Spotlight on India at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2012

Over 250 farmers, artisans, chefs and young people from Asia and Oceania are participating in the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre this October to showcase the rich food biodiversity of their region. The delegation is represented in the international Marketplace with Slow Food Presidia stands and a range of other products, and will participate in numerous Taste Workshops, conferences, educational activities and a biodiversity area. Some delegates will also participate in the Slow Food International Congress, held every five years to bring together the association’s local leaders and decide upon strategies for the future of Slow Food, the Terra Madre network and projects to defend biodiversity. 

India’s presence in the Marketplace will be highlighted through Slow Food Presidia, such as Dehradun Basmati Rice, cultivated using traditional methods at the foot of the Himalayas, and Multi Floral Forest Honey, known for its quality and the sustainability of its harvest methods. Learn more about this extraordinary honey here. Indigenous bees pay a vital role in not only the livelihoods of the tribal honey hunters, but also to the general health of the forest. Given the huge loss of domesticated bees in Europe and North America due to disease, an Indigenous Honey Network will soon be initiated in India to safeguard indigenous bees and provide an opportunity to sustain this great tradition among the honey hunters and other indigenous beekeepers.

The journey to discover the richness of India’s agricultural biodiversity continues with an exhibition space dedicated to four staple products that make up the daily diet of billions of people in the Asian continent: millet, rice, spices and tubers. This area offers the chance to learn about the hundreds of varieties of these products and will feature the recently launched Millet Network, which highlights the food security importance of this frequently forgotten crop to hundreds of millions of rural Indians, especially in these times of climate change and unpredictability. For further information on the Millet Network, click here.

Visitors also have the chance to learn about the Mumbai Earth Market, Asia’s first farmers’ market to join this Slow Food program. The market connects the city with organic farmers across the state of Maharashtra, providing access to fresh, organically certified, fruits and vegetables directly from farmers every Sunday.

Indian cuisine will shine in the International Kitchen where renowned chefs from India, Bhutan, China, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Australia and various African countries will take turns to cook traditional dishes for the event’s visitors.

As always, food education is a central part of Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, with a wide range of Taste Workshops and other activities involving producers, chefs and ingredients from Asia and Oceania. In the Taste Workshop Spices of India, renowned chef Manjit Singh will pass on his expertise in spices and highlight their importance in the kitchen as well as for health. To learn more about the history of spices and the spice trade that connected Asia and Europe, both adults and children can take part in three workshops hosted by the Slow Food Education team.

The event also provides an important space for the exchange of information, experiences and expert knowledge on a wide range of issues around food, the environment and social justice. On October 26 at 12pm, the conference Indigenous Peoples and Local Food Sovereignty, moderated by Phrang Roy of the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and with the participation of Mirna Cunnigham of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, will talk about the importance of supporting the rights of Indigenous peoples and the negative consequences that globalization, climate change and food aid programs have on their right to food sovereignty and the preservation of their skills. The conference will also be an occasion to talk about the next Indigenous Terra Madre, a gathering of Indigenous peoples organized by Slow Food that will take place in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya in 2014. Learn more about Slow Food’s projects in support of Indigenous Peoples around the world:

In the conference The Grassroots of the Revolution: Edible Education, which will tackle the pressing issue of food education for today’s youth, Namrata Bali from SEWA, the Self-Employed Women’s Association, will talk about their community radio program on traditional foods and projects in support of women in local communities in India. 

The conference No Bees, No Future on October 26 at 6pm will see the participation of Mathew John, Director of the Keystone Foundation, an association that works in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, South India, and supports the indigenous communities on eco-development initiatives, including those involved in the production of the Nilgiri mountains Multi-Floral Forest Honey. The conference will tackle the urgent issue of the declining population of bees due to the effects of pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture and will bring together beekeepers and researchers from around the world to talk about the importance of a more sustainable food production system and the fundamental role of bees.

 Details of the program and entrance tickets are available here:

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