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This year Terra Madre will welcome the participation of natural fiber producers with the aim of creating the very first ‘textile network’ to protect and promote natural fibers and raise consumer awareness of their importance. In the presence of these producers, Terra Madre will inaugurate 2009, ‘International Year of Natural Fibers’ (IYNF), as declared by FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization).

Introduction:
Natural fibers are those made from natural sources, often handpicked and processed. They are classified according to their origin: animal, vegetable or mineral. Chemical fibers, on the other hand, are made using chemical processes and thus described as ‘man-made’. They are divided into two types: artificial and synthetic. Artificial fibers are man-made and manufactured through the chemical manipulation of a natural product (such as cellulose and proteins), whereas synthetic fibers are the result of a chemical process using petroleum and carbon and hydrogen compounds. For thousands of years the textile industry was based exclusively on the manufacturing of natural fibers (particularly cotton, wool and silk) up until the revolutionary commercial introduction of artificial fibers (in the 1930s) and synthetic ones (in the 1950s). The use of synthetic fibers grew considerably, overtaking the production of artificial fibers in the 1970s, and of cotton—the most common natural fiber—in the 1990s. In the last decade, the use of artificial fibers has remained constant, but the use of synthetic fibers has continued to rise, to the detriment of natural fibers. Natural fibers at Terra Madre Producers attending Terra Madre will have the opportunity to share experiences and exchange opinions on issues concerning natural fibers. These producers come from all over the world, including:

Animal fibers:
Wool: Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, India, Kenya
Cashmere: China, Iran, Mongolia
Mohair: South Africa
Alpaca: Peru, Italia
Vicuña: Peru, Argentina
Guanaco: Argentina
Lama: Argentina, Bolivia
Silk: China, India
Vegetable fibers:
Cotton: Brazil, Egypt, India, Peru
Linen: France, India, Italy
Hemp: Italy
Jute: India
Sisal: Brazil
Broom: Italy Natural fibers at the Salone del Gusto
Natural fibers will be on show at the Salone del Gusto to recall that, as the Italian proverb goes, ‘Taste isn’t only a matter of eating food but also of wearing clothes’, and that the concept of quality as ‘good, clean and fair’ has be applied to clothing too. A space will also be dedicated to natural fibers to allow visitors to feel their soft texture, see their marvelous colors, discover their origin (the animals and plants that produce them), and understand how they are handpicked and processed into stupendous clothes. Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto will highlight the presence of natural fiber producers at Terra Madre with an art installation at the Salone del Gusto. Seats covered with or made from natural fiber materials will be dotted around the Salone pavilions, and a free information booklet will be distributed to children to explain the fibers’ use and origin. Primary school parties will also be able to find out more at a special ‘Natural Fiber Workshop’. Natural fibers in BiellaThe City of Biella, renowned for its textile industry, will provide accommodation for the natural fiber producers visiting Terra Madre as a demonstration of the tight bond that on links the breeders and growers behind such precious raw materials. The desire to maintain this bond and the care and sensitivity that underpin the textile supply chain combine to provide the foundation for this initiative. The presence of natural fibers at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre has been made possible thanks to the support of:
Ermenegildo Zegna www.zegna.com
Schneider Group www.gschneider.com
Cotonificio Albini www.albinicot.com
Blulino www.blulino.com With thanks to the collaboration of:
La Fondazione Cittadellarte www.cittadellarte.it
Provincial Authority of Biella www.provincia.biella.it
City of Biella http://www.comune.biella.it/
For more information, contact: Elena Schneider on +39 388 8477684
from: Ufficio Stampa/Press Office Salone del Gusto – Terra Madre:c/o Slow Food: Tel. +39 0172 419653 /45/66/12 press@slowfood.it Fax +39 0172 419725