Slow Food

Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food, visits Ethiopia

Ethiopia - 28 Feb 08

Carlo Petrini, the President of Slow Food, will be in Ethiopia from March 3-7, 2008. He will meet local dignitaries and establish and strengthen communications channels among food communities, cooks, university representatives and others. Just back from India, Carlo Petrini hopes that his visit will lead to Slow Food building links to shorten the farmer-to-consumer food production and distribution chain in Ethiopia, too. At the Fifth International Slow Food Congress in Puebla, Mexico, last November, it was resolved to prioritize welcoming developing countries into the Slow Food association and Terra Madre network. Work will focus on helping these countries improve and preserve their traditional foods and agricultural systems and protecting local biodiversity. Thanks to the support of Italian Ambassador Raffaele De Lutio and his work with local, Italian and other international organizations, Slow Food now has a strong base from which to launch its association in this dynamic country. Traveling with Mr. Petrini will be Kenyan John Kariuki Mwangi, a 21-year-old student at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, and one of three newly elected vice-presidents of Slow Food International. Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic association, which was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. There are now 86,000 members and offices (in order of creation) in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the USA, France, Japan and the United Kingdom, and supporters in 130 countries. There are more than 1,000 Slow Food local chapters, known as Convivia, active in 80 countries, including 410 in Italy. On March 4, at the Italian Cultural Institute in Addis Abeba, Carlo Petrini will host a small-scale version of Terra Madre (an international meeting among Food Communities). He will bring together representatives from Ethiopia’s eight Terra Madre Food Communities, three Presidia (Slow Food projects to support small local producers), NGOs, ‘The Gardens of Ethiopia’ project, students, cooks and others. Mr. Petrini will also meet with Ethiopian scientists, professors and experts, among them Professor Tewoldeberhan Egziabhier. Furthermore, Mr. Petrini will meet with Ethiopian Authorities, such as the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Culture and Tourism. Mr. Petrini will also meet with Representatives of the African Union. On March, 7 Mr Petrini will travel to the Wenchi Volcano, where he will meet with the members of the Slow Food Wenchi Volcano Honey Presidium, as well as regional and national government representatives and members of the German Development Agency (GTZ). After the meeting, Mr. Petrini will visit the crater of the volcano.