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Terra Madre: the world’s most important organization

Posted on the February 27th, 2008

Well, we’re all entitled to our own opinions, as they say. The title of this post expresses one of mine. And it’s one, I’m happy to say, that’s shared, more or less, by thousands of people around the world.

To accommodate all this interest, Terra Madre (Mother Earth) has just launched its new website (www.terramadre.info). It’s available at present in English and Italian, with six more languages coming soon, according to the organization (German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian).

Just to fill you in, if you don’t already know, Terra Madre is a project of Slow Food. Slow Food is based in Italy and was founded in 1989 by Carlo Petrini.

Terra Madre describes itself as “The Food Communities Network.” That network now is comprised of 250 universities and research centers, and 450 individual academics throughout the world, according to the website.

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction section:

The Terra Madre network, which integrates new members every day, is made up of all those who wish to act to preserve, encourage, and support sustainable food production methods. These methods are based on attention to territory and those distinctive qualities that have permitted the land to retain its fertility over centuries of use. This vision is in direct opposition to pursuing a globalized marketplace, with the ongoing, systematic goal of increasing profit and productivity. Such methods have substantial externalities for which we, the guardians and inhabitants of this planet, pay the price. And the damage begins with small producers, lacking the means to create markets even within their own regions, who become crushed by subsidy systems that render their working conditions unfair.

Day after day, the Terra Madre family grows, strengthens, organizes, and defends local cultures and products, and makes real the Slow Food concept of Good, Clean, and Fair quality. Good refers to the quality of food products and of their taste; Clean, to a production process that respects the natural environment ; and Fair, in which there is dignity and appropriate economic return for the people who produce, including respect from those who consume.

Terra Madre offers a free newsletter. You may subscribe here if you’re interested in knowing more (email: NewsletterTM@slowfood.com).

Exploring the new website, I drifted into the Multimedia section and found this 2006 video (below). Parodying the film series Star Wars, the video (Store Wars) is a funny, informative presentation of just why an organization such as Terra Madre is so important.

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