Terra Madre Day at the Earth Markets

Slow Food’s network of Earth Market celebrate eating locally every week, but on Terra Madre Day they made extra efforts with educational activities and festivities to join the international day of action. And with the promise of more Earth Markets in the making, several events around the world took the model as inspiration for their Terra Madre Day celebrations, presenting one-off Earth Markets as a taste of what may become a regular occasion.

Several Italian Earth Markets organized special events to celebrate Terra Madre Day, which also coincided with the Milan market’s first anniversary of bringing together sustainable producers from the urban fringe and nearby rural areas. Taste Workshops and children’s activities were organized and shoppers were also able to purchase from Presidia producers from the region as well as representatives of the Siwa Oasis Dates and Huehuetenengo Coffee Presidia.

Bologna, Imola and Smoggia convivia celebrated at the Bologna Earth Market with a festival of local street foods and folk music, offering wintry ingredients and dishes such as polenta and ragu, a pinzimonio of fennel, celery, cardoon and new oil, chestnut cake and mulled wine. Meanwhile, a second Earth Market for the region of Emilia Romagna and the eleventh for Italy was being launched nearby: The Colorno Earth Market started with around twenty producers selected with great care by the Parma Convivium and will become regular as of next spring.

Earth Markets were also busy in other countries, with interesting events happening at the Beirut and Bucharest markets. In Lebanon, Beirut Earth Market organizers took the opportunity to remind shoppers of the country’s incredible range of wheat varieties that is at risk of being lost, offering tastes of breads and dishes prepared by Terra Madre cooks using 20 varieties of wheat. Meanwhile, the Bucharest Earth Market hosted two discussions: an informal community meal of local products to bring people together to eat, chat and discuss a local food revolution as well as the PAES (Platform for a Fair and Sustainable Agriculture) meeting to discuss a future strategy for sustainable food and communities among various groups involved in rural protection and support for small farmers.

Among the events that took the Earth Market model to communities for the first time on Terra Madre Day, the new Cali Convivium in Colombia brought together producers from the local food communities with members of the Asoproorgánicos Organic Market and Terra Madre chefs who used the market produce to prepare dishes on-site. Sonia Serna, one of the founders of the convivium, commented: “We selected this event as the first official activity of our convivium, using the model of an Earth Market based on the principles of good, clean and fair food.”

Meanwhile, in the USA another young convivium also expressed their desire to join the international network of farmers’ markets. Slow Food Redlands celebrated their first year on Terra Madre Day with a dinner, where leader Stephanie Georgieff commented that they hoped to launch the country’s first Earth Market in early 2011, and that: “Slow Food Redlands is working with the Grove School’s Saturday morning farmer’s market and Italian earth market certifiers to get the project going.”

In the Netherlands, students at Hohenheim University where surprised to come across a mini-Earth Market of local producers of honey, organic produce and wine in the foyer of the Biology Faculty on Terra Madre Day. Hosted by the student association FRESH, organizer Steffen Schweizer commented that: “Most students were very curious and interested to meet and establish relationships with the farmers and food producers of the region, and happy to discover for themselves that food variety and quality doesn’t need to be expensive or unapproachable.”

In Serbia, Slow Food Belgrade collaborated with Gradske Pijace (municipal green markets) to introduce their local network of slow producers to a bigger audience of consumers by hosting an Earth Market on Terra Madre Day. Local farmers and producers were selected by the convivium and invited to sell their products directly to residents of the Serbian capital, at not cost to them.

For more information on Earth Markets:

Click here for more stories and photographs from the events that took place on Terra Madre Day.

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