Salone Special: Spotlight on India

From producers of ancient rice varieties to renowned chefs, India’s Slow Food network and projects will be represented at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre event this October, joining over 250 farmers, artisans, chefs and young people from across Asia and Oceania to showcase the region’s rich food biodiversity. The delegation is participating in the international Marketplace, with producers from every continent, and contributing to numerous Taste Workshops, conferences, educational activities and a biodiversity area during the five-day event from October 25-29.

India’s presence in the Marketplace will be highlighted through Slow Food Presidia, such as Dehraduni 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 the harvest methods used by tribal honey hunters. To tackle the urgent issue of declining bee populations due to disease and the effects of pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture, the Indigenous Honey Network will soon be launched in India. During the Salone, the conference No Bees, No Future will bring together beekeepers and researchers from around the world to talk about the fundamental role of healthy bee colonies for a more sustainable food production system.

The richness of India’s agricultural biodiversity will be revealed in more depth in an exhibition space dedicated to four staple products that make up the daily diet of billions of people across 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.

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. Chef Manjit Singh will also host the Spices of India Taste Workshop, passing on his expertise in spices and highlighting their importance in the kitchen as well as for health. To learn more about the history of spices and the 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 through conferences on a wide range of issues around food, the environment and social justice. The conference Indigenous Peoples and Local Food Sovereignty, moderated by Phrang Roy of the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity, will discuss the negative consequences that globalization, climate change and food aid programs have on the rights of Indigenous peoples 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.

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.

For full event details and tickets (50% discount for Slow Food members) please visit the website.

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