Terra Madre 2020: A Guide

24 September 2020

When the specter of Covid first appeared, our first thoughts were for the victims, their families and the healthcare workers fighting the virus on the front line. Our second thoughts were for Terra Madre, our most important event.

We knew that difficult months lay ahead for Italy and indeed the whole world, and that we’d have to adapt the joyous festival of Terra Madre accordingly: it’s an essential part of our activity and indeed the life of the Slow Food movement.

It’s where our network is united, where new energies are born, where we reflect on our achievements and plan our future projects at two-year intervals. It’s where we share our narrative most widely, both with our network and the public who visit the event.

We’ve had to rewrite the rulebook and invent a new type of Slow Food festival in order to bring Terra Madre to the world. It’s been a real challenge, one we’re still dealing with. We know where we want to go, but the path towards our destination is anything but clear.

TERRA MADRE 2020: Global, physical and digital

“We can’t bring the world to Terra Madre? So let’s bring Terra Madre to the world!” This was the idea we began with, the keystone we’ve built the new event around. It’s physical, digital and global.


The most-commonly-asked question. And the answer is: not in the way we’re used to. We can’t bring delegates to Turin, nor their products, nor could we imagine the same festival air in a world still crippled by Covid-19. So we’re forced to reshape Terra Madre. And while it’s new form may be a far cry from the feeling of mass participation, it represents a symbolic determination among the peoples of Terra Madre, one that reinforces the values of Slow Food.

Starting in Turin and Piedmont, we present six months of digital and physical events, brought to life by the Slow Food network around the world.

And what happens on October 8?

October 8 is the opening day for our six month calendar of events. 

The official inauguration comes on October 10, starting from 5 a.m. Rome time, with a relay around the world.

The relay is a journey around the world in five episodes, a dialog on the great questions of our age.

In Asia and Ocean we start by discussing the climate and environmental crisis, then in Europe we consider how the Green New Deal and the Farm-to-Fork strategy can ensure a healthier, more sustainable food system. In Africa and the Middle East we concentrate on migration as a consequence of resource degradation and expropriation, and how land and water rights are all too often denied or violated. In South America we confront the issue of deforestation and the battles of indigenous peoples against discrimination, oppression, theft and genocide. In North America, finally, we debate food education, equality, inclusion and justice, and how all American systems, including the food system, are rooted in oppression.

What’s happening in Turin?

From October 8-12 in Turin we’ll being Terra Madre with some of our classic formats: the Dinner Dates and Taste Workshops, held between Eataly Lingotto and the Lavazza Museum.

There’ll be other events in Turin too: presentations, debates, guided tours, film screenings and more — but just in case it wasn’t clear: there will be no great marketplace at Lingotto. 

And online?

Other classic formats will be held online, like the Conferences, as well as new formats for 2020. All our digital content is free, though some events, like the Forums, require registration.


The first big conference will take place on October 8, and is dedicated to one of the key themes of this year’s event:

New geographies and possible futures. The conferences will continue over the course of the following six months, though we can already announce another important date: October 20, when we celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the Slow Food Presidia project.


A discussion space where our network takes center stage: producers from Slow Food Communities and Presidia, cooks, activists and experts who discuss themes around agriculture, food systems, sustainability, biodiversity and production models.

The Forum program starts on the opening weekend in October and will continue over the following six months. Participating in the Forums is free, but you have to register beforehand via email. You can confirm your interest by clicking “register” — you’ll then receive a link to the livestream.



Ten minutes talks on specific issues by writers, economists, philosophers, anthropologists, ecologists, educators, as well as farmers, herders, fishers and cooks, all of whom offer their own vision of the environment, agriculture and food: a collective framework of the future we want and need. All the episodes will be available from October 9.


How It’s Made is another new format for 2020, where you’ll discover new skills and techniques, expand your understanding and be able to reproduce the recipes presented by our guests in your own home. All the episodes will be available from October 9.


The second great challenge of 2020: is it possible, in a world still in the grip of a pandemic, to organize physical events? Unfortunately we’re working in uncertain times, but we haven’t given up on our ambition to meet physically, where health and safety allow. We have some physical events lined up in Turin for the weekend of October 8-12, and more are being planned by our network in Italy and around the world.

The program of physical events is online, and in continuous evolution: it will be updated as we go. In Italy alone, we’re planning for events in Bergamo, Naples, and Taranto.

Still not sure what’s going on? Check out our FAQ

Stay tuned for more details on our digital marketplace and what’s going on both in Italy and worldwide.

See you soon!

by Michela Marchi, info.eventi@slowfood.it