Closing Speeches of Terra Madre

The closing speeches for Terra Madre began this morning at 11:30am at the Palazzo del Lavoro, Turin. An eclectic group of food producers, chefs and even the Prince of Wales delivered the parting word to the nearly 5000 farmers.Speakers include the Prince of Wales, Carlo Petrini, Alice Waters (USA), Winona LaDuke (USA), Raul Hernandez Garciadiego (Mexico), Samuel Karanja Muhunyu (Kenya), Maya Yani (India) and Massimo Bernacchini (Italy), as well as Sergio Ciamparino Mayor of Turin, Giovanni Alemanno, Italian Minister of Agriculture and Enzo Ghigo, President of the Piedmont Region.

Prince Charles (UK)
Alice Waters
introduced the Prince of Wales as the “radical and courageous man”and escorteted him onto stage. He said he was “pleased to take part in this discussion of agriculture.” He called Terra Madre a “small but significant sign of challenge to the homongenization of food.” His talk focused on the importance of traditional rural agricultural societies and articulated the connection between globalization and the growth of slums, loss of self sufficient rural populations and cultures, explaining, “you can see why I am such a fan of the Slow Food movement.” The Prince mentioned he was skeptical of the benefits of genetically modified foods.

Carlo Petrini (Italy)
It was clear the President of Slow Food International was delighted with the exchange of knowledge and experience he witnessed at Terra Madre. He stressed that the participants of Terra Madre were not merely the recipiente of knowledge and expertise at the event, but were themselves the teachers. Petrini concisely stated “without agriculture, gastronomy doesn’t exist.” If there is another edition of Terra Madre, he promised, chefs from around the world will participate as well, acknowledging their debt to farmers and food producers. The four days of Terra Madre are just the beginning, the first movement of a grand opera, said Petrini. The real work and change will take place when the participants return to their villages.

Winona LaDuke (USA)
LaDuke, part of a native american tribe and an activist in protecting wild rice from patents, emphasized that food should be respected: “Food is our relatives. We are no better than they, and we are entirely dependent on them for survival.” She pointed out the Americas’ contribution to world cuisine, noting potatoes, tomatoes, corn and chocolate as originating in the Americas. She said the scorched earth policies of the past are being repeated by Monsanto and military regimes in the modern day. On the issue of water rights, she forcefully affirmed that water is for corn and not for mining and multinationals.

Samuel Karanja Muhunyu (Kenya)
Muhunyu, representing the Kenyan Network of Organic Farming, underlined the “limitless potential of co-operation and determination.” He also reminded the audience that although “Africa needs food aid in the short term, in the long term all people must be involved in the decision-making process.” He also called for us to “inculcate cultural integrity in our youth, who are our future.” He urged the scientific authorities of the world to be intellectually honest- to give their support to the real farmers instead of ‘misadvising’ the multinationals.

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