This year the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre are not only parallel and interconnected. After growing closer over the years and ultimately overlapping, they are now elements of
one major event. In 2006 the link was tightened, when they were held at the same time at adjacent venues, the Lingotto Fiere exhibition center and the Oval arena. This year the
third Terra Madre will be an integral part of the seventh Salone del Gusto, philosophically and practically.
The two events are guided by the same idea and the same conception of ‘good, clean and fair’ food
and agrifood production, as summed up by Carlo Petrini in his book Slow Food Nation (Rizzoli
2007). Twenty years ago, Slow Food started life as an ‘eno-gastronomic’ association and subsequently developed into an ‘eco-gastronomic’ association, concerned with the environment, sustainable development and social justice in agrifood production. It believes that food should be: good, in the sense that, whatever it is, it should be tasty and wholesome, capable of satisfying all five senses; clean, in the sense that it should be healthy, produced without putting a strain on the earth’s resources, ecosystems and environments; fair in the sense that it should respect social justice, meaning decent wages and working conditions for everyone involved in the supply chain, from production to distribution to consumption.
In the course of its journey, Slow Food has understood that: taste education is the best defense against poor quality, adulteration and standardization; local cuisines, traditional products and endangered vegetable species and animal breeds need to be protected; a new model of agriculture,
less intensive and cleaner, founded on the experience and traditional know-how of local communities has to be developed.
This is the only one capable of offering development prospects even to the poorest regions of the planet. The Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre bring all these ideas together.
Slow Food’s journey to the roots of food began with the first experimental Salone del Gusto in 1996, which launched the Ark of Taste project to catalogue agrifood biodiversity in danger of extinction. In 1998, the Salone presented the Producers’ Market for the first time (grasping, years in advance, the now widely acknowledged need to shorten the food supply chain), in 2000 it showcased the Italian
Presidia, projects to defend traditional food products, and in 2002 it welcomed the International Presidia, proof of Slow Food’s international expansion, while simultaneously the city of Torino hosted the second Slow Food Award for Biodiversity (which gave rise to the idea for Terra Madre).
The climax of all this work came in 2004 when the Salone and Terra Madre were organized together as a sign of SlowFood’s increasingly ethical and sustainable conception of gastronomy and agriculture. Hence in 2006 the network of small-scale producers was joined by 1,000 cooks, the repositories of culinary science and technique, and 400 university academics and delegates.
The 2008 event will be packed with novelties: the presentation of the Earth Markets, where small-scale producers of local food products display and sell their wares; the official launch of the second phase of the Presidia project, whereby producers will be assigned ‘good, clean and fair’ label; above all, Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre will have low
The project is part of the Torino World Design Capital 2008 program. Its aim is to progressively reduce the impact on the environment of events through sustainable consumption and management whereby outputs (waste) are converted into inputs for other processes, hence acquiring fresh economic value.
A concrete attempt will be made to reduce the environmental impact of every single activity at the two events—use of recyclable prop materials, differentiated waste disposal and recycling—and C02 emissions will not simply be compensated for but actually cut.
The Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre is the first event of its type to adopt this systemic approach. Next time round, in 2010, a set of ‘good, clean and fair’ guidelines will be drawn up to which all exhibitors must adhere.
From Slow Food Press Office