At a time when the Middle Eastern crisis is worsening by the day, Terra Madre has become a setting where Palestinians and Israelis can work together. In affirmation of the possibility of peace between the two nations, Friday October 27 will feature Israeli and Palestinian chefs working together on a traditional meal from their shared territory.

The chefs are involved are part of the Chefs for Peace association, which since 2001 has worked to promote peace and dialogue between Israel and Palestine through the shared experience and language of food. The association brings together 25 Arab and Jewish chefs with a shared love of food that goes beyond political and religious differences. The association’s dearest ambition is to invite political leaders of both factions to sit at a table together and show them that if Jewish and Palestinian chefs can cook and eat together despite the deeply rooted differences in their traditions, surely it is possible for two populations to live together in peace.

The presence of eight Israeli and Palestinian communities at Terra Madre is another step toward this same goal. The relationships some of these communities established at Terra Madre 2004 have survived despite the region’s ongoing difficulties.

The survival of food systems in war-zones is the subject of one of the conferences during Salone del Gusto in the Sala Gialla del Lingotto. Some of the most serious (but often forgotten) victims of war are farmers, who are either forced to fight on the frontlines or left to battle the destruction of their land: fields strewn with mines, dangerous and inaccessible markets, crops destroyed or impossible to sell, animals confiscated or more often abandoned. This battle often continues long after the armistice because the rebuilding of crops and livestock is a long and difficult process.

A meeting held on Sunday 29 October at 4:00pm, called Food and Peace: The War Against Agricultural Products, will include the comments and experiences of communities from war-torn countries. It will be attended by journalist Phil Rees (BBC, The Guardian) and Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio.

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