Salone Del Gusto: Terra Madre 2018

Ten things I put in a doggy bag

From idea’s and practices from around the world here is some food for thought:

  1. “We have drifted so far into a system that is focused on economic efficiency that it doesn’t meet the needs of people anymore”: The focus on economies of scale in our food system is often seen as a solution to feed the millions of people that are hungry. We often seem to forget that smaller communities with a dynamic food network are those actually meeting the needs of the people (more than just feeding them) and harmonizing with the environment as well.
  2. Open Food Network in Australia is a non profit to develop, accumulate and protect open source knowledge, code, applications and platforms for fair and sustainable food systems. Check them out here.
  3. Parabere Forum App: The Parabere forum is an organization that supports women in food through its community and symposiums. Recently they launched a city-guided app that showcases women in food in communities. It is designed to empower women in the food business around the world.
  4. “The thing about feeding the world is that we need smaller more diverse options”: Food system models that work in Nordic countries are not the same as the ones that Asia can adopt. Our understanding of food issues needs to be more community based who’s scope maybe replicated in different to suit different contexts.
  5. “All kitchens should have an ethno-botanist”: Chef Sean Sherman is revitalizing native american cuisine and through education and making indigenous foods more accessible. There is so much about our food and ingredients that chefs don’t cook with because they don’t know about it. Collaborations in the food system are important. What chefs might be able to learn from ethno-botanists about edible plants is important to create better diversity on our plates and menu’s.
  6. It is important to talk about the cultural appropriation of food: It definitely is important and unavoidable.
  7. “we all have individual stories and we need to club those with the facts”: Food and its role in the climate change dialog is important. But how can we communicate the seriousness of the issue effectively? Telling these stories of either the farmers in the Sundarbans who have switched over from paddy farming to mud crab cultivation because of saline water or crop losses because of drought or unexpected rainfall are more powerful than research papers and facts by themselves. We need to change the conversation, its our food and our future that is at stake.
  8. “There is a right to development that belongs to all”: We have heard a lot that as populations in China and India increase there are a lot more people that we need to feed which means more intensive agriculture and an increase in meat consumption. Is this a problem, that the “developing” world that has a large malnutritioned population starts consuming meat as the per capital income starts increasing? Do we need to stop development in he name of sustainability? Is population the problem or over-consumption?
  9. “If you don’t have a cow, don’t come to the cattle meeting”: Do countries with lesser carbon impact not have a say in the conversation just because they don’t pollute as much? There is a lot to learn from smaller communities, even in emerging economies. Big economies with bigger issues might have a big voice, but not always the sustainable solution.
  10. College Curries: Nils from Germany has an innovative solution to help less fortunate Indian students pay for college tuition and it involves curry. We had great conversation over German ale and curried cashewnuts. Read more about him here.