Every two years, Slow Food International hosts Terra Madre – a unique conference, in Torino, Italy. This year, Terra Madre will be held October 21 – 25, 2010. It is an international forum that gathers sustainable food producers, farmers, cooks, educators and activists from around the world to share their stories and traditions, as well as their innovative solutions for keeping small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production alive and well. The delegate application period is now open, and all of the application information is below.
The Slow Food Seattle community has an abundance of eligible and qualified people in each of the categories: sustainable food producers, farmers, cooks, educators, and activists. The activist category is new this year, and encourages a wide variety of committed people to apply. Slow Food USA wants to select a delegation with a diverse set of interests and experience. Note the section below outlining what they term “food communities” who might apply as a complete unit.
Slow Food Seattle sent two delegates in 2008: graduate student and now Slow Food Seattle board member, Arwen Kimmel and board member and seafood/fishing advocate, Amy Grondin. Our chapter raised money to help Arwen offset her airfare, and they both returned to share this tremendous experience with our members.
Terra Madre was a once in a lifetime experience for me personally and professionally. As a graduate student I made invaluable contacts and collected in both the Earth Workshops and from Presidia Vendors that have helped to frame my dissertation work in chocolate and coffee. Personally I made friends I think I will have forever, ate food that was life-changing and gained an even greater appreciation for Slow Food and its goals.
– Arwen Kimmel
Delegates are chosen from all over the world. Slow Food International provides accommodations, meals, and local transportation. Observers, who must also apply, may attend any conference event, but must provide their own accommodations, food, and local transportation.
The Salone del Gusto – the world’s largest artisan food marketplace – is held concurrently, in part for delegates to gain a deeper sense of how small-scale sustainable producers can market their products effectively.
We urge anyone motivated to join the world community in finding ways to make the food system better to consider applying. If you have any questions about Terra Madre, or the application process, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Details from Slow Food USA:
What is Terra Madre?
This is the fourth edition of the conference, held biennially in Torino. It was started for small-scale sustainable food producers from across the world – currently 150 countries – to talk about sustainable production and inspire each other and share best practices. It now brings together people from all the links in the chain – farmers, educators, cooks, activists, students.
This year, the conference will be smaller by 25% across the board (not just the US delegation). Even with the size reduction, it is still a very large conference, with thousands of people in attendance.
What it means to be a delegate:
Paid conference attendance, housing and food and ground transport in Italy (paid by Slow Food International). Delegates are responsible for US ground transport and round-trip airfare to/from Italy.
What we’re looking for:
Food producers, educators, activists, cooks, students – people who will bring diverse experiences to share and who want to bring their experience back home. In particular: people who have never been before.
Bringing Terra Madre home:
We know some of you have expressed disappointment when delegates have attended but not connected with their Slow Food community back home. We’re always looking for ideas on how to help those connections happen. For example, if you are helping to fund someone go to Terra Madre, it is reasonable to ask them to come back and give a talk to your chapter.
To download Arwen Kimmel’s PPT presentation that she shared after returning from Terra Madre 2008, click here. (PDF – 28MB)
We are eager to bring new people to the event so the maximum number of people have a chance to experience what Terra Madre has to offer.
How to apply:
To be considered, applicants must be at least 18 years of age, and a food producer (e.g., farmers, fisher-people, wild food gatherers, etc.), cook, educator, student or activist.
You must complete and submit both parts of the application by May 15th (postmark date for the mailed portion). We will let you know the results of the application process by June 15th, 2010. We will contact you when we have received both parts of the application.
U.S. delegates pay for their own air travel to and from Italy, and ground travel in the U.S. Acceptance as a delegate includes conference attendance, in-country travel and meals, and housing for the duration of the event (an approximate value of $1,500). Please note that delegate housing is available only for delegates, and not for spouses or family members.
We encourage you to apply in a group as a food community:
- Geographic community: e.g. several different types of food producers who sell at the same farmers market could apply as the Ann Arbor Farmers Market food community; a chef and some of the food producers who supply to her restaurant could apply together as the Raleigh Growers and Chefs.
- Shared Production community: e.g. Gravenstein Apple Growers or American Raw Milk Cheese producers.
Representing yourself/selves as a food community is a wonderful way to demonstrate the ways in which different links in a production chain work together.
Application, Part 1:
Part one of the application is here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NJBRQ86 It should take no more than ten minutes to complete. If you are unable to fill this out online, please contact the Slow Food USA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application, Part 2:
Once you have completed part one, you can use part two of the application to be creative, and share your work. Please send in part two via regular mail:
c/o Terra Madre Coordinator
Slow Food USA
20 Jay St, Suite M04
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Please answer all of the below questions that are applicable. Feel free to cut and paste language from a current source, such as your farm/restaurant/program website. Creativity is encouraged!
There is a minimum word count of 400 words (no maximum). The more you tell us, the more information we will have to make our decision.
Food producer: please describe your farm, facility, etc. Describe the guiding philosophy; growing practices; certification; labor practices, and anything else you think is important for us to know.
Cook: please describe the role you play at your establishment. Please describe your food philosophy, sourcing practices, how you work with (or would like to work with) producers, and anything else you would like us to know.
Educator: please describe the program you lead or work for. What is its guiding philosophy, structure, pedagogy?
Activist: please describe your organization or project, your role there, and your goals (both organizational and personal).
For all applicants:
- Include pictures of you, your farm, your restaurant, your school garden, your project, your food festival.
- Feel free to include testimonials from your students, employees, customers, etc.
- Please let us know if you are connected to the local Slow Food chapter in your community. If so, which one? How?
- Why do you want to come to Terra Madre?
- How do you intend to “bring Terra Madre home” to your community?
For more information, check out the U.S. Terra Madre Network portion of our web site.