Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2020 goes Live!

20 October 2020

The first five days of Terra Madre saw physical and digital events spreading the Slow Food spirit

Bringing together the delegates, members, and activists of the Terra Madre network around the table to carry forward a great collective project, raise public awareness of the issues which Slow Food fights for, all the more so while the spotlight is fixed firmly on the ongoing pandemic: the first five days of this thirteenth edition of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto followed the organizers’ intuition – Slow Food, the Piedmont Region and the City of Turin – who presented an event revolutionized in terms of both content and structure.

Opening the curtain. – Photo: Alessandro Vargiu

The opening

Even in this new format, the event manages to preserve the spirit that in past editions made it unique, its ability to address the urgent issues of biodiversity loss and the climate crisis through the prism of food, together with panels of international experts, reaffirming that guaranteeing good, clean and fair food for all is the only way out of our current crises, and to resolve the economic and social inequalities caused by the current systems that dominate the production, distribution and consumption of food.

Terra Madre 2020: a new formula open to everyone, everywhere

Taste Workshops in person and online – Photo: Alessandro Vargiu

The new format allows us to reach a wider worldwide audience with digital content in multiple languages freely available to visitors of this platform. A fundraiser has been launched to Support Slow Food: Acting together for the common good, in support of Terra Madre and the projects that Slow Food carries forward around the world.

Terra Madre 2020: a new energy

“These first days of the event were a very important benchmark: we tested the digital formats, verified the possibility of organizing physical events in complete safety and – above all – confirmed our ability to keep the “soul” of Terra Madre intact. During past editions, thanks to direct dialogue, personal contact, and the hours spent side by side, it was easy to breathe in the air of magic that given rise to so many projects, so many relationships and guaranteed the consolidation of the Slow Food network itself. The feedback received in these first days confirms that we have taken the right path: the energy that flows inside Terra Madre manages to overcome physical distancing and promises us six months of events that will leave their mark,” comments Paolo Di Croce, general secretary of Slow Food.

Appendino and Sala launch a new alliance – Photo: Alessandro Vargiu

An example of this energy is the alliance against food poverty between three large cities in Northern Italy (Milan, Turin, and Genoa), launched by the Milanese mayor Giuseppe Sala and immediately welcomed by the Mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino and the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci. This alliance is based on concrete projects like actions against waste, the recovery of food surpluses and food education. Another is the Manifesto for Good, Clean and Fair Wine launched by Slow Wine at the Fiera Sana in Bologna.

Terra Madre 2020: the Global Relay

There was no shortage of stories and suggestions from the Slow Food network in our Global Relay, starting with the Indian environmentalist Sunita Narain, Director General of the Center for Science and Environment, who participated in the Asian episode of the global relay: “I live in India, I work in India and in my world, we can see the impact of climate change happening in our lives. It is affecting the poorest, it is affecting the most marginalized. Let’s be very clear: if the poor are the victims of climate change today, the rich will also be victims of climate change tomorrow.”

“Since the beginning of civilization, food has always been thought of as precious, and, all of a sudden, it’s not anymore. Suddenly we think food should be cheap and it should be easy. And so this is the starting point of our Slow Food revolution, food that regains value and is built on the values of stewardship, nourishment, equality, and diversity. There’s no better place than the public school system,” said  Alice Waters, an American cook, and author, and a food education activist, during the North American episode.

Célia Xakriabá

“We have to urgently rethink this model of society because everyone agrees that the best, and most nutritious dish is the one rich in variety and color. But the same logic isn’t applied on a social level. And we are afraid of monoculture. And “monoculturization”. Because any type of monoculture kills,” stressed Célia Xakriabá, Indigenous leader of the Xakriabá people, speaking from Brazil in the South American episode.


Terra Madre in Turin – Photo: Alessandro Vargiu


Activities around the world

The feeling of fraternity that binds delegates and activists, founded on the sharing of ideas and visions that transcend languages and borders, has traveled through the digital network in the Forums, in the Food Talks, the Relay and Conferences and in recent days the themes of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto were expanded upon in Great Britain at Terra Madre Fringe; in Germany where activities were held to raise awareness among citizens on the impact of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) on our tables; while in the Philippines, there’ll besix months of events on food safety in crisis situations; in Montenegro with the Earth Market of traditional products and local crafts with over 40 exhibitors in Bijelo Polje; and at the Rebato festival in Castielfabib, Spain, in an urban-rural dialog, among others.

Terra Madre in the age of Covid

“The continued spread of the pandemic, which is affecting the whole world, including Italy, confirmed the correctness of the decision we took in the spring: hosting thousands of delegates from every corner of the world would have been impossible, and even a reduced event would not have been feasible in safe conditions. In the activities we have witnessed in these first five days we have instead found new tools and languages ​​to achieve the objectives of Terra Madre and we are working to enrich the six-month schedule. Meanwhile, the calendar for the next few days is already full of events: Terra Madre Salone del Gusto starts today! ” Di Croce continues.

Terra Madre’s journey continues with both in-person events where possible and digital events anyone can join from home.

Highlights include:

Protecting biodiveristy

The 20 Years in the Name of Biodiversity conference (held on October 17) in which Slow Food takes stock of the Presidia and Ark of Taste: where we are now and what the future holds. The conference also saw the launch the new Slow Food Presidia logo and the thousandth Italian product on the Ark of Taste.

Terra Madre Bergamo

On October 23 and 24, we talk about food policies with the administrators of the cities that have signed the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, or that are in the process of joining, and the Slow Food delegates gathered for Terra Madre Bergamo. Two days, organized by the Municipality of Bergamo, the City of Milan, and the Lombardy Region, in which we discuss how to feed large cities without depleting the planet’s resources.

Terra Madre Brasil

Do not miss the third edition of Terra Madre Brazil from November 17 to 22. The virtual meetings will be attended by farmers, activists, artisanal fishermen, cheesemakers, beekeepers, quilombolas (descendants of former slave communities), indigenous peoples, journalists, and cooks who make up the great Slow Food network. There are three main themes: food culture and biodiversity, food education and food security, particularly in schools, and the mobilization of civil society.