Many of the events at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto feature special guests: intellectuals, writers, economists, philosophers, anthropologists, ecologists and educators who, together with farmers, herders, fishers and cooks, offer their vision of the environment, agriculture and food.

Among the people we’ve invited, the following have already confirmed their participation:


Fritjof Capra

Austrian physicist, economist and writer. Among other things, he’s worked on sustainable development, ecology, and the theory of complexity. His fame is mostly due to his bestseller The Tao of Physics. With The Turning Point and other following works he distanced himself from purely scientific and philosophical questions to discuss politics, economics and ecology, which, according to Capra, derive naturally from a new conception of science.

Img. Basso Cannarsa

dave goulson

Dave Goulson

Biologist, conservationist and Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, his specialist subjects are ecology and hornet conservation. The Daily Telegraph has called him an “eloquent entomologist” for his capacity to appeal to a wider public – and not just an academic audience – regarding the secret lives of insects and birds.

Jessica Fanzo

Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics at the John Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, USA. From 2017 to 2019 she was co-President of the Global Nutrition Report and a UN panel of experts on food systems and nutrition. She has worked with Columbia University, the Earth Institute, the World Food Programme, Bioversity International and the Millennium Development Goal Centre at the World Agroforestry Center in Kenya.

Carolyn Steel

British architect and and prominent exponent of the urban ecosystem, Steel is the author of Sitopia – How food can save the food, where food is considered a central element for confronting the difficulties and opportunities of our urban, digital era. A provocative and exciting vision of change and how we can prosper on our crowded, overheated planet.

Salvatore Settis

Archaeologist and art historian, Director of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa from 1999 to 2010. Among his books on the landscape and the necessity to defend this common good are Paesaggio costituzione cemento (Landscape, constitution, cement: the battle for the environment against civil degradation) and Costituzione incompiuta. Arte, paesaggio, ambiente (Incomplete Constitution: Art, landscape, environment). In 2006 he was named by the European Commission as a founding member of the European Research Council (ERC).

Larissa Bombardi

Professor at the faculty of Philosophy, Literature and Humanities at the University of São Paulo. A geographer, she’s particularly focused on human and agricultural geography. In recent years she’s concentrated her studies on the use of agrochemical products in Brazilian farming.

Anthony Myint

Chef, activist, author, and founder of Mission Chinese Food and Zero Foodprint, a nonprofit organization mobilizing the food world around agricultural climate solutions. For his commitment to tackling the climate crisis he was awarded the Basque Culinary Prize 2019 and the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year for 2020.

Marianeli Torres Benavides

Professor in the Faculty of Social Communication at the Central University of Ecuador. She has worked on food sovereignty and environmental sustainability with several universities and NGOs and is the national coordinator for the defense of the mangrove ecosystem in Ecuador.

Sarah Frazee

Sarah Frazee has worked in Indonesia, the Philippines, Madagascar and Ghana, and for over ten years has been the director of the South African program for Conservation International. Today, with Meat Naturally she works on the issue of animal farming, aiming to create better market access for African herders and highlighting their fundamental role in restoring degraded ecosystems.


The protagonists of the  New Geographies and Possible Futures conference which kicks of the digital events at Terra Madre are:

  • Virginie Raisson-Victor, an analyst of international relations specializing in geopolitics, Director of the French research center Lépac, and author of Atlas of the World’s Futures, a reflection on a variety of potential scenarios, complete with graphic maps, which invites to take charge of our destiny.

  • Franco Farinelli, former Professor of Geography at the Universities of Bologna and Professor at the Universities of Geneva, Los Angeles (UCLA), Berkeley (UCB) and the Sorbonne in Paris.

  • Paul Collier, British economist, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, and director of the International Growth Centre. Among the most influential economists on the global scientific scene, in The Future of Capitalism Collier reflects on the failures of capitalism with a pragmatic proposal to correct its defects. He starts from a fundamental assumption: that beyond producing profit and providing jobs, capitalism must necessarily be ethical in order to function.

  • Davide Papotti, Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Parma. 

Virginie Raisson, ph. Astrid di Crollalanza
Paul Collier
Franco Farinelli
Davide Papotti



  • Sunita Narain, Indian environmentalist, activist, and director general of the India-based research institute the Centre for Science and Environment. In 2016 she was included in a list of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time magazine. The same year, she appeared in the documentary Before the Flood, where Leonardo di Caprio discusses the climate crisis with some of the world’s foremost experts.

