Now that I have access to a computer with a larger keyboard (although all the keys aren’t in the same places) than my blackberry, thought I would give you a quick update on our travels to Terra Madre. After a few days in Santa Margherita and Viareggio on the Meditteranean coast eating frutti del mare and taking trains through the rich agricultural areas between the coast and Tuscany we have arrived at Torino for the main event! Yesterday was the opening ceremony for Terra Madre with about 5,000 delegates from all over the world, hundreds in their colorful native costumes. In addition to the customary local officials’ welcome speeches and Carlo Petrini’s inspirational speech about our need to transform the world’s food systems to save our environment, their were moving speeches from representatives of indigenous people from each continent. With international music and each country represented by presentations of their flags organized by continents, the program concluded with a rousing rendition of We Shall Overcome. Rick and I are probably in lots of photos circulating throughout the media because we happened to be sitting behind one of the most photogenic groups – some well-coifed West African women all wearing clothing made from material they produce from the Coca plant.
It was a pretty chaotic atmosphere prior to and after the program as you might imagine with 5000 people newly arrived, most of them arriving by Slow Food buses and leaving that way, with hundreds more (like us) arriving and leaving by taxis or city buses. But no grouches – everyone making the best of the opportunity to talk with each other and share information about their programs, etc. In other words, the typical Slow Food friendly chaos. I’ve included 2 photos I was able to take with my blackberry that will give you an idea of the flavor there: the presentation of the flags and people finding their rides back to their hosts’ homes or hotels. More tomorrow after I figure out the next stage.