Terra Madre 2016: How food systems can inspire positive solutions for biodiversity, resilience and global challenges

by Paulina Schwaner & Rahul Antao
Terra Madre delegates at the opening ceremony parade

IFAD brings 40 delegates from IFAD-supported projects and networks across Africa, Asia and Latin America to Turin to discuss key challenges facing smallholder farmers

The 10th edition of the Terra Madre event, held in Turin 22-26 September 2016, stood as a staunch reminder of the strong socio-cultural, ecological and economic ties the world shares. A creation of Slow Food, Terra Madre is a collective global food movement. This year’s event highlighted how grassroots communities can provide a model for a sustainable future.

This year’s event witnessed the largest delegation yet, as over 7000 people from 143 countries assembled in the in Turin to share knowledge and discuss ideas grounded in Slow Food’s principles of good food, clean production and fair working conditions. The event hosted 1,000 food communities who were invited into dialogue with more than 500,000 visitors at 900 side events.

Terra Madre’s inaugural press conference, sponsored by IFAD and the Christensen Fund, was held in the Indigenous Terra Madre Network Room. Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food, expressed deep gratitude towards IFAD for its collaboration. Also in attendance were Dario Franceschini, the Italian Minister of Culture; Sergio Chiamparino, the President of Piedmont Region; and Chiara Appendino, the Mayor of Turin.

IFAD was represented by 40 delegates from funded projects and networks based in 15 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. IFAD’s contribution was made visible through stalls, conferences and the Indigenous Terra Madre conference room. IFAD staff and consultants actively participated as presenters and moderators in various forums, conferences and workshops on issues relating to indigenous peoples, youth and the IFAD-supported Presidia Project.

Adolfo Brizzi, Director of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division, gave an address titled “Let's not eat up our planet – Climate Change” about the incentives that drive smallholder farmers behaviours and how to reconcile their short-term needs with the long-term task of conserving the natural resource base and sustaining market failures. Mattia Prayer Galletti, Lead Technical Specialist at IFAD’s Policy and Technical Division moderated the “Farmers 2.0” panel; Antonella Cordone, IFAD’s Senior Technical Specialist on Indigenous People and Tribal Issues moderated a panel on “The UN's SDGs: an opportunity and challenge to be taken up by indigenous food communities.” Meanwhile, Rahul Antao, consultant IFAD Youth Desk, presented activities of the IFAD Youth Desk during a special event on migrants, and Paolo Silveri, CPM Brazil, spoke at a special event involving all Brazilians present at TM.

Here are a few highlights from the Indigenous space and the Youth Booth with IFAD participation:

Friday, 23rd September 2016 – Day 1
Indigenous Communities participating in  a session on Discussing the Future of Indigenous Terra Madre and the Involvement of Slow Food"

Workshop: Discussing the Future of Indigenous Terra Madre and the Involvement of Slow Food.

The first day at the ITM Space started with the discussion of Indigenous Terra Madre network and the important role of Slow Food in shaping a good, clean and fair future. The panel consisted of Paolo di Croce, from Slow Food International; Phrang Roy, Khasi from India and the coordinator of the Indigenous partnership (IPAFS); Melissa Nelson, from The Cultural Conservancy/Slow Food Turtle Island; Anneli Jonsonn, Sápmifrom Slow Food Sápmi, Sweden and Amina Duba Tende, Borana Pastoralist from Kenya. The key messages were that indigenous peoples pushing for a stronger sharing and exchanging platform could broaden the depth of the ITM network.

Workshop: Biodiversity, Resilience and Global Challenges: How the Indigenous Food Systems Can Inspire Positive Solutions

The second panel discussed how indigenous food systems can inspire positive solutions for biodiversity, resilience and global challenges. The moderator was Elifuraha Isaya Maasai, from Tanzania, and the panel was composed of Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Yon Fernandez de Larrinoa, the FAO Indigenous People Team Leader; Vanda Altarelli, President of SONIA; Phrang Roy; Philip Amoah, from the Asante tribe of Ghana and coordinator of Slow Food Network in his country.

