[fyeg_gen-l] A World Meeting of Food Communities

Natalie Debono ndebono at ba-malta.org
Wed Feb 25 15:08:08 CET 2004

A World Meeting of Food Communities
Turin, October 20-23, 2004

I.          Description of event

Concurrently with the Salone del Gusto 2004 (21-25 October 2004), Slow Food
will be organizing a meeting between producers and others involved in the
agrifood sector throughout the world. The meeting aims to explore a new and
different way of considering food production – an approach which is
attentive to environmental resources, global balance and product quality.
It is expected that about 5000 people will attend from a large number of
countries around the globe. The main focus of the meeting will be on food
communities. This new concept, “Food Communities”, refers to an extended
chain, from small farmers to traders, and is the event’s central theme.
The 5000 small farmers, producers and others involved in the sector will be
attending the meeting as representatives of more than a thousand communities
and will be able to report back on their experiences in Turin.

The first stage will focus on issues of concern to all food producers today:
biodiversity, hunger, poverty, water, sustainability, traditional
technologies, organic agriculture, the role of women, the linkage between
rural economic development and prevention of conflicts. These and many other
issues will be addressed by various work groups. Discussions will, however,
be conducted in a spirit of constructive proposal, not criticism, by
presenting case studies illustrating exemplary solutions.
The second stage of discussions, following the same method, will be in the
form of workshops dedicated to individual productions – rice, maize, coffee,
wheat, tubers, fishing, breeding etc. Here the various work groups will be
able to share information on technical matters.

II.        Aims

The meeting aims to bring together representatives of food communities from
around the world. The communities – of significance due to the quality and
sustainability of their production – will be provided with a place and a
time for presentation and discussion of positive solutions to common
problems in various countries.
It will not be an occasion for reporting problems, but an opportunity to
analyze and discuss solutions. Individual meetings will be managed by
communities themselves, allowing them to share their experiences and focus
on their criteria for progress and development.
This may mark the emergence of a solid commitment to support and promote a
new and wiser approach to world agriculture, and a new way of thinking about
food production.

III.       Draft Program

The outline program for the meeting given below is a preliminary indication
and may of course be modified in the course of the coming months.

Participants are expected to arrive in Turin by October 19.
The four days of the meeting are planned as follows:
First day (afternoon of 20/10): plenary session. Official speeches of
welcome, presentation of the event by the organizers, contributions from
some of the coordinators.
Second and third days (whole days of 21 and 22/10): work groups divided by
Fourth day (morning of 23/10): plenary session. Comments from observers at
end of working sessions.

Participants will begin returning home on the evening of October 23. It is
expected everyone will have left by October 25.

IV.       Operational phases

Organizing the meeting will involve four main sectors of activity:

a)   Accommodation and food

Accommodation and food will be required for 5000 participants for the
duration of the event. The idea is to directly involve the entire region of

For accommodation it is intended to enlist support from political,
administrative and religious bodies, as well as volunteers and various civil
and professional associations based in Piedmont. Groups of participants will
be provided with accommodation by institutions and associations, who will
thus be actively involved in the event. All the “host communities” will be
asked to assume responsibility for the participants for the expected number
of nights and for meals and to make a contribution towards the costs of
transport to and from Turin.
Slow Food will undertake the organizational work of identifying and
involving suitable communities.

b)   Travel

The 5000 participants will be representatives of communities from more than
100 countries. The idea is to totally cover the travel costs for those
coming from poor countries (Africa, South America, Asia, excluding Japan
provide a partial contribution for those from North America and some parts
of Europe and no contribution for Italian participants.

c)   Organizational Aspects

Organizational aspects can be grouped under two main headings: an organizing
secretariat addressing the hiring of staff and a local working party to
manage logistics. For both these requirements we are again relying on the
support of volunteers and associations who can be involved on different
organizational levels. A large number of volunteers will also be needed on
the days the meeting is held. There will also need to be a central
organization to coordinate everything and to be involved for over a year in
identifying and recruiting participants.

d)   Days of the Meeting

In the forth phase the meeting venues will be identified and organizational
aspects defined (translations – there will be at least six official
languages, transfers, meals, printed materials etc.).

Natalie Debono
Communications - FYEG
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