“As a grandmother, I believe that it is crucial that we make time to pass on our recipes, cooking and growing skills and other crafts to our grandchildren,” said Slow Food Ireland coordinator Darina Allen to delegates gathered at Terra Madre yesterday in a discussion concerning food and taste education projects. “To encourage this, I would like to propose a Slow Grandmothers Day, to be held for the first time on April 25, 2009,” she announced.

Alice Waters, Slow Food vice-president and founder of the Edible Schoolyard program in the USA, sat side-by-side Darina to present the idea of an international fraternity of grandmothers in support of slow values. “I know that if children grow and cook food they will eat it. The Slow Food values of sharing and generosity are simple gestures that grandparents have the time to offer.”

Darina Allen encouraged Terra Madre communities and Slow Food convivia to take up the idea around the world, developing a network based on pleasure that could pass on traditional wisdoms. “So many of our best childhood memories are connected to eating with our grandparents, and we need to ensure that that we do not deprive our children of this joy,” she said.

In Ireland, the national network has already linked up with the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, which counts many grandmothers among its 40,000 members, and in India the Slow Food movement, led by Vandana Shiva, has also initiated a network of grandmothers.

Connecting generations and knowledge transfer have been key to the success of the Italian Slow Food School Garden project, where grandparents make up the majority of volunteers. In Northern Ireland, Terra Madre delegate Celia Spouncer is running a food education program with eight primary schools called `Runner Beans to Playstation’, a program in which children learn from their grandparents about growing, cooking and enjoying food and in return teach them how to use playstation.

Bess Mucke

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