Keep Flying High

“Within our movement, different generations meet and this is one of its greatest strengths. The network you have built is extraordinary; now you need to keep on flying high and be brave”. This were the words that Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini used to address the young public of Slow F…uture, the meeting which gathered the Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) representatives at Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2012.

The young activists came to Turin from all over the world: from Brazil to Australia, the Netherlands and India. The meeting gave them the opportunity to illustrate their projects, share experiences and – more importantly – exchange views on the future of the movement.

During his speech, Petrini urged the young participants to become the “light cavalry” of the association, that go in, break through enemy lines and, if needed, “help out those who have been left behind.” The goal? “Building a universal polis whose greatest strength is diversity.”

Joris Lohman, chair of the Dutch youth network, also talked about internationality: “We must strengthen our political profile and fight new global battles for the future of food.” Big challenges lie ahead, reminded by Francesco Scaglia who, together with Ludovico Roccatello, took the stage to represent the 25 Italian groups of the SFYN. “Our generation can teach the principles of clean and fair to the world and truly change the food system.”

The agenda of the Slow Food Youth Network continued with the conference Say, Do, Hoe: Practices and Policies for Youth Agriculture, organized to discuss how new media can help young people to explore and communicate the world of food, how fundamental the contribution of the under 35 is to reinterpret and shape the future of farming, and explore the role of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) in this context. With only 7% of farmers in Europe below 35, it is important to outline the models of a new agricultural and food system where young people can be key players.

“Over the past few editions of Terra Madre, more and more young people have come into the Slow Food Network,” said Alice Waters, Slow Food vice-president. ‘I am so inspired by how articulate and global this movement has become. Right now it seems as though young people are leading the movement, and I feel like I am following THEIR cues which is the greatest thing and makes me incredibly hopeful for the future of Slow Food. I loved this video of them all dancing with Carlo.”

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