On Saturday the 29th of July, Convivium Velika Plana hosted the first edition of TerraMadre Morava, the first meeting of small-scale food producers from Central Serbia, organised by Slow Food Velika Plana in cooperation with Ypard Serbia, Superior Seed and SlowFood.
The event consisted of a market where only small-scale producers could exhibit and sell their artisan products to the many visitors who gathered in this vibrant town in Central Serbia. In addition, a roundtable was organised to discuss how to encourage youth to enter into agriculture and how to provide a sound environment in rural areas to prevent rural-to-urban migration.
The growing interest shown by the public to the topic of food and sustainability clearly demonstrates that there is great scope in Serbia today to promote and develop alternative food systems.
This events falls under the wider Terra Madre network, launched by Slow Food in 2004 to unite individuals and stakeholders who are trying to revive or build alternative and sustainable food production systems at their local levels, clustered in what we call “food communities”. This world-wide network relies today on over 2500 food communities formed across 170 countries, and meets every 2 years in Italy during the biannual Terra Madre event. The event gathers thousands of farmers, artisan food producers, chefs and activists, and provides the arena to discuss and share their knowledge and experiences, allowing themto return to their daily work with the positive energy of an international community united by a shared vision.
Terra Madre Morava clearly shows the potential for Slow Food in Serbia to become a key stakeholder in Slow Food’s larger effort to give voice to the need of small-scale farmers at the regional level and across the European Union. Slow Food in Serbia already contributes significantly to the development of Terra Madre Balkans – the first network in South East Europe to focus on environmental sustainability and sustainable rural development from the perspective of food. Today Terra Madre Balkans relies on a deeply rooted network of CSOs in the region with thousands of supporters, 100 communities of small-scale farmers and food producers, 50 chefs, as well as many academics and grassroots projects and educational programs on nutrition and tasty foods in schools.
Terra Madre Morava represents a further example of how Slow Food directly engages with rural communities and supports them, preserving their food biodiversity and turning it into an engine for sustainable rural development through long-term participative strategies. Rural communities – especially in developing contexts – often practice traditional agriculture and pasture management systems, and preserve food biodiversity that, when combined with agro-ecological principles, may represent alternative paths to the sustainability of agriculture. Slow Food helps communities, in the Balkans and throughout the world, to develop their unexploited potentials for sustainable development when it comes to food production and consumption. Our methodology primarily starts by mapping the food biodiversity heritage of these communities (4400 products are currently registered on the Ark of Taste online catalogue) and identifying comparative advantages for economic, social, and cultural development.
Once the products and producers are mapped in this way, we engage in a two-fold process of intertwined activities with local communities (522 Slow Food Presidia projects established): on the one hand, Slow Food helps producers to build a common definition of quality that respects traditions and improves quality standards. On the other hand, Slow Food develops a path to promote the products at the local, national, and international levels while benefiting from regular communication and exchange with a network of over 1 million supporters worldwide.
This story is part of our Partner Spotlight this week on Convivium Velika Plana.
GFAR Secretariat is turning the spotlight on the work and collective actions of Partners in GFARwho share in our mission to strengthen and transform agri-food research and innovation systems globally. Not a GFAR partner yet? Join now!
Photo credits: Convivium Velika Plana