Slow Food is working to help communities around the world regain control of their local food system supporting small-scale farmers and artisan producers in order to eat better, protect the environment and maintain cultural diversity.

Access to good, clean and fair food

Slow Food in the Canteen 
France – Slow Food Bayonne has been working with local primary schools to improve their canteens for years now, and will reflect on and share their results on Terra Madre Day. A total of 4,000 pupils are now served meals by a local social enterprise, which hires the unemployed and disabled and uses produce sourced from within a 30-km radius. Once a week a completely organic meal is served and the children are responding very well to the new taste of their cafeteria. Terra Madre Day will provide an exciting opportunity and a landmark moment for the project. Parents, students, the local mayor and officials will come together to renew their commitment to the project which celebrates all that Slow Food stands for: good, clean and fair food and Taste Education.

The Bayonne project is also part of the Slow Food European Canteen Network.

Agricultural and food biodiversity

Endangered Foods and Local Dishes 
Uganda – The Central Convivium in Mukono will contribute to protecting local biodiversity at their Terra Madre Day event, “Endangered Foods and Local Dishes.” A large number of the fruits and vegetables once frequently eaten in the past are no longer commonly available in Uganda, and so the convivium has asked members from various parts of the country to track down some of these varieties and reintroduce them to the public on Terra Madre Day. The day will also include a seed collection to help prevent these foods from becoming extinct. The event will wind up with a closing party and a tasting of juices and fruits from across the country.

Small-scale food production

Glimpses of Terra Madre
India – To celebrate small-scale food production around the world, the people of Varanasi will share and relive the coming together of food communities at Terra Madre 2008 with a photo exhibition that tells the story of the five-day world meeting. This biennial event launched the Terra Madre network back in 2004, and brings together farmers and food producers from 150 countries, connecting them with cooks, educators and young people to discuss how to collaboratively improve the food system. Visitors to the exhibition entitled “Glimpses of Terra Madre 2008” will see many cultures, lifestyles and lands through the faces and expressions of small-scale farmers, fisherfolk and artisans from all around the world – together a united force for a better food future. The exhibition will also display images of the food culture of rural and urban people in India.

Food sovereignty

Down with Fast Food in Dhaka
Bangladesh – The right to knowledge and freedom to decide what to grow, how food is processed and what makes up our daily diet will be defended in Bangladesh as an expected 500 people rally and collect signatures against toxic and fast food. This campaign for the protection of slow and traditional food demands a halt to the proliferation of fast-food chains throughout Asia, as they threaten traditional diets, small-scale production and biodiversity. Exercising their rights for culturally appropriate and healthy food options, the group will meet in front of the National Museum of Bangladesh, collecting signatures from local people and raising awareness about the unhealthy options offered by global industrialized food providers.

Language, culture and traditional knowledge

Tribute to Mother Earth, Provider of All Life
Mexico – In the village of Cerro Armadillo, Terra Madre Day celebrations will be centered around traditional and religious rituals, starting with a thanksgiving and prayer for good harvests for corn, beans, coffee, vanilla and other local crops. Producers and their families will arrive at the Cerro Armadillo church early on December 10, bringing different regional products with them. Small parcels of seeds will be placed at the four cardinal points of the altar as an offering to Mother Earth. These will be blessed and presented by a young girl wearing a traditional, hand-woven Chinanteca dress. After the ceremony, an elder from the village will offer food prepared with over 40 locally grown ingredients. Corn will be used in many dishes, with white, black and yellow corn tortillas as well as tamales and fermented drinks. The producers’ families will all attend, joined by inhabitants from Tuxtepec and other towns from further away who are keen to be part of this unique indigenous experience. Vanilla from the Chinantla Presidium will also be offered to the visitors and the event will conclude with the ritual burying of a small amount of each product, to give thanks to the earth for the life she is giving us.

Environmentally responsible food production

Long Table Against GMOs
Germany – Producers and co-producers from the Ulm region will unite in their resistance to genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) with a long-table meal. Organized by the Alliance for a GMO-free Region (around) Ulm, the event will highlight the need for us to recognize that our food choices are strongly linked to the health of the environment, and draw attention to the harm caused by GMO crops and foods. Inspired by the advice of Slow Food International Vice-President Vandana Shiva to \”eat lentils, rice and vegetables,\” the meal will be centered on these foods, all provided by local farmers. The food offered will be an example of a perfectly healthy and balanced meal, and the event will highlight the need to eat less meat in order to move towards true sustainability.

Fair and sustainable trade

Along the Farmers’ Road
Chile – Fair and sustainable trade starts by building support for local producers in our area, and to encourage this the Frontera del Sur Convivium has organized a full-day excursion to visit farmers in the nearby region. Everyone concerned about the continuing production of good, healthy, local food is invited to join in a walk that will take them to visit the men and women who work in the fields and produce artisanal food, including producers from the Blue Egg Presidium. There will be time to talk with them, to understand how they produce their specialties and to buy food directly from them. The aim of this Terra Madre Day event is to emphasize to the local community how short food supply chains are one of the key elements of sustainable agriculture, allowing us to reach a fair financial outcome for producers and consumers alike.