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Paths of excellence

Posted by Greg Benchwick Thursday, October 25, 2012

Small producers highlight their work at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre event in Turin
By Terra Madre
Etson is a young Peruvian from the Colca Valley. Edwin is a chef in southern Bolivia. Fernando collects a sought-after shellfish, the loco, in Chile. Saleheddine cultivates fields in a northern Moroccan biosphere reserve. What do these four have in common?

They are all working to try to guarantee sustainable and socially inclusive development based on the value of biological and cultural diversity in their countries, a huge challenge. They all believe in the value of the natural and cultural heritage that makes their land, their history and their way of life unique, a heritage that is the result of thousands of years of interaction between nature and migrating populations, millennia of overlapping and integrating people, products, customs and beliefs.

They all want to preserve this identity, and above all to promote it. They want to turn the uniqueness that originates from diversity into an economic and social resource.

Regina, who promotes social gastronomy in Rio de Janeiro, and Pavlos, whose family has been producing excellent olive oil in the hills of Thrace for centuries, have the same objectives. They have joined many other farmers, fishers, cooks, food experts, young leaders and representatives from local organizations in setting out on an ambitious and innovative path, leading towards local development and the spread of fair work conditions.

They are all the protagonists of a pilot project run by Slow Food and the Rural Territorial Development with Cultural Identity program of Rimisp – Latin American Center for Rural Development.

The project, run by Slow Food and support of the Ford Foundation, is called “The paths of excellence: Discovering Territories through Products and People”. It will be presented at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Turin, the first stop for a traveling exhibition about the project.

The exhibition will present 12 different areas often characterized by inequality and marginalization, in both developed and developing countries in Latin America, North Africa and Europe. The public will be able to meet the custodians of each area’s gastronomic and cultural traditions, taste their excellent products and experience a true journey of discovery via images, sensations and flavors.

From October 25 to 29, the people who live and work in these areas will be sharing the beauty of their land and the wealth of their culture with the visitors and producers of the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre.

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