Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Carlo Petrini in Boston

Last week, the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, spoke at Tufts and at Harvard as part of a series of conferences at American universities.

Over 300 students, staff, and community members attended Petrini's talk and book signing at Harvard. Carlo Petrini's speech, in Italian, was translated by Corby Kummer, author and senior editor of The Atlantic.

Corby Kummer (left) and Carlo Petrini (right)

Petrini spoke about numerous aspects of the Slow Food movement, which supports the pleasure of good food, while supporting the community and the environment.

Petrini began by discussing the current food system, which is detrimental to our environment. The constant selection for highly productive crops has decreased the fertility of the soil, and has caused a significant loss in biodiversity. Petrini also touched upon food subsidies, which have led to cheap food, health problems, industrial disasters, and environmental degradation.

In addition, Petrini gave many suggestions for changes that can be made. Food shouldn't be wasted, and leftovers should be savored. Foods should be eaten when they are in season, and food shouldn't be transported long distances, because this requires more fossil fuels. He also suggested that we should buy less food, and buy higher quality food.

Although there are many changes that need to be made to the current food system, Petrini noted that many positive changes have already been made. Although it was hard to come by farmers markets just ten to twenty years ago, now farmers markets are much more common. In 2000, Slow Food U.S.A. campaigned for raw milk cheeses to be allowed to be produced in the U.S. rather than just importing them from Europe, and now raw cheeses produced in the U.S. can be found in more and more stores.

Despite the lack of infrastructures to support new and young farmers, there is an increased need for young farmers. Luckily in the Boston area, there is the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, which supports and offers training to those who are interested in becoming farmers. Petrini asked for everyone in the audience who was under 30 and planning to work with the land in their future to come up, and many people did.

Farmers to be

Finally, Petrini spoke of and encouraged people to attend Terra Madre, a bi-annual international gathering of over 5,000 food lovers who support and want to learn more about sustainable and local foods and food production. The next, and fourth, Terra Madre event will begin next week, in Turin, Italy.

After Carlo Petrini's speak, many eager audience members came up to get signed copies of his new book, Terra Madre.

It was an inspirational experience to hear the president of Slow Food speak. Read about his visit at Tufts on the Slow Food Tufts blog, and another article and videos of his Boston visit from the Slow Food website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the idea behind the slow food movement. Many people have lost touch with what goes into the food they are putting in their bodies. Also, not many people think about how the way their food is prepared effects the environment. Dining at restaurants is such a huge part of people's lives, and the restaurant industry as a whole is so large and influential that restaurants' choice to be environmentally friendly to environmentally sustainable while still providing a great dining experience can have a significant impact on our eco-footprint.
I've found some great 'green' restaurants in the Boston area, where environmentally friendliness does not compromise taste.

If you're looking for a 'green' dining experience, here's where I found some Green Certified restaurants.