Why is Regeneration at the heart of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto

Regeneration is a transversal theme for Slow Food and during Terra Madre Salone del Gusto we will be discussing that idea from various perspectives, favoring an (eco)systemic approach to what food is today, and what we think it should be tomorrow, going beyond political boundaries and building on the savoir faire of communities all around the world. The pandemic has changed the way we live, and has impacted all sorts of relationships; between people, between communities, between humankind and the environment. The crises we were facing before Covid-19 have only gotten worse, in particular regarding social equity and inequality. And they’re made even more complex by the international geopolitical situation. In these years, Slow Food grassroots projectsa and communities have been strong examples of resilience and strength, adapting to a world which is continuously changing. At Terra Madre, they will show why they represent models to aspire to face the current climate, social and health crises and prevent future ones.

Regeneration can be found in nature: a tree that has lost one of its branches can grow it back; likewise, soil that has been impoverished by monocultures and chemical inputs can be regenerated thanks to farming practices that nourish the land, ensuring nutritious crops, diversified diets and dignified livelihoods – explains Edie Mukiibi, Slow Food Vice president – It’s also possible to regenerate abandoned mountain areas through sustainable livestock breeding and grazing, and reverse the depopulation of the highlands. Freshwater and saltwater ecosystems can be regenerated with the traditional knowledge of the cultures who handed down their techniques for centuries. Last but not least, cities can be regenerated by reducing the distance between food production and consumption. This distance, which is both physical and psychological, has widened over the last century, rendering the production of our food largely invisible to us. This gap can now be closed if we choose to focus again on where the food comes from and respect who produces it every day, promoting good, clean and fair food for all. In this respect, Slow Food promotes education activities to better understand and protect world biodiversity”.

Regeneration is also something we should aspire to for ourselves, and the food we eat. “If 2020 and 2021 were years of resilience, the 2022 edition of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto will be one of radical renewal that can and must begin with food: by improving our agricultural practices, our systems of production and distribution, by ensuring policies that truly empower communities to develop local food systems and diversify diets, from the largest cities to the smallest villages”, continues Marta Messa, Director of Slow Food Europe. “Talking about regeneration in our plates means looking for new ways of considering our food: enhancing the role of legumes, of wild fruits and of our rich biodiversity, for instance. During Terra Madre Salone del Gusto visitors have the possibility of deepening their understanding of three supply chains, each of which has a particular regeneration significance”.

If we want to achieve a real regeneration of cities, of the countryside, of villages, of food production and distribution, we must overcome the opposition between innovation and tradition, because this contrast relegates us to a nostalgic and marginal dimension – adds Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food. There is true innovation when a tradition is successful – . The most innovative and revolutionary subject that can implement real lasting innovation are communities because they are based on the emotional security that can practice a real paradigm shift. They are the expression of an innovation front that has firm roots in the territories and is aware that the present heritage is not only still alive but can yield widespread positive effects. Communities are about joy and happiness and can be both the tool for change and the goal of a new sociality. And with these we must embrace the long period of agroecological transition ahead”.

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