Slow Food Networks and projects

What can we learn from an olive, a spike of wheat, an ear of corn, or a bean pod? What stories do they tell? If you arrive at Terra Madre through the main entrance to Parco Dora on Via Borgaro, your first encounter will be with some of the Slow Food thematic networks, which will welcome you to the event with stories of their history, practices, and ongoing work conducted in harmony with nature.

Slow Olive, Slow Grains, Slow Mays, and Slow Beans represent varied ways of cultivating relationships with the land based on attention to and respect for nature. We present these networks together in a single space because, as different as the crops and products that they promote may be, they are all animated by a shared spirit and common commitments: to nature, biodiversity, and the wellbeing of humans and the environment alike.

Come get to know the Slow Food thematic networks, their producers, and products, and keep an eye on the calendar of events so that you can take advantage of the many exciting opportunities for in-depth analysis, tastings, and intimate familiarization with these beautiful projects.

Slow Olive

For centuries, immense olive groves covering millions of hectares have been one of the distinctive features of the Mediterranean agricultural landscape. This extraordinary heritage is thanks to the tireless work of generations of farmers who have cultivated and cared for olive trees in the diverse territories of the region. An elaborate economy has developed based on olive trees, olives, and oil, made up of complex relationships between olive growers, oil millers, and merchants. These people and products have left an indelible mark on the customs and cultures of the Mediterranean Basin, and the noble olive tree has witnessed and even shaped the evolution of civilizations while simultaneously providing continuity across time and space. 

The Slow Olive space at Terra Madre highlights the factors that put the survival of traditional olive cultivation at risk, as well as the work of local communities—especially producers from the Ancient Olive Groves Presidium—to safeguard this irreplaceable heritage.

Slow Grains

Cereal grains are the most widespread crops in the world, and they provide daily food for the majority of people on the planet. Farmers have carefully selected seeds and crossed varieties for millennia in pursuit of high-quality grains and consistent harvests. In the 20th century, the need to feed a rapidly growing human population drove research for the discovery and development of varieties and techniques that could guarantee higher yields. Unfortunately, the advances that modern agriculture has achieved in terms of productivity have also led to the decline of traditional grain varieties and cultivation methods, resulting in an enormous loss of biodiversity.

The Slow Grains space at Terra Madre brings together producers, millers, artisans, and custodians of traditional grains who have dedicated themselves to recovering this priceless biological and cultural heritage and diversity.

Slow Mays

For 60 years, corn (whose scientific name is Zea mays) has been one of the most important goods produced by the agro-industry, providing the raw material not only for numerous foods, but also for non-food products. The meat we eat, the milk and cheeses, the sugar in snacks, spreads, and drinks—all are essentially made of corn. And so is the packaging in which these foods are transported and sold, the compostable plates from which we eat them, and the biofuels we burn. But we cannot let corn be reduced to just those few hybrid, genetically modified varieties that are aggressively promoted by multinational corporations and whose cultivation has severe environmental costs.

This is why Slow Food created the Slow Mays network, to support and enhance the work of small-scale farmers and communities around the world who produce and transform traditional corn in all its biological diversity and maintain the cultural practices that surround it. In the Slow Mays space at Terra Madre, you will discover just how rich in color, flavor, and texture the world of corn really is.

Slow Mays

And, last but not least… Slow Beans! Legumes are a simple, humble food whose immense potential often remains untapped. Fortunately, these magnificent plants are finally getting the attention and credit they deserve and their benefits for humans and the environment are now undisputed. Beans and other legumes are not only highly nutritious thanks to the large quantities of protein and other essential nutrients they contain; they are also fundamental for soil fertility due to their ability to fix nitrogen.

The Slow Beans network is made up of producers, cooks, and activists who are committed to maintaining and spreading legume biodiversity. Recognizing the intrinsic value of legumes, Slow Beans strives to share the pleasure of all their diverse flavors and the gastronomic cultures that surround legumes in different territories across the globe. The network cultivates relationships and knowledge, not just plant-based proteins; and, in the Slow Beans space at Terra Madre, they will educate us about what many define as the true food of the future.

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Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is organized by Slow Food, the City of Turin and the Piedmont Region. Join us in Parco Dora, Turin, from Thursday, September 26 to Monday, September 30, 2024, and explore how food can restore our relationship with nature. #TerraMadre2024

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