New and Familiar Faces

There are the “experts” and the “novices”: those for whom Terra Madre is a habitual event since 2004 and those that are in Turin for the first time. They all share the common sentiments of being protagonists of a revolution and united by the same passion.

Amongst the new arrivals in the big Terra Madre “family” is Daniel Colombo, an Argentinean veterinarian who, along with his three sons, manages a farm which offers educational activities, raises 300 goats and produces organic fodder. He loves to write poems and even dedicated one, “Sonar y Concretar” (Dreaming and Fulfilling) to Terra Madre.

There is also Yohanna, a biologist involved with the Youth Food Movement from Tirol. Her plane was delayed and although she missed part of the opening ceremony at the Pala Isozaki, she still managed to feel all the emotions that the ceremony evoked and simply said, “It’s amazing”.

Upon hearing Carlo Petrini talking about the economic crisis, “Now the challenge begins and its time for you to act!” Abdelouahab, a Moroccan date producer clothed in his traditional garments, said, “We will overcome the crisis better than the banks, because we invest with our hearts and not in financial products”.

Gunartha and Adi from Indonesia are overwhelmed by the hospitality they have received from Italian families who welcomed them as they arrived late last night. “Our culture comes from very far away. We thought we would find wariness, instead we received only love. Amazing.”

Linda, or “Different Cloud”, from the Standing Rock Lakota Tribe, who warmly applauded the speeches pronounced in mother tongue by delegates of ethnic minorities from five different continents, is at Terra Madre for the second time. At this year’s edition, however, she is the representative for the bilateral project between South Dakota and Mongolia which is involved in traditional rice cultivation. “We met our fellow Mongolian colleagues two years ago. The idea of creating a network was the result of our meeting at Terra Madre. I visited Mongolia and discovered a whole new world”.

Otgalon, silent with sparkling eyes, stood in the middle of the audience, barefoot and dressed only by a piece of traditional cloth, sewn by his predecessors more than a century ago. Two days ago he caught a plane for the very first time. He is 82 years old and grows vegetables on the Philippine mountains and had never left his region. He is amongst the most elderly delegates present at Terra Madre this year and arrived in Turin with his family. He is the senior member of this great multiethnic family.

by Michele Miravalle
Translated by Anne-Marie Matarrese

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