, more like squeezing, our way through the parallel event, Salone Del Gusto. The Salone is the largest food trade show I have ever seen, both by number of booths and number of spectators. Provinces from around Italy proudly displayed their regions' bounty. You could spend all day sampling Italian wine, cheese, meat, and oils.

But our goal was the 'addendum' show in the back, the Slow Food pavilion. This attached trade show was smaller and therefore more manageable to ingest and explore. It was also what we traveled halfway around the world to see, with booths from different countries showing their heritage foods. On one side of the hall were the formal booths (photo of Madagascar booth with Puget Sound Fresh bag!) that the public could explore. On the other side of the hall was the delegate space which has become an informal marketplace of world food and crafts. I have included a photo of one of those booths, from Thailand. Notice the "No GMO" sign on the wall.

The day's conference sessions were comprised of meetings of each country's delegation. The US delegates (large group photo) heard impassioned speakers discuss the reasons why we do these things we do: support heritage foods and their producers. Of note, the new president of Slow Food USA, Josh Viertel, emphasized the need for Slow Food to more actively support social justice issues and organizations. Carlo Petrini stopped by and welcomed our county to his home. He warmed this heart by saying "Because of you (US delegates) my love for your country only grows". This was great to hear after the boo I heard yesterday.

Onward! Today are separate meetings and more wading through the world's food market. Ciao!

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