  • Bruce Pascoe, Aboriginal writer and Professor of Indigenous Knowledge at the Sydney University of Technology. In 2004 he published Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture, a new look at the past of Australia, showing that Aboriginal populations had advanced systems of food production and land management long before the arrival of foreign colonizers.

  • Daekwon Hwang Bau, writer, farmer and environmental activist, representing the network of ecovillages in South Korea. In 1985 he was arrested by the military government and spent 13 years in solitary confinement as a political prisoner. Upon release he wrote A Weed Letter, in which he describes how observing weeds and plants in prisons allowed him to maintain his mental and spirital health and strengthen his ecological conscience. He has founded and continues to participate in numerous activist organizations including the Eco-Community Movement and the Movement for Peace in Korea.


  • Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, scientist and teacher in Kenya specialized in horticulture, agronomy and vegetable physiology. Recognized worldwide for her pioneering research work on indigenous African vegetables, which has inspired consumers, producers and other researchers, as well as influencing governments to consider the importance of indigenous plants for nutrition, health and the economy.

  • Saad Dagher, agronomist and environmentalist specialized in agroecology and terraces for water retention. Co-founder of the first Community Supported Agriculture project in Palestine, he’s considered the father of agroecology in Palestine and the initiator of the Palestinian Agroecological Forum, which promotes agroecology and supports direct relations between producers and consumers.

  • Agnes Kirabo, Director of the Food Rights Alliance, a coalition formed in 1999 to unite civil society organizations that work around sustainable agriculture, fair trade and food security in Uganda. She works to guarantee access to food and to combat poverty, hunger and malnutrition in Uganda.


  • Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Stockholm. He was previously Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Center and is one of the world’s leading experts on sustainability, with a particular focus on “planetary boundaries”, a concept introduced to define “safe operating space for humanity”.

  • Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, the Oceans and Fishing since 2019, previously Minister for the Economy and Innovation in Lithuania. He plays a fundamental role in the development of the European Green Deal and the implementation of the environmental and climatic objectives of the European Commission.

  • Valérie Masson-Delmotte, researcher and paleoclimatologist from France, who has worked on numerous national and international projects, among which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of which she is co-chair. She’s also a member of the French Research Strategic Council, senior researcher at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and member of the French High Council for Climate Action (HCAC). She has published numerous books for children and the general public to raise awareness of our individual and collective responsibilities.


  • Célia Xakriabá, teacher and indigenous activist of the Xakriabá people of Brazil. She’s known for her participation in debates and conferences held in Brazilian universities to promote the rights of women, the land and indigenous education. In 2015 she was the first indigenous representative at the Department of Education of Minais Gerais, a role she continued until 2017. 

  • Virgilio Martínez Véliz, chef at the Central restaurant in Lima, Peru. His philosophy of gastronomy is based on the recovery of native ingredients to support and protect the ecosystems of Peru. In his Alturas menu he offers a meal from the varied altitudes of his country, with ingredients from 20 meters below sea level up to 4100 above. His constant research for native ingredients led to the Mater Initiative, a research center started to explore, analyze and document the forgotten ingredients of Peruvian tradition.

  • Miguel Altieri, Chilean agronomist and entomologist, Professor of Agroecology at the University of California and considered by many the father of agroecology. He has published over 200 scientific papers and numerous books, including agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agriculture.


  • Chanock Yisrael, farmer, activists and “student of the Earth”, he’s committed to the struggle for racial justice and a supporter of a plant-based diet as a way to improve the health of the community. His urban family farm is transforming its local area, using agriculture as a tool to involve and raise awareness of collective responsibility in his community of Sacramento, California.

  • Leah Penniman, farmer, teacher, author and activist fighting for food sovereignty. Long active in the struggle for racial justice, she’s the co-founder and co-director of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, a project run by people of color who work to dismantle racism in the food system. She’s also the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land, and a winner of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award. 

  • Alice Waters,

    cook and author, activist for food education and owner of the Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. In 1996 she created the Edible Schoolyard project, which for over 20 years has contributed to spread the practices of urban gardening and the value of a healthier food culture among the younger generations. She’s also Vice President of Slow Food International. Thanks to her work, Michelle Obama converted the garden of the White House into a organic farming workshop.

  • Matthew Raiford, “CheFarmer”, sixth-generation farmer, chef and owner of the restaurant The Farmer and The Larder. He’s also coordinator of the program of Culinary Arts at the College of Coastal Georgia. He’s a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and has studied Ecological Horticulture at the University of California Santa Cruz.