Terra Madre is a network of food communities, each committed to producing quality food in a responsible, sustainable way. Terra Madre also refers to a major bi-annual conference held in Torino, Italy intended to foster discussion and introduce innovative concepts in the field of food, gastronomy, globalization, economics. Terra Madre is coordinated by the Slow Food organization.
The first Terra Madre conference took place in Turin in 2004 and was attended by 5,000 delegates from over 130 countries. The program included 61 Earth Workshops at which the participants discussed topics such as organic certification, rural communication, rare livestock breeds, indigenous agriculture systems and small-scale fishing. The Torino (Turin) Terra Madre conference convenes every two years in the Fall. In October 2006 (October 26 to October 30), Terra Madre drew over 9,000 participants from all over the world. Presenters and attendees board in Torino as well as throughout the Piedmont region. Over 1,500 people in the Piedmont region opened their doors for Terra Madre delegates to stay with them as a place besides hotels. Terra Madre 2006 focused on the relationships between food communities, cooks, universities and scientists.
Terra Madre conferences
The format of Terra Madre is deliberately international, with presenters speaking in their native languages. Participants don headsets which relay simultaneous translation, similar to the presentation format in the United Nations General Assembly meetings. Admission to the event is paid, although the proceeds of admission go to pay for the cost of the conferences and their presenters and to support the objectives of Slow Food.
Terra Madre seminars are intended to focus on topics such as genetically modified foods (GM), the development of organic food, sustainability, water rights, and the impact of globalization on traditional food cultures.
Participants and presenters
Examples of food communities that are members of Terra Madre are:
- the North Kerry Organic Farmers’ and Breeders’ Community (Ireland)
- the community of banana and sugar producers from Negros Island (Philippines)
- the community of wine producers of Chã das Caldeiras (Cape Verde)
- the wild flower honey community of Catarina (Guatemala).
- Sea Presida
Terra Madre also hosts representatives of numerous international and local organizations working towards a better understanding of recent developments in food culture. For instance, at the GMO discussion group, Alexander Baranov of the National Genetic Safety Association (located in Moscow, Russia) discussed the safety of human consumption of GMO food. Baranov presented slides from experiments conducted by Dr. Irina Ermakova on GM soy. Ermakova tested a group of females rats, feeding one group regular food, the other group regular food plus traditional soy, and the third - regular food plus genetically modified soy. The offspring of the female group fed GMO soy had mortality rates of 55% (natal mortality, percentage of offspring born dead). The offspring also showed deformities and size differences. Baranov explained the need to conduct further testing, including the monitoring of human GMO consumption. The results of Ermakova's research have been published, but have yet to undergo peer review
In addition to presenting their studies, Terra Madre participants and presenters share ideas and propose policies to deal with emerging food issues. For instance, Baranov shared Russian ways of dealing with GM foods, such as a complete ban on GM foods in all schools.
- TERRA MADRE OFFICIAL WEBSITE (in Italian, English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian)
- Terra Madre Brasil (portuguese)
- "[http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2192755/List-of-Food-Communities-at-Terra-Madre-2006 List of Food Communities at Terra Madre 2006]". docstoc.com/. 29 October, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- http://www.oeko.de/oekodoc/277/2006-002-en.pdf Influence of genetically modified soya on the birth-weight and survival of rat pups. In: Proceedings of the Conference Epigenetics, Transgenic Plants & Risk Assessment. 2006, pp. 41-48.
- http://www.science-education.ru/pdf/2009/5/2.pdf Влияние сои с геном EPSPS CP4 на физиологическое состояние и репродуктивные функции крыс в первых двух поколениях. Журнал современные проблемы науки и образования. Биологические науки. № 5, 2009 г. С.15-20.
- Andrew Marshall, (2007) GM soybeans and health safety—a controversy reexamined Nature Biotechnology 25, 981 - 987