Food First Delegation Explores Slow Food and Sustainable Agriculture

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With a variety of micro-climates, Piedmont is one of the most geographically diverse regions of Italy. This diversity is expressed in a rich food culture based on complex farming systems producing a wide variety of grains, fruits and vegetables, wines, meats and cheeses. However, this wealth of peasant-based foods has been threatened by the promotion of industrial agriculture.

Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy is proud to announce an opportunity to travel to the Piedmont Region and witness on-the-ground efforts to preserve sustainable food and farming systems. As part of its Food Sovereignty Tours program, the 9-day guided tour will focus on meeting farmers, policy-makers and organizations working for a sustainable food system in the region.

The tour will meet with Piedmont farmers who have organized small co-operatives to preserve their way of life and traditional food culture. These co-ops market products directly to consumer groups known as Solidarity Buyers’ Groups (Gruppi di acquisito Solidale, or GAS). Tour participants will also meet with organizations like the Italian Association of Organic Agriculture, Vía Campesina, Piedmont-based Slow Food and others working to protect small farmers, promote sustainability and conserve biodiversity in Italy.

“This trip is not just a food tour of Piedmont,” said Eric Holt-Gímenez, executive director of Food First. “While participants will certainly enjoy Italy's magnificent cuisine, more importantly they will meet the farmers and engage with them directly regarding the challenges we must face together in getting clean, fair, sustainably produced food from farm to table.”

Participants will stay in farmer-owned hotels called agriturismos, and immerse themselves in Italy’s rural culture. They will also visit producer co-ops, the bustling food markets of Turin and Slow Food headquarters in Bra.

The Food First tour will take place October 16 – 24, 2012 in advance of the annual Slow

Food “Terra Madre” Conference in Turin, Italy, which will be open to the public for the first time in its history. Food First is offering a discount on the tour price for all Slow Food members. Partial scholarships are also available for qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.

The mission of Food Sovereignty Tours is to build the global movement for food sovereignty through solidarity travel and immersion learning. Food Sovereignty Tours is a program of Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, which has been called one of the “most established food think tanks” by the New York Times. The program also leads international delegations to Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico, the Basque Country, and more.

Tour registration is open to the public. To learn more, visit the Food Sovereignty Tours website.

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