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A potluck dinner and forum (+ food shelf drive) to honor
Minnesota’s delegates to the Terra Madre conference
Sunday, December 7, 2008, 2 to 6 p.m. :: Knights of Columbus, Shakopee

Slow Food Minnesota organized this event as a forum for the local farmers who traveled to Turin, Italy in October to participate in Terra Madre (Slow Food International’s gathering of farmers and other individuals involved in providing good, clean, fair food). Our guests talked about their experiences at the conference.

Audrey Arner of Moonstone Farm was the moderator and first speaker. A highlight of Terra Madre for her was a presentation by Vandana Shiva on the Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security. Dr. Shiva is a vice president of Slow Food International and the executive director of Research Foundation for Technology, Science and Ecology/Navdanya. The region of Tuscany joined with Navdanya to form The International Commission on the Future of Food, the organization that wrote the document.

The commission estimates that 25 percent of climate change may be attributed to the current industrialized food system and claims that the contribution of farming to the problem — and also to a potential solution — is generally undervalued. The manifesto makes the argument that sustainable, biodiverse farming can help mitigate climate change and benefit public health.

The manifesto will be presented at the July 2009 G8 summit in Sardinia and also at the Kyoto 2 climate negotiations in Copenhagen. The full manifesto can be downloaded here: http://www.future-food.org >>

From left, seated: Lori and Alan Callister, Brad and Leanne Donnay, Richard Handeen and Audrey Arner. Standing: Jim and LeeAnn VanDerPol.

LeeAnn and Jim VanDerPol (Pastures A’Plenty) spoke about their feeling at home with people from all over the world who shared their ideals. They brought home some smoked, dried caterpillars to share with everyone at the forum. The caterpillars caused Atina Diffley to have a coughing spell when she spoke, but Val Landwehr, an entomologist in the audience enjoyed seconds.

Smoked, dried caterpillar. “Tastes like coffee beans,” one guest said.

Lori Callister made an intriguing point: although the United States farming system is greatly in need of change, the rest of the world is looking to this country to solve the farm and environmental crisis. Alan Callister added “we don't understand that what we do affects the rest of the world, they are aware of it — we’re not.”

Brad and Leanne Donnay (Donnay Dairy), spoke with a Sicilian goat farmer and cheese maker. The discussion turned to a problem Brad had with aging his cheese: some of the wheels turned out the way he expected, but others were different. He wanted to learn how to make the wheels consistent. The Sicilian told him that the alternate result was not something to be avoided, but just another cheese.

Laura Frerichs, Elizabeth Mulvihill and Joyce Schaffer were inspired by the number of young farmers they met. Laura mentioned meeting the farmer and film producer Severine von Tscharner Fleming who is making The Greenhorns, a documentary about the lives of young farmers.

Thoughts and photographs by Terra Madre delegates are found here >>

A City Pages blog posting about Tales of Terra Madre may be found here >>

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