Made From Scratch: Terra Madre Day 2012

terra-madre-day-2012-slow-food-torontoWhen we set out to plan our Terra Madre Day Made From Scratch event we never anticipated how many great contributions we’d get from everyone. We heard from people by email, on Twitter and on Facebook. You shared some amazing photos, really excellent recipes, and stories about your own Made From Scratch meals.

As promised, we are sharing this with everyone here and we are delighted we can! Just look at some of these great meals! It’s awesome to look at it all again and be inspired to get back into the kitchen cooking good, clean, fair food from scratch.

While we don’t have to wait until next year to cook from scratch (NO WAY! Everyday is Cook From Scratch Day!) we are all really looking forward to Terra Madre 2013 when we hope to get the whole city (okay, the whole country!) cooking and sharing more great local good food together.

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Terra Madre 2012: Representing Canada, Red Fife Wheat

slow-food-toronto-terra-madre-dayBy Dawn Woodward, Producer delegate, with Edmund Rek

Ed and I were able to bring over 100 packages of our red fife based cookies and crackers. We sampled and sold our products to a very enthusiastic audience. The cocoa nibs were the favorite, though the seedy crackers and lavender shortbread were also snapped up.

I don’t know if I can quite describe the buzz of Terre Madre. To be surrounded by so many other artisans, fisherfolk, small farmers, vintners and brewers from around the globe showcasing their products was a once in a lifetime experience. We met Lewis, a young Scottish brewer (easy to spot, as he was the only one in a kilt) and traded our shortbread for his barley beer. Over many samples of all his incredible brews we heard about his Black Isle brewery, the only all-organic brewery in Scotland that grows their own grains, with an emphasis on barley.

We enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Andrew Whitely, of Bread Matters UK, about rye sourdoughs. We talked about how much “real” homemade bread should be the norm, and shared our enthusiasm for the importance of heritage wheats.

Ed befriended the young Austrian behind the pastry counter, where we ate freshly baked strudel and hazelnut croissants every morning. All of these connections have given me hope about the future of our business and local food systems.

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Terra Madre 2012: Life Lessons

terra-madre-day-2012By Voula Halliday, Slow Food Toronto Leader

Around the table is where I learned most of the life lessons that shaped me.

It is where my mother ate silently when distressed or anxious and where I learned that silence comes from many places, and that there can be great pain when a person’s voice is stifled or drowned out. It is where I waited for the right moment to share news with everyone; and where I learned that joy lights up a room and makes my father laugh louder than thunder. It is where my grandfather would let me devour one of the canned prunes my mother reserved especially for him (I can taste them now—plumy sweetness mixed with the longing that is nostalgia). I learned that even on a tight budget, the smallest morsel can be shared. And that good health comes from this sharing too.

As part of my reflection on the Terra Madre experience, and on this note of sharing, I will first admit that it is draining to care for, cultivate, motivate, inspire, and build the awareness in others that our fork wields a mighty mighty power that can change the world. As a dedicated volunteer caregiver of Slow Food I have found it a struggle on many fronts. But somehow, in the loud and crowded 80,000 square metre arena of the Lingotto Fiere*, in between a sudden and violent bout of food sickness (from an in-flight sandwich), a schedule jam packed with meetings and the 3 day congress sessions, I managed to find a way to my restoration.

It was a simple line that Carlo Petrini delivered. Petrini is most powerful when he expresses himself in small “statement of fact” terms. They are thoughts born from personal experience, easy to digest and absorb, and come at a time when perhaps we need it most. Like water into a sponge, here’s what I took in, most gratefully: “Sleep on it. Get up in the morning, and be over the rage”.

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Terra Madre 2012: Impressions and Reflections

terra-madre-20120-slow-food-torontoBy Evelyne Au-Navioz, Slow Food Toronto Youth Delegate

With 150 countries represented, over 600 international delegates, dozen and dozens of talks and labs, and probably hundreds and hundreds of products, Terra Madre (along with the Salone de Gusto) is impossible to fully take in. But navigating through the crowds and chaos, and among the many different cultures, common themes seemed to emerge for me:

– The need for education around good, clean and fair food
– The importance of starting this education earlier on with children
– A desire to have proper metrics around quality slow foods for especially economic, commercial and environmental reasons
– The impacts of genetically modified foods and seeds
– The struggle and pride of small producers
– Environmental trends and effects on land and sea
– Reflection and celebrations of traditions, terroir and wisdom passed down from generation to generation
– Complimentary and conflicting aspects between ‘old world’ and ‘new world’
– Organizational hurdles and accomplishments

A few questions came up for me while at Terra Madre when I heard a talk about food wisdom. A woman from Kuala Lumpur spoke about traditions and recipes being lost because the emphasis is now on girls to get an education and have a career over staying at home, cooking and raising children.