Dali Angel co-chair of the Global Indigenous youth Caucus with Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur on the rights on indigenous peoples. Photo credit: @IFAD/Francesca Borgia

Workshop: Building Future Food Leaders - YOUTH FOCUS

The first day also saw the gathering of the Slow Food Youth Network, who convened to discuss how future leaders could build on the lessons learned and outcomes of the Youth Food Academy. This session was sub-divided in three country-specific examples (the Netherlands, Mexico and Uganda) and held on three separate days. The workshop presented an alternative education that gives young people a chance to get involved in sustainable food systems. Furthermore, it reiterated the need for enhanced empowerment and leadership amongst young people to drive the sustainable development goals forward using the concept of the Food Academy.

Saturday, 24th September 2016 – Day 2
Terra Madre food communities showcasing their produce at the Salone Del Gusto. Photo credit: @IFAD/Francesca Borgia 
Workshop: Giving Value to Indigenous Knowledge and Practices: The Example of Wild Edibles

The value of indigenous knowledge was the topic of the first panel of the second day of Indigenous Terra Madre Space. The discussions revolved around how plants represent a form of identity for most indigenous peoples. Indigenous people from India, Chile, Japan, Australia and Indonesia participated in the workshop.

Workshop: Tools and Good Practices for Strengthening Leadership

Tools and good practices for strengthening leadership was the issue of the second workshop at the indigenous space. The moderator was Teresa Zapeta, Maya Kíche from Guatemala, member of FIMI (Fondo Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas). The principal issues touched upon were political lobbying, gender equality, youth and education. In the workshop were participating indigenous young people from Japan, Mexico, USA, Thailand and Georgia.
Introducing the Slow Food Youth Network think tank or SFYN tank 
Workshop: The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: An Opportunity and Challenge to Be Taken Up by Indigenous Food Communities
Antonella Cordone was the moderator for this workshop. The main issue was the operating space for indigenous peoples in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the challenges and opportunities that Indigenous Peoples face. The panel was composed of delegates from FAO, civil society, Slow Food and United Nations.

Workshop: SFYNTank – YOUTH FOCUS

At the Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) ‘Tank’ event, hosted by Arduino pilot project Casa Jasmina, young farmers, food processors, social entrepreneurs, chefs, product designers, foodies and artists supported each other’s creativity and experience by working on nine selected issues in food production, considering issues ranging from food education to seed conservation in the digital age to bridging the urban/rural gap. Moving from exploring problems to designing potential solutions, the groups were guided by experienced coaches and experts. The result was an impressive group of young people who earned the title of SFYNtankers with their contributions to solutions for nine different thematic topics.

Sunday, 25th September 2016 -Day 3
Speakers in discussion during a Terra Madre workshop/conference. Photo credit: Slow Food
Workshop: Local Food and Economics for Sustainable Development: Experiences from Indigenous Social Entrepreneurs

The members of this panel exchanged experiences about how to create good, clean and fair indigenous entrepreneurship. The panel was moderated by Ayu, from the indigenous community Akha in Thailand. Indigenous young speakers from the different parts of the world participated in the panel.

Workshop: The Commons: Pastoralism and Nomadism -Custodianship of the Land - in Contrast with the Ownership System.

The second panel of the day was about pastoralism and nomadism-custodianship of the land and how it contrasted with the ownership system. The panel compared systems of land custodianship' with 'ownership' through the experiences of herders from the Mongol Khalkh Tribe (Mongolia), Sami People (Sweden), Maasai (Tanzania), Guji and Karrayyu (Ethiopia) and others indigenous people.

Monday, 26th September 2016 - Day 4
Indigenous Art performance outside the Indigenous Terra Madre room. Photo credit: Slow Food
Workshop: Land Rights Now: Our Land. Our Rights. Our life

Monday 26th started with the campaign ''Land Rights Now'' conference, which preceded a group photo. In this even, Carlo Petrini said during his compelling speech that ''Indigenous Terra Madre is always together with Terra Madre because indigenous communities are the roots of our existence." He added that we need a new political order based on the need of women, indigenous peoples and the poor.