Torino: “Food is not a commodity. It is a living thing and we have to learn to respect food and especially those who produce it”, said Carlo Pettrini, father of the Slow Food Movement, to a rousing applause from the nearly five thousand strong audience gathered at the Pala Alpitour (Polaisozaki), Torino’s largest auditorium.
Stressing on the need to make farmers a community deserving of our respect, Pettrini said, “ We have celebrated all types of professions and given the Nobel Prizes to different intellectuals but have failed to respect the wisdom of farmers without whose produce we would not be here.”
Pettrini challenged the corporate food manufacturers to stop thinking profit and start thinking ethics. “When will be learn to make it about farmers. After all you cannot eat computer chips even if the world today revolves around Information Technology,” he said.
The Slow Food Movement or the International Terra Madre ( Terra Madre- is Italian for Mother Earth) is a growing movement with interested individuals and groups from all corners of the earth assembling at Torino, Italy to learn from each other and share their anxieties at the destructive nature of the large scale use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers.
At a session on Earth Gardens young scholars from Turkey, Belarus, Mwangi (Africa) and India, represented by Janak Preet Singh a Research Associate with the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) made presentations to an interested audience amidst huge applause for what they are doing.
The conference hall was bursting at the seams and a highly motivated audience sat on the floor to listen to the news initiatives taken by schools in different parts of the world to revive the interest of children in ‘growing food for themselves, their friends, family and community’, as Andy Nowak of the USA said very succinctly.
School gardens are not just about potatoes and tomatoes, said the moderator of the conference Christina Peano, but about all kinds of plants and their use which can be sophisticated.
Janak Preet Singh emphasized the core values of the Slow Food Movement which is to recover our food systems and to make food all about health and nutrition and not about satisfying our hunger and also about getting young people to start becoming agricultural scientists cum farmers early in life.
The speaker from Belarus, Tatiana Krasulina said the idea of school gardens is to train them in ecological education because ecology is closely related to nature. “The problem with school education today is that children are aloof from nature and learning is replaced by a virtual relation with nature.
An initiative taken by young people in Turkey is admirable. Sharing his experience, Faruk Ali Taptik said the Municipality was planning to demolish an existing urban lung space to make way for a concrete park but young people protested and have now turned that into an Urban Garden.
In the US students now have to go through a school internship in gardening before they get their certificates. “New school gardens – slow food garden with the philosophy of good clean and fair food is part of the school garden curriculum,” said Andy Newak, addin.
Taste yourself children leanr to prepare fresh food. Learn what part of plant to eat- learn how to feed their friends. Give to food that it is not just about growing food. Students are now learning to prepare food from scratch. They are putting up salad bars to feed the community.
Nowak also spoke about food literacy which is lacking in our curriculum. Food literacy means school administration investing more money in school kitchens and procuring local food.
In Belarus people are talking about agricultural historians who remind people of their food habits and also of the agricultural tools used.
Read more at http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2014/10/24/110-countries-participate-in-intl-slow-food-movement/#169OHdoUFIoTtFJj.99