Mansholt Prize Awarded to Slow Food

BRUSSELS, Nov. 7 – Praising its work to preserve the environment ans promote sustainable agriculture, Commission President Romano Prodi today presented the 2002 Mansholt Prize to Slow Food, a worldwide movement committed to promoting the diversity of local and regional quality food.
“As we fashion tomorrow’s common agricultural policy, Sicco Mansholt’s ideas of a countryside with sound, financially viable farms that help to preserve and protect nature and the environment are very much alive,” Prodi said. And he added that “These ideas are also in tune with Slow Food’s work to preserve the environment by promoting sustainable agriculture that produces a wide variety of regional and local foods.” Prodi presented the award to Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement and its international president.
The bi-annual € 25,000 prize is named after Sicco Mansholt (1908-1995), one of modern Europe’s founding fathers and its foremost agricultural leader. The prize seeks to stimulate inspiring, integrating and innovative ideas in the field of sustainable agriculture and a fair trade system.
The Slow Food Movement is the first recipient of the Mansholt Prize. Founded in Italy in 1986, the movement now has 74,000 members in 50 countries. It is headquartered in Bra in the Italian province of Piemonte. One of Slow Food’s major projects is The Ark of Taste, a massive effort to rescue an increasingly endangered biodiversity. The aim is to identify and catalogue products, dishes and animals that are in danger of disappearing. Another important project is the Slow Food Award for the Defense of Biodiversity, which was first presented in 2000.
According to the jury report, the Mansholt Prize was awarded to Slow Food because “By promoting the production and marketing of regional and local quality food, and through its practical support to achieve this goal, the Slow Food Movement has made an essential contribution to rural development in Europe. In the Movement’s vision of rural Europe, sustainable agriculture is closely interwoven with nature conservation and the protection of ecosystems.”
There were 10 candidates for this year’s Mansholt Prize. They were judged by an international jury consisting of Arie van den Brand (Chairman, the Netherlands), David Baldock (United Kingdom), Alfredo Diana (Italy), Wouter van Dieren (the Netherlands), Henri Nallet (France) and Heinrich Wohlmeyer (Austria).
At today’s award ceremony at the Netherlands’ embassy here, Prodi called for “a more competitive” Union agriculture. “It has to produce goods in line with consumer demand and apply environmentally friendly methods,” Prodi said.
“At the same time, we have to ensure a fair standard of living and income stability in the country, in particular for the agricultural community,” he added.

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