By Sarah Moony
“Over the past few editions of Terra Madre, more and more young people have come into the Slow Food Network. I am so inspired by how articulate and global this movement has become. Right now it seems as though young people are leading the movement, and I feel like I am following THEIR cues which is the greatest thing and makes me incredible hopeful for the future of Slow Food. I loved this video of them all dancing with Carlo.” – Alice Waters
“The earth is our North star and the paper in which we write our story,” Vandana Shiva so eloquently professes during the opening ceremonies of Terra Madre in Torino, Italy. Many times that evening the theme was reiterated: the right to food is a fundamental right, not the privilege of a few, but the right of everyone on earth. While thousands of people thoughtfully listened to speakers from around the globe talk not only of the current food crisis, but the powerful changes being made, I had one thought: this evolution must be placed in the hands of the next generation. The foundation is being laid to allow future leaders the ability to obliterate famine and return control of our food and seeds to the people with traditional knowledge and expertise. These people are farmers, producers, students, educators, chefs, and most importantly, youth.
One organisation at the apex of the food movement is Slow Food Youth, also known as the Youth Food Movement, which was founded three years ago in Italy. Its mission was to form global networks of young farmers, cooks, artisans, activists, and students who are actively changing the future of food and farming. During Terra Madre, young people from five continents organised conferences, eat-ins, and other activities that showcased their current projects. Many of these events focused on the role of young people in the food system. There were also many discussions about how to create more interest in young people about the foods they are eating.
From what I saw at Terra Madre, there is certainly interest. There was also plenty of passion, and insight, and progressive thinking. The young people I met are not going to allow the future of food to be dictated to them by massive corporations and investors with no investment in quality or equality.
In 2013 the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union will undergo major reforms. European Slow Food Youth developed Food for Change, a project maintaining that CAP’s focus should be on the production of good, clean, and fair food. Sustainability is the core value of the new policy.
“One can’t always become sentimental when hearing youth speak out and then not follow this declaration through with action”, said Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food. “It is also fair that our leadership passes into new hands, individuals who represent the future evolution of Slow Food and who will bring new lifeblood to the association.” Youth delegates have traveled to Mexico, Europe, the UK, and the US, with proposals asking for cooperation and regulations for better food. With them, they bring passion, energy, and purpose to the Slow Food Movement – a movement which gives us optimism for the future of food and its place in the world.
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