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Responses to Greg-Maria Agnese/Terra Madre 2006 and Slow Food/Sam: Soyabean Stories

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  • Janet Feldman
    Dear Greg, Maria Agnese, and All, It is terrific to hear from you both, and I am excerpting Greg s letter posted at Social Agriculture for Holistic Helping.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 17, 2006
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      Dear Greg, Maria Agnese, and All,
      It is terrific to hear from you both, and I am excerpting Greg's letter posted at Social Agriculture for Holistic Helping. Sam, note that Greg is excited to hear soyabean stories (this was posted on World Food Day, October 16th)!!  And Maria Agnese, I can't thank you enough for your beautiful and supportive words and spirit You are a BIG inspiration for all of us, and an invaluable team member and resource.
      Maria Agnese has posted abt an amazing and exciting conference called Terra Madre, which occurs every two years, and brings "food communities" from around the world together for several days of activities (see some below which I think are especially relevant to our interests and activities).  A number of small-scale producers from Kenya and other developing countries will be there.  There are also some wonderful stories at these sites, very much what I envision we will be collecting. The sites themselves can be instructive for us design-wise.
      I am including some info on both this and also the "Slow Food Foundation", which I believe sponsors Terra Madre. See a project they sponsor in Mali, restoring a local market, which in turn aims to link with and promote farmers' markets globally.
      With great enthusiasm and energy for the storytelling to come, and here's to putting slow food in the fast lane!! Janet
      From Greg:
      Thanks for your message.  As you write, we agree in principle and practice.  MyFoodStory should be big enough to welcome and invite many different values and motivations.  A "factual point of view" rooted in first-hand stories of real people and real experiences provides the
      common ground necessary for serving the entire food chain.  These stories go hand in hand with the universal needs for clean air, clean
      water, and opportunities to create a better life for oneself and one's children.
      I'm looking forward to hearing stories of soybeans. Was it a traditional crop in Kenya?  As a child, I was always surprised to see large soybean fields near my own hometown.  Our family did not eat soybeans, neither did anyone we knew.  It wasn't even something that farmers feed to their animals.  Only much later did I learn where all those soybeans went and the central role they played in the lives of so many others.
      Maria Agnese sent this fantastic info on Terra Madre 2006 (sponsored by the "Slow Food Foundation for Biological Diversity")
      Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people�s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Today, we have over 80,000 members all over the world.
      http://www.slowfoodfoundation.com/eng/popup_mali.lasso  ("Your Neighborhood, Your Neighbors, and You" market-restoration project sponsored by this foundation in Mali and developed by neighborhood associations in Bamako. This project aims to connect and raise the profile of farmers' markets all over the world, in order to protect and promote local productions and food communities)
      Terra Madre 2006:
      1600 food communities from 5 continents and 150 countries,5000 farmers, breeders, fishermen and traditional food producers, 1000 cooks and 200 universities meet in Turin to share experiences and discuss the development of a new concept of agriculture and good, clean and fair food.
      Terra Madre 2006 focuses on:

      NETWORKS: specifically, strengthening the network of food communities, cooks and universities and establishing communication channels within this network;

      AGRO-ECOLOGY: agriculture that respects the environment;

      MARKET ACCESS: finding new outlets for small-scale producers, who face crushing competition from industrial producers and distribution, through associations and cooperatives and collaboration with cooks and universities.

      Terra Madre 2006 will offer opportunities for discussion open to everyone interested in the themes of Terra Madre, as well as debates and earth workshops reserved for food communities, cooks and universities.

      On the first and last days of the event (October 26 and 30) numerous influential leaders, scientists and experts will speak during plenary sessions.

      October 27-29 will be devoted to Earth Workshops that address the problems and issues producers face and Taste Workshops and other seminars designed to help food communities improve the quality of their products. Food communities will also organize informal meetings to get to know other communities in their region or sector as well as their products and practices. Food communities will also be able to present their products.

      October 27 ECONOMICS - MARKET ACCESS: More than consumers: the power of co-producers The buyer�s role is much more active than what the word consumer suggests. The final link in the food chain has its place in production, education, markets and the environment. Farmers markets, buyers groups, community-supported agriculture and many other initiatives demonstrate that eating is an agricultural act, producing a gastronomical act and purchasing a political act.

      October 27  PRODUCTS AND PRODUCERS - Cheese The importance of raw milk, the significance of animal feed and the quality of milk, the defense of traditional techniques and market access for small-scale producers: what can be done to preserve the dairy artisan heritage?

      October 27  AGRO-ECOLOGY Integrated agricultural systems  Integrating systems by utilizing one production s waste output as an input for another conserves energy and increases opportunities for further development and additional income. What is integrated project design and which systems should be used as models?

      October 27  PRODUCTS AND PRODUCERS - Coffee  How can small-scale producers respond to a fluctuating and globalized market like that of coffee? What strategies need to be developed in order to improve sustainable, quality production, guarantee direct market access and educate consumers all over the world?

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