Young people, migrants and indigenous communities discuss the challenges of the future

The Berta Cáceres Arena opened its program at Terra Madre 2022 with an emotional ceremony that conveyed the strength of the network’s shared values. 

Murdered in 2016 for her struggles in defense of Indigenous peoples and the environment, Berta Cáceres has become an example and inspiration for activist communities around the world.

The opening of the Berta Cáceres Arena was proof of this: enveloped by the intense aroma of Mexican incense, a multi-ethnic audience composed of delegates, Terra Madre visitors and producers from around the world, united by their values and passions, welcomed the opening of the 14th edition of Terra Madre.

Delegates at the Opening Ceremony of the Berta Cáceres Arena. Photo: Alessandro Vargiu


Sara Savastano, director of IFAD’s Research and Impact Assessment Division opened proceedings in no uncertain terms: “Sustainability is the key to the future. The sustainability of food, first of all. But not just any food: it must be good, clean and healthy, as well as fair for both consumers and producers.”

Young people, migrants and indigenous populations alike all perceive their food as essential for their identity: for keeping their roots alive and renovating them for a fairer, cleaner and more sincere world.


“The key question is how to feed the world,” Savastano continued. “A sustainable and holistic approach is the answer, safeguarding biodiversity, fighting malnutrition and food insecurity and decreasing inequalities. The goals of the UN Sustainable 2030 Agenda must be our beacon, and we must join forces, as citizens, governments, financial and non-financial institutions, farmers, women and youth.”

Dai Kitabayashi of the Indigenous Terra Madre Advisory Board (East Asia), also reiterated the urgency of addressing the challenges we face in a comprehensive manner. He invited the audience to relax, close their eyes and enjoy the energy that being together can create. Thanks to those few minutes of concentration, the power of regeneration seemed materialize in the Arena. “We will not stop; we will make this unity our strength, and together we can govern our future!”

Dai Kitabayashi. Photo: Alessandro Vargiu


The future and conscious choices were the focus of the speech by Jorrit Kiewik, Slow Food Board member and director of the Slow Food Youth Network. “We are the first generation of young people facing climate change and we realize that we are the first generation that needs to start finding a solution. We have to show that there are alternative, sustainable solutions. And the wonderful thing is that we are together, here, and our strength is our being together. My gift to this table is a message, rather than a product: Vote with your fork. Every meal we share, every dish we put on the table can be a political choice. Don’t forget that food is politics. Every meal.”

In a moving final ceremony punctuated by incense and floral wreaths (related to an ancient Mexican tradition whereby important people are adorned with flowers) and complemented by a traditional Ainu dance, representatives of Indigenous communities brought a product of symbolic importance to their traditions and struggles, thus beginning the Arena’s extensive program, dedicated to youth, Indigenous and migrant networks and their efforts to confront our common problems with a shared conviction that is mutually strengthening: because together we are giants!

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