January Highlights at Terra Madre

28 December 2020

The new year is upon us already! And January marks a new chapter in the longest and furthest-reaching edition of Terra Madre.

So what’s on the menu for the start of 2021?

January 7: But first, coffee!

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, but most people only know of the arabica or robusta varieties. We begin January with a workshop to explore a lesser known-coffee, the Barako (of the coffea liberica family). It’s a variety from the Philippines, and one that has boarded the Ark of Taste. Barako coffee takes its name from the Tagalog word for wild boar, the animals are fond of dining on the plant’s leaves and berries.

January 22: Seeds, safeguard, preservation and sovereignty

An opportunity to learn about the importance of seeds and their role in the life cycle. The event will raise awareness about the importance of food sovereignty, the preservation and conservation of native seeds. We’ll also learn about the history of Miecodespensa, a group of agroecological producers in Colombia. They work together with the Bogotà Earth Market.

January 22: The health of planet and people

The Covid-19 has had an enormous impact in every country around the world. The outbreak of the pandemic and its devastating consequences have reaffirmed the importance of radically changing our lifestyles and food choices. These choices have a massive impact on our health and that of the planet.  The struggle to protect biodiversity is crucial. It’s the only way to ensure the survival of the human race and indeed all the species on Earth.

Can we deal with malnutrition by protecting and promoting biodiversity? Will biodiversity help us preserve the health of ecosystems? What role can politics play in promoting sustainable food systems?

Slow Food will release and discuss its position paper on food and health during the conference.

January 24: Cooks and school canteens: An alliance to feed future generations

Education requires consistency from educators. The messages we give in the classroom must be reflected in our daily behavior, both at school and beyond. Unfortunately, the use of single-use plates and cutlery, food that is both unhealthy and environmentally unfriendly, and badly-managed waste are frighteningly common in school canteens around the world. At the same time, there are plenty of virtuous experiences of school dining out there; people who work to make sure a meal eaten at school is in itself a moment of education. A meal is an opportunity for children to learn about concepts like food biodiversity, traditional gastronomic knowledge and local cultures. In this forum we discuss a different kind of canteen: one that’s good, clean and fair.

Kids at a table in a primary school cafeteria look to camera

January 26: Terra Madre Philippines – Wild Food Foraging

Indigenous forest conservation practices and wild foods in the Province of Misamis Oriental, on the island of Mindanao, the Philippines. Community members from two Higaunon communities will discuss their traditional landmarks and resources. Our focus is the traditionally-used wild foods, as a part of a joint forest delineation and monitoring activity. Participants from all over the world will be able to virtually watch the Wild Food Festival. During the event community elders will share their traditional indigenous knowledge on various wild foods with the youth.

January 30: From the Mediterranean Diet to Natural Food

The nutritional value of the Mediterranean diet is widely recognized by researchers and scientists. At the base of the pyramid are large amounts of fruit and vegetables, bread and pulses, vegetable proteins, and extra-virgin oil.

But is it sufficient to talk about “bread” in general? Are all oils the same? What are the best choices for our health? Are all fruit and vegetables as good as each other? Do hybrid and native breeds have the same nutritional characteristics?

Slow Food believes we have to go beyond a simplistic conception of the Mediterranean diet. We need to pay more attention to the quality of the foods we eat, and their effects on our bodies. We should ensure that our food is natural, meaning that we grow it with respect for natural resources. That means without the use additives, preservatives, starters, colorants, antioxidants, or industrial yeasts.

Last but not least, check the latest episodes of the SFYN podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts — in December we’ll be exploring the arid lands, in particular regenerative preservation practices being used around the world.