Torino: The 5-day Slow Food carnival which saw the attendance of 220,000 visitors and 400 journalists from 63 countries (excluding the Italian press) has come to a successful end. People from around the world renewed their commitment of cataloguing their traditional food products for protection by nominating hundreds of new products for the Ark of Taste project.
BBC dedicated 100 interviews to Ark of Taste products from around 50 countries, which allowed the small-scale producers to tell the extraordinary stories related to their product.
For the delegation from North East India it was a unique experience. Many stayed with families who are committed to the Slow Food Movement and were looked after very well. The host families got together to organise parties for their guests and several of them even tried cooking and serving Indian food. It speaks a lot about Italian hospitality.
Commenting on this, Phrang Roy, Chairman of the North East Slow Food and AgroBiodiversity Society (NESFAS) said, ” I hope we too are able to offer similar hospitality to the 500 plus international visitors who will be visiting Meghalaya for the Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM) in 2015. We have lined up about 40 villages of Meghalaya for visits and interactions. These are villages that NESFAS is working very closely and will be taking our guests especially those from the farming community to meet and share ideas with our farmers.”
Carlo Petrini, founder and president of Slow Food, was seen walking around meeting up with all the delegates. He said that Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre has become the largest and most important event dedicated to food-related topics on a global level: The Terra Madre network consists of grass-roots people with a passion for conserving traditional knowledge, Petrini said.
“After these five amazing days, this network of physical people should never forget to use the virtual world and all the tools that modern technologies offer to stay in contact, share information and strengthen the union between thousands and thousands of food communities around the world,” Petrini emphasized.
Busloads and busloads of school children and college and university students thronged the venue savouring the thousand of cheese varieties; wines, beers, the famous Italian Christmas cakes (Panetone), quinoa, some of the best fruits, vegetables, herbs, teas (Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Sri Lankan, India) dried fruits from Afghanistan, Swat Valley, Turkmenistan, bread from Turkey and what have you. It’s a smorgasbord of a different kind.
On the last day (Oct 27) Rikynti Syiem, a weaver from Ri Bhoi spoke for BBC Radio explaining the meaning and philosophy of the Ryndia stoles and shawls. Rikynti is also a fish farmer and rears fish alongside her paddy fields.
What is significant about the Conclave is that countries at war with each other are the best of friends in Torino. The Israel and Palestinian stalls were located side by side. So were the stall of the African nations that otherwise are at conflict with each other. Food, farming, farmers and gastronomy are the common bonds that unite. They collaborate despite the political divides says, Paolo De Croce, Secretary of Slow Food.
For coffee lovers it was ecstasy to taste so many flavours from so many parts of the world. The hundreds of visitors from all parts of the world but mainly Italians showed great interest in Meghalaya Turmeric. Unfortunately NESFAS only carried exhibits and had nothing to sell. But they are waiting for the ITM 2015 to showcase their best products.