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Terra Madre 2012: 6 Things I Ate in Turin

terra-madre-2012-slow-food-toronto-3By Grace Evans, Slow Food Toronto Youth Delegate

For five days at Terra Madre, we’re talking about food all of the time; how to protect it, promote the good stuff, prevent the bad stuff, how to help people get it. We’re also eating it.

I ate a lot that week. We all did. Here are six things I ate that I am still thinking about:

1. Side-of-the-road sandwich
Maybe not what you were expecting for the first entry? Well it was amazing. As the Canadian delegates sat on the bus parked at the Opening Ceremonies before heading to our hotel in Rivalto, many of us were hungry. Some of us had been traveling for hours. Jetlagged and ravenous, we were crushed when the promised packed lunch from Slow Food did not materialize. With people’s temperaments struggling against their growling stomachs and unforgiving jetlag, there were some sad, tense moments on that bus. Until a few beautiful things happened.

Lisa, from Edmonton, wandered up and down the aisles offering people bread and olives that she had. She and Sara (Vancouver) attempted to communicate with the Italian bus driver to ask him to stop someplace for food enroute to the hotel. He agreed and brought us to a florescent-lit sandwich stand beside a gas station. Rosie (Toronto) used her Italian to help tired people order and the two lovely, patient employees at the sandwich stand sold us whole bottles of wine and big, hot, filling sandwiches with meat, cheese, sautéed peppers and onions. The experience turned a busload of cranky strangers into a laughing, roadside dinner party.

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Terra Madre 2012: Learning About the Ark of Taste

By Laura Buckley, Ark of Taste delegate

As the newly appointed chair of the Canadian Ark of Taste commission, I eagerly anticipated gathering with my counterparts at the meeting of the International Ark of Taste commission at Terra Madre. I went looking for answers about how to run our Canadian ark project. What I came home with is more questions.

There are just over 1,000 items on the ark. Four hundred of those are from Italy. In the Salone del Gusto, I tasted and learned the stories behind ark foods such as Carmignano’s dried figs, Saras del fen (a sheep’s milk ricotta from Piedmont), Nebbiolo wine from Carema, and myriad cured meats. How could we possibly do anything like this in Canada? Italy has a fraction of the landmass of Canada, double the population and thousands of years more history. Of course cataloguing traditional ingredients and artisan food production is much easier task.

There are almost 10 million square kilometres in Canada and we don’t have great traditions of artisan food production. Most of the artisan food producers we see in our farmers markets are making products based on European traditions. But as a young country, we have an important role to play in building our Ark. Before we cover our land with housing and industrialized agriculture, we need to save our heritage varieties of fruits, vegetables and animal breeds by introducing people to tastes beyond the standard varieties apples, lettuce, pork, chicken and beef. And by doing so we can encourage biodiversity and build on our immigrant traditions to have a wealth of delicious tasting foods for the future. We also need to catalogue our wild foods and traditions of our First Nations peoples.

It’s a big undertaking that needs the support of all convivia as well as the help of our American neighbors. Terroir doesn’t know political borders. If you look at the U.S. Ark of Taste, many of the items there are also part of our food history. Much of what grows in the west of the country has more in common with Washington, Montana and North Dakota than with the eastern provinces, which in turn share a terroir more similar to New York and the New England states.

As I reflect on the overwhelming experience of my time in Turin, I realize I learned a lot, even though much of it was different from my expectations. There are no easy answers to how to run the ark project in Canada, but I will continue researching and soliciting help to figure out the best ways to promote and preserve the biodiversity of our country.

Terra Madre 2012: A New Perspective on Overfishing


Off the coast of Peru, industrial scale fishing operations harvest millions of pounds of white anchovy each season. Anchovy is a wonderful food that has fallen from favour in many kitchens and has become all too difficult to find when shopping. So where is it all going? Most of the anchovy (and indeed most of the low trophic level fish) are being processed to make feed for animals. This includes pet food, chicken feed (Omega-3 eggs), and of course includes feed for aquaculture too – primarily salmon farming.

This is a great tragedy. Not only are we losing a delicious and nutritious food that has a long history in many cuisines, there’s also the problem that when these fish are removed from an ecosystem, they are no longer available as food for other larger predator fish, and their absence allows jelly fish to take their place and flourish. However, the jelly fish are not food for other predators, and in fact they feed on the eggs and larvae of other species.

