The World Celebrates Local Food During Terra Madre Day

Tuesday, Dec. 10, will be a celebration of local food, all around the world. On this day, the international Slow Food network will celebrate fair, local food for the fifth year in a row. During this "Terra Madre Day" events will be arranged in countries from Italy to Tanzania to promote sustainable and alternative food systems to their communities and local decision-makers.

Last year, in 2012, almost 160,000 people in 130 countries across five continents participated in Terra Madre Day events across the globe, according to a press release. Events included everything from organized meetings and debates to picnics and film screenings to farm visits. Key organizers of the activities are people from the Slow Food network, Terra Madre food communities, chefs, academics, youth, school garden projects, and Presidia and Ark of Taste producers, although anyone is welcome to participate or organize an activity. The events can take place anywhere — from big cities to rural small towns, from farms to restaurants, and even in people’s homes.

Here are a few of this year’s planned events around the world:

New Orleans, U.S. — Slow Wine and Ark of Taste Food Truck: Slow Food New Orleans organizes an event that will feature Italian wines from Slow Food’s "Slow Wine" guide as well as the Fat Falafel Food Truck, recently named by Zagat as one of the top 10 must-taste food trucks in the U.S. To mark Terra Madre day, the food truck will prepare a dish featuring an Ark product.

Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico — 2a Reunión de Decrecimiento: The El Bajío-Querétaro Convivium and the Asociación de Rescate de Tradiciones Gastronómicas organize a conference program about how to defend the environment. A two-day program will show producers, chefs, academics, and students how to celebrate biodiversity by learning and creating a revolution of ideas.

Mulfingen, Germany — Traditional Dishes From the Hohenlohe Region: This event takes place in a school where two traditional wintry dishes made of local ingredients from the Hohenlohe region will be served during a convivial lunch among teachers and students.

Turda, Romania — Cultural Attachment to Our Childhood Recipes: Slow Food Cluj Transilvania organizes this event to honour traditional recipes and remember childhood dishes such as biscuiţi şpriţaţi. During the event, a survey about cultural attachment to food will be carried out to strengthen understanding of this relationship.

Shkoder, Albania — Celebrating Forest Products From the Balkan Countries: This event includes a food exhibition and degustation focused on distinct forest and pasture products, and varieties from the Balkan region (Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Republika Srpska, and different regions of Albania).

Seoul, South Korea — Celebrating Kimchi Diversity: Organized by Slow Food Youth Network in Korea, Slow Food Seoul will host the event "Kimchi Diversity." Participants will be invited to share and exchange kimchi recipes to revive interest in this traditional dish and increase awareness of the diversity of recipes and local variations that still exist, especially in view of increasingly hectic lifestyles that are putting this dish at risk of being forgotten and substituted by industrial kimchi.

Dar es Salaam Region, Tanzania — Eat Local - Improve Nutrition: Five communities involved in the Slow Food "Thousand Gardens in Africa" project will prepare local foods, mainly with products from their own vegetable gardens. As part of the event, three primary schools involved in the project will harvest produce from their gardens to discuss food values and cook and eat with their teachers. The Ark of Taste will also be the theme of various farmers markets. In addition, the participants will nominate different yams and Kimanshigha indigenous vegetables for the Ark of Taste catalogue.

Broome, Australia — Pindan Walnut Feast Day: Babagarra Aboriginal Incorporated organizes a Pindan Walnut Feast to celebrate Terra Madre Day. The organization will host an evening meal to celebrate the importance of Aboriginal women in securing food sovereignty, and their role in caring for their families and environment whilst continuing their age-old traditions of harvesting wild food plants such as the Pindan Walnut. The walnut was recently added to the Ark of Taste.

Mérida, Venezuela — 2do Eco Festival de la Papa Nativa: From Dec. 10 to 14, the second Eco Festival dedicated to the native potato will take place to promote the reintegration of autochthonous potato varieties into the daily diet of the Venezuelan people. Through moments of education and tasting, the event aims to illustrate the important role of preserving and reviving native varieties for gaining and securing food sovereignty, and bringing healthy and culturally important food back to the tables of Venezuelans.

The focus of Terra Madre Day for 2013 is saving endangered foods, as many factors, including the industrialization of agriculture and increasingly hectic lifestyles, are putting many traditional foods in danger. Slow Food works to select and document as many of these products as possible by adding them to the Ark of Taste catalogue. "The Ark" was created to draw attention to the risk of extinction that select products and foods face, and invite people to take action to protect them. Terra Madre Day will give an opportunity to describe and nominate new products, and to promote already existing foods and products in "the Ark." To find out more about events during Terra Madre Day, visit the event website.

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