Over 5,000 delegates from 130 countries attended the first Terra Madre in 2004. Hosted in Torino, Italy by Slow Food International, the conference set a new precedent in the global political and economic landscape as a, “World Meeting of Food Communities,” convened to push our thinking in the increasingly interconnected fields of food, agriculture, sustainable development, gastronomy, globalization, and economics.
Terra Madre puts diverse communities across the globe at the forefront of the grassroots battle against industrial food production. In this way, it is similar to the World Social Forum—only focused on food and farming. Terra Madre establishes a space “for those who seek to grow, raise, catch, create, distribute and promote food in ways that respect the environment, defend human dignity and protect the health of consumers” to exchange ideas and solutions. It promotes solidarity between eaters and producers, those from the city and those from the countryside, the global North and the global South. It encourages all of us to be united in an international, diverse movement rooted in many different histories, cultures, and communities. Terra Madre shows the international public that a diversity of people-powered, values-based solutions can pave the way for better food and farming around the world.
Since 2004, Terra Madre has become a biennial conference, inspired an annual global day of action called Terra Madre Day, and grown into an international network of food producers, cooks, educators, students, and activists. Various countries have also hosted their own regional Terra Madre meetings, and last year we saw the first Indigenous Terra Madre conference.