Rural development: Terra Madre, an example to follow!

Recently, a project on “Using Small-Scale Adaptation Actions to Address the Food Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Going beyond Food Aid and Cash Transfers” published by Sustainability – Open Access Journal[1] has concluded:

Small scale solutions guided by science/research have never been more critical to achieving food security than they are today. New research and new thinking will be indispensable as we adapt our farming systems to the challenges of climate change. Research and pilots that are conducted/ developed through democratic approaches not only better serve farmers working in the most difficult conditions, but they are the only way we can shift towards an agricultural paradigm with sustainability, food security and the prioritization of small food producers at its heart, rather than an agenda which raises aggregate food production in large units serving the global markets. The lessons learned from this project demonstrate that exposing food security solutions to the public by presenting it as a democratic issue, helps counterbalance the influence of vested interests and in levelling the playing field in favor of small producers. With transparency and accountability to those whom it is meant to serve, small scale adaptation solutions to food systems could spread their benefits much more evenly across communities of farmers and consumers alike”.[2]
Only trying to fix this scenario and engaging the worldwide small producers in a fair value network we could give them an opportunity to survive, as human being before and as farmers afterward. 

Following this philosophy Terra Madre brings together those players in the food chain who together support sustainable

agriculture, fishing, and breeding with the goal of preserving taste and biodiversity[3]; by now the network includes 2,000 food communities representing over 300,000 small-scale farmers in 153 countries, plus 1,000 cooks, 500 academics, and 1,000 youth[4], committed to establishing a good, clean and fair food system for all. Day by day this vast network is impacting the lives of over 1 million people through its activities and values.

This Organization is willing to give voice and visibility to the rural food producers who populate the world; to raise their awareness, as well as that of the population at large, of the value of their work. To sustain their ability to work under the best conditions and for these reasons, constructing a global network—with information-sharing tools, the means to learn from each other, and opportunities for collaboration in many ways—seemed invaluable. We must continue to have fertile lands, lands on which sprout and grow plants and animals appropriate to those environments, rather than needing to be pumped full of chemicals to make them thrive artificially. And we must also continue to have the people capable of stewarding these lands, to have their know-how, so we can have food that still carries the tastes of our once.

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Furthermore this growing network, besides the international meetings (The inaugural gathering of Terra Madre launched the network in 2004 in Torino, and was on an unprecedented scale. This first edition brought together 5000 producers from 130 countries and shone global media attention on their crisis) is acting even in different projects among  which Education, Biodiversity and Short chain

helped by an essential partner which is Slow Food[5] whose rallied public institutions as well as local, regional, and national bodies to collectively form the Terra Madre Foundation, further partnering with private companies and numerous like-minded networks, some of which were established specially for the event.

This vision is in direct opposition to pursuing a globalized marketplace, with the ongoing, systematic goal of increasing profit and productivity. Such methods have substantial externalities for which we, the guardians and inhabitants of this planet, pay the price. And the damage begins with small producers, lacking the means to create markets even within their own regions, who become crushed by subsidy systems that render their working conditions unfair.




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