Terra Madre Terra Madre - Choose your language Ministero delle politiche agricole forestali Regione Piemonte Comune di Torino Slow Food
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Education at Terra Madre 2010

Food and taste education is essential to appreciate the complete picture contained in the food we eat— from its sensory properties to the diverse flavours which represent the culture and stories of a place and its people. The rich tapestry of knowledge and experience which is contained in even the most simple dishes transforms the raw ingredients into an adventure for the palate and the mind. Taste education gives us the tools and awareness to be able to make informed food choices, to recognize quality and to seek out good, clean and fair produce.

The Terra Madre network around the world organizes educational initiatives for groups of different every age. Food communities are an integral part of the Slow Food network and they constantly strive to develop educational projects in their countries and teach people to enjoy local flavors, defend traditions and protect the environment. In Senegal, for example, where there is significant poverty and agricultural biodiversity is seriously threatened, the local Slow Food convivium in Dakar has started a project with some Terra Madre cooks to promote the consumption of local cereals among children of 10-12 years. At the same time in Cuba, a project involves setting up training seminars for adults in order to encourage community organic vegetable gardens.

The world meeting of food communities in Turin was once again a great experience for all the delegates involved in educational initiatives: to meet, discuss and plan new projects for the future. Terra Madre 2010 hosted an area dedicated to education. A room was set up within the Oval for the purpose; it was equipped with two IT terminals where participants had the possibility of recording their culinary traditions and current educational projects.

Participants were also invited to explore the sensory program “To the Origins of Taste”. Presented in the 8 languages of Terra Madre, it began with an introductory video explaining basic sensory concepts and terms to describe food products. It then moved on to a series of tasting games divided into various sections—involving taste, sight, smell, touch and multisensory experience—designed to stimulate the senses. Finally participants used a pre-recorded lesson to guide them through a tasting of chocolate and apples. The information learned in the first two sections was reviewed in a comparison and evaluation of three varieties of apple and bitter chocolate, in order to discover which samples were the crispiest, sweetest, juiciest, most acidic, most bitter or had the most intense aroma.

The program for Terra Madre 2010 featured a range of other events involving food and taste education.

The Earth Workshop Slow Food in the Canteen (Sunday October 24, 10 am, Room B) addressed school catering, an area where new approaches to daily food can achieve significant results. As they buy, cook and serve millions of meals a day, school canteens have the potential to focus the market on virtuous behavior and local, quality, seasonal produce. The meeting was part of the “European Schools for Healthy Food” project promoted by Slow Food and funded by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, which involves 10 European countries (Italy, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia) in a campaign to promote the consumption of healthy and fresh food in schools.

A meeting of representatives of the European Slow Food in the Canteen network was also held. This network, coordinated by Slow Food as part of the same EU project, brings together European school representatives keen to improve the quality of canteens and develop educational projects for young people (http://dreamcanteen.ning.com).

Another workshop, Slow Food’s Educational Principles and Practices, (Sunday October 24, 1 pm, Room H) examined the “International Manifesto for Education”, which presented the theoretical framework supporting Slow Food’s educational actions. The meeting also drew up a guide to good practices in Slow Food’s educational activities around the world.

Still in the education area, there was a meeting on Terra Madre Gardens (Sunday October 24, 1 pm, Room D) and the presentation of a sensory education kit which has been organized by Slow Food in collaboration with the NGO Mani Tese as part of the project “From Food Security to Food Sovereignty. Citizens and Local Authorities towards a New Paradigm in Europe to Reduce World Hunger”. The kits, dedicated to taste education, the food sovereignty concept and good practices, were distributed to all the delegates interested in the project.

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