Slow Food and the Slow Food Youth Network organised ‘Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet’ in Milan to coincide with the closing month of the World EXPO 2015 which focuses on food and how we will feed the growing global population.
This unique event was held from the 3rd to the 6th of October and I was invited to take part by Slow Food UK and joined some 2,500 young farmers, food producers and food professionals from all over the world. Over the course of 4 days we spent time getting to know each other, exchanging ideas, techniques (and dance moves) to develop new sustainable initiatives to feed the planet.
As well attending as many of the talks and workshops as possible I was there photographing and recording some of the highlights in both my Indie Farmer magazine and Farmerama podcast capacities (along with team members Abby, Jo, Amy and Joy).
Here are a few highlights I captured from the 4 days…
Day 1 – Saturday 3rd October
Having registered the night before my first full day at the main venue Superstudio was all about getting to know some of the 2,500 young farmers and food makers. It was unlike any other farming event I’ve attended, everyone was incredibly open and upbeat and it easy to strike up conversations with small-scale independent farmers and food producers from all over the world. In the first few hours I met people who had travelled from India, Switzerland, Peru, the UK, Northern Ireland, Kazakhstan, Holland, Belgium and the US – a tiny fraction of the representatives from over 120 countries who had travelled to Milan for We Feed the Planet!
During the afternoon there were a couple of welcome speeches by SFYN chairman Joris Lohman and Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini who talked about the need to present an alternative ‘grass-roots’ vision of how we can feed the planet to the EXPO 2015
Disco Soup at Mercato – no barn dancing but plenty of great food and drink on offer and a DJ spinning some contemporary ‘hits’ to a crowded dance floor of ‘cool’ farmers..
Day 2- Sunday 4th October
Our first full day of talks and workshops. I went along to a thought provoking session on Women in Agriculture, a talk about Global Trade Agreements vs Small Scale Farmers (with Patrick Holdan on the panel), a discussion about a New Strategy for the Commons and caught the tail end of Edible Insects: Novel or Novelty. I also booked into a masterclass session on the history of pasta at the Italian Makers Village and got to try some of the best pasta I’ve ever tasted.
Day 3 – Monday 5th October
First up was inspirational American farm-to-table chef, restauranteur, author and activist Alice Waters talking about her life, setting up and running Chez Panisse (since 1971) and working with local organic farmers and suppliers. The ‘farmers in the spotlight’ session hosted by Patrick Holdan was also really interesting but keen to get stuck into something tangible I joined in the mini Hackathon themed ‘Hacking the Future of Food’ and worked on a agro-tourism business concept.
Day 4 – Tuesday 4th October
The final day held at the Food Expo – a huge purpose built business park on the outskirts of the city hosting pavilions from all over the world. All 2,500 farmers descended on Expo – we were addressed by a series of speakers, from young farmers and activists presenting the so-called Mansholt letter to world leaders, the Italian Agriculture minister and the Foreign Affairs minster talking about the importance of sustainable agriculture and a final rousing speech from Carlo Petrini – before marching through Expo with our placards to the Slow Food pavilion.