What is Slow Food in Canada… and What is Terra Madre?
Slow Food in Canada is my raison d’etre. Get a coffee. Enlarge to full screen and turn up your sound. Grab a tissue. This production was created for the Canadian Booth at Terra Madre to offer the world a window into Canada’s Slow Food nation. It set the tone for our regional Canadian meeting in Torino and should provide you with a foundation of understanding for my personal food philosophy. I know everyone except the gal milking the cow, and surely must meet her! This triumph completely produced, directed and edited by Kevin Kossowan of Story Chaser captures the passion of the people within Canada, from sea to sea. We, and like minded individuals from 158 countries and 950 food communities throughout the planet came together in Torino, Italy,2014 at Terra Madre to taste, educate, meet, share and learn together about how to live and grow the best food on our planet in a sustainable fashion. That makes the world a very small, tightly knit unit.
Fishers gather. Artisan cheese makers gather. Charcuterie makers gather. Farmers gather. We are all co-producers of our food. What we eat and put on our plate daily in a political statement and affects the life and longevity of our planet. We work together to be defenders of our earth driven through relationships, conviviality, and project goals.
This year, I forfeited the Terra Madre experience for the Salone del Gusto experience. Both events happen simultaneously. I was too overwhelmed to dabble in each. My logic? The important foods of the planet are going to be relatively the same in two years. Salone del Gusto will be showcasing primarily the same products and providing primarily the same taste experiences in two years. I was intrinsically driven to conquer this experience this trip. I am a food blogger, a food writer, a traveler, a taster and a curious culinary participant. I must, so I did.
The myriad of experiences offered via Terra Madre were not so “in your face”. One had to read the guide carefully and plan each day. I had done this prior to arriving, without a moment to spare for the Salone del Gusto experience. Upon arrival… threw it all up in that air and resolved to do better as I will know better next time. The Terra Madre (Mother Earth) experience encompasses 5 full days of taste workshops, interactive learning classes, demonstrations, panel discussions and cooking classes as well as special meals and fieldtrips.
As a result, after examining the on-line program for hours, I didn’t even open the printed copy that came in my registration bag. I was also granted Press Accreditation, so had received vast amounts of extra information and felt fully informed. I was not.
Lesson Learned. Open your program. Read over the highlights, regardless of the hours spent on the online version. Had I done this, and had I not been alone, I would have known that Jamie Oliver was presenting at Terra Madre this year: not once, but twice. I missed him. Both times. That was a gut wrenching moment due to making simple assumptions. Many of us did not know he was on the agenda. Many did, but you can see empty chairs in the room.
Apparently it was an “up close and personal” interchange for all who attended. Sigh. Yet, I cannot be so hard on myself. There were countless moments missed. I know that. Yet, I was edified spiritually, physically, and intellectually via my Salone del Gusto experiences this trip.
Small cooking and tasting workshops were prepared to be packed with people.
Terra Madre kiosks and corners with tables and chairs filled with registered participants wearing headphones for translation purposes were nestled between booths, in obscure corners and in the most unexpected places throughout the Salone del Gusto arenas. Lectures, tastings, panel discussions highlight the vast array of Terra Madre workshop opportunities participants engaged in.
And now, for these next two years, we will be focused on work in our Canadian convivia, each within our own region. We will support our farmers and fishers, our chefs, producers, educators and families. We will work to increase our membership and strengthen our campaigns. We will work to strengthen and lengthen the ability of our planet to provide for our future. And we will do this in our small regional groups, within our national network, within our international community – knowing that together we will make a difference.