Now this is not news; Dr Daniel Pauly of University of British Columbia has been speaking out on this for many years. What struck me and changed my thinking on the matter of overfishing, was the realization that when we remove the amount of fish harvested to make animal feed from global catch data, the amount that is being caught for human consumption is steadily declining over the past decade. This puts the problem of feeding a growing population in a different light, particularly from the perspective of Slow Fish. It is apparent that preserving the place of forage fish within their ecosystems and protecting the cuisines that have evolved to use these fish is critical to the judicious use of this valuable food.

Terra Madre 2012: First Time in Turin

terra-madre-2012-slow-food-torontoBy Eunice Lam, Slow Food Toronto Youth Network Delegate

Heading to the Toronto Airport on a cold and rainy October afternoon, I quietly contemplated what to expect from my first experience of Terra Madre. My taxi drove by the Toronto Food Terminal and I realized that this experience would be for me, about exploring connections and systems – both local and global networks – that affect people and places worldwide. I was interested to find out how the discussion would unfold around both the positive and negative aspects of these connections and their social, environmental, and economic effects.

Upon arriving to Turin, and after getting adjusted to the sheer scale of the Terra Madre, my initial reaction to the event was that it was truly amazing to be in the same place with so many interesting and likeminded people, who were connected to an idea that the current global food model has a lot to gain by considering “good, clean, and fair”, that we can and should do better to preserve cultural and biological diversity for generations to come.

Hearing inspiring stories from powerful speakers was a highlight for me at Terra Madre. The discussions around seeds, GMOs, pesticides, and education, were the most engaging because the speakers were so passionate and genuine. Vandana Shiva’s gift of explaining complex laws of agriculture and seed to the audience amplified the importance of taking a stand. Examples from edible educators on the long-term positive effect of food-based education highlighted the importance of rethinking curriculum for all schools.

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Slow Food Toronto in Turin: Terra Madre 2012


Slow Food, at its core, has grown from the value in sharing the pleasures of quality food and traditions. It is an act against the dizzying and costly fast lifestyle we have adapted to, and the fast food malnourishment that comes with it. This simple and joyful aspect of sharing—sharing the food, where the food comes from, the land, the history, the environment, and the cultures we are part of—has been the powerful motivation that Carlo Petrini has ignited to get people to embrace, what is now, one of the largest food movements in the world.

Over the years, Slow Food has evolved in countless wonderful ways, all over the world. A way to capture the energy of this growing new world order is what Slow Food Italy has done by hosting an international meeting in Turin. Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto, held since 2004, is the largest gathering of the global food communities, and an event held every two years.

It was overwhelming, as you will read from our Toronto delegates who share with you their own experiences here. But it was also the most inspiring assembly of experiences, where time and time again, we were all confronted by true facts reinforcing that we should never underestimate the power of the individual, and that the common struggles faced by activists all around the world, are not without rewards.

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Slow Food Toronto heads to Terra Madre in Italy!

terra-madre-day-logoSlow Food International approved 7 delegates from Toronto to attend Terra Madre 2012. Through an application process 3 youth members of SFT were selected to participate. Additionally, 3 mentors representing different areas of our Slow Food Community were selected to support our youth at Terra Madre, and with the project that they will be working on this year. (Stay tuned for the exciting announcement about the project in our Winter newsletter!)

From our leadership team, Voula Halliday will be attending representing Slow Food Toronto and Slow Food Canada this year. She has been asked to speak at the International Congress meeting and will be addressing international delegation with a 5 minute presentation about our local and national activities.

We will all be tweeting and sharing information, experience, photos, connections and learning from Terra Madre. See what people are tweeting about with #SaloneDelGusto#TerraMadre. Follow our youth and mentor delegates on twitter here.

More about Terra Madre + Salone del Gusto:

This edition of Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre will be held in Turin, Italy over October 25-29 at the Lingotto Fiere and Oval arena.

Carlo Petrini, Slow Food International:

“The simultaneous presence in Turin of all the association’s delegates, members of the Slow Food network and the Terra Madre communities will give us the chance to launch a new era for the movement.

 There is no doubt that this event will confirm how much the Terra Madre network has influenced the actions and ideas of Slow Food over the past eight years. The association’s International Congress will be enriched by being open to representatives from the Terra Madre food communities, which should help it take the next step and let not only its ideology but also its organization and structure be influenced by Terra Madre. Slow Food must revitalize itself by drawing inspiration from Terra Madre, avoiding excessively “structuralist” ways of thinking. Instead it must pay greater attention to emotional intelligence and austere anarchy, the inspirational and organizational principles behind the network. They represent the ability to stay open and sensitive to the whole world, to diversity, completely accepting its complexity, with the awareness that any overly rigid structure will never manage to interpret the extraordinary heritage we have built up over the years.

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