Carlo Petrini, founder and president of Slow Food, will tomorrow begin his six-day tour of India for a series of conferences on the topic of biodiversity and gender issues in food production. The participation of Petrini in these conferences is part of an ongoing, long-established collaboration between Slow Food and IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Petrini was invited to India by participants of the fourth Terra Madre global meeting of food communities, which took place in Turin (Italy) late last month. The meeting of more than 6,000 delegates of food communities – producers, fisherfolk, breeders, wild food gatherers, chefs and academics from 160 countries – also welcomed 60 representatives from India.
Petrini’s visit will include the following highlights:
On Tuesday 16 November, from 10am, at the North Hills University of Shillong (State of Meghalaya) Petrini will speak at the conference Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on People in Biodiversity Conservation, organized by NERCORMP (North-Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas) and MRDS-LIFCOM (Meghalaya Rural Development Society – Livelihood Finance Company of Meghalaya). The president of Slow Food will inaugurate the meeting and address the audience with a speech entitled The human side of biodiversity. Participating at the meeting will be academics and researchers, as well as representatives of NGOs, institutions and communities of the region defined as Asia-Pacific, including India, Japan and Australia. The visit to Shillong continues in the afternoon with a conference addressed to the students of Synod College and Martin Luther Christian University.
On Wednesday November 17, Petrini will take part in a culinary festival in Mawphlang, a village in the vicinity of Shillong, where he will meet cooks and representatives of local indigenous communities. The event, which brings together the inhabitants of 15 villages around Mawphlang, among them many young people, will be an opportunity to get to know the production and processing techniques of local products, and to share ancient traditions linked to food.
Sunday November 21, at Mera, a little town close to Ahmedabad, State of Gujarat, North-West India, Petrini will speak at the inauguration ceremony of MARAG, the Global Gathering of Women Pastoralists, that brings together around 200 participants (mostly women) involved in shepherding, coming from 30 countries. The objective of the meeting is to contribute to strengthening the position of women in shepherding, who are often not represented at decision-making levels, be it in their community or on the national and international forums of their sector.
He will also visit Manipur village in Ahmedabad where will meet with members of SEWA to discuss the importance of organic and traditional food.
Petrini affirms: “I would like Slow Food to be able to read the complexity of this country in order to restore a central position to traditional knowledge and agricultural practices, which are often associated with an idea of underdevelopment, but in reality are opportunities for growth as part of a sustainable vision of human and social progress.”