The concept: "Save Biodiversity. Save the Planet"
A substantial part of the work and one of the most important insights of Slow Food has always been the protection of domestic biodiversity. There are a number of projects underway, such as the construction of 10,000 gardens in Africa, the Ark of Taste that is working on the identification of items at risk of disappearing and the Presidia that protect small farming communities and their products.
Slow Food’s space at Expo Milano 2015 is structured precisely to focus on the issue of biodiversity. In fact it illustrates how Feeding the planet is only possible by starting from biodiversity, and preserving it for future generations. To speak of biodiversity, means to adopt a holistic approach, in talking about sustainable agriculture and access to food that is good, clean and fair for all.
Within the exhibition site, Slow Food will have its own space in the international area at the eastern end of the Decumano
, alongside the Mediterranean Hill
. This is an area of 3,500 square meters consisting of three modular buildings reminiscent of the rural Lombard farmsteads
and was designed by Herzog & De Meuron.
The space has been designed as a structure consistent with the contents it is hosting: it is simple, lightweight, low in environmental impact and will last over time.
Inside, the public can visit the interactive exhibition, Discover Biodiversity, which shows how biodiversity can be safeguarded and how it can contribute substantially to the welfare of the planet and small farming communities. It will complete the exhibition experience with Slow Cheese and Slow Wine tastings, which each week is providing four raw milk cheese and wine pairings. Visitors can listen to the experiences of farmers, fishermen, food producers and chefs from the Slow Food and Terra Madre networks and take part in many other events scheduled in the Teatro Slow Food. Finally, they can walk in the agroecological garden planted onsite to highlight the local area and the local vegetable and fruit varieties.
Why Slow Food is participating in the Universal Exhibition in Milan
Since 1851, the Universal Exposition has brought together people from all over the world to discuss highly relevant and important issues. Specifically, that chosen for the 2015 edition – guaranteeing good, clean, and fair food for humankind and the Earth – coincides with one of Slow Food’s original objectives.
Slow Food’s participation in Expo Milano 2015 is, therefore, a great opportunity to spread the message that there is a profound connection between food and its land of origin, and that this should be protected in order to preserve the great cultural and spiritual value that is held and represented by the individual communities.
"If we are what we eat, then we must be corn"
The exhibition Discover biodiversity within the Slow Food space at Expo Milano 2015 has been inspired by the words of Michael Pollan taken from his book The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, published in the United States in 2006, that looks at the foods we eat every day, such as corn. By means of this exhibition, visitors will discover that we consume this cereal every day without even realizing it, in the form of livestock feed, or within food additives.
Slow Food Theater
Scheduled as part of the open-air Slow Food Theater, which seats 40 people, will be meetings, screenings, concerts, book presentations, and much more. The themes are those that Slow Food holds dear: biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, responsible consumption, and the fight against waste.Taking part will be not only farmers, fishermen, craftsmen, and food communities of Terra Madre, the national associations, the convivia, the Presidia, the Earth Markets, but also businesses, representatives of civil society, writers, filmmakers, photographers, and artists wanting to present projects that are in line with topics that are important to Slow Food. Anyone wanting to propose an activity within the area may do so by writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Slow Food vegetable garden with aromatic and medicinal herbs
Within their Exhibition Site, Slow Food will create a vegetable garden covering approximately 250 square meters that shines the spotlight on the plants of Lombardy.
The garden will feature traditional vegetable varieties from the region, including the red onion from Breme; there will be beds featuring aromatic and medicinal herbs. The vegetable garden offers a permanent learning zone where visitors can discover how to create a vegetable garden based on the agro-ecological approach, which is keyed on farming that respects the environment and biodiversity.
Tastings: Slow Cheese and Slow Wine
One of the most effective, surprising and joyful ways we can understand the meaning of biodiversity is by tasting it. This is why part of the Slow Food area is dedicated to the discovery of the diversity of wine and raw-milk cheeses. The world of cheeses offers the perfect example of how plant and animal biodiversity is articulated when transformed into food. In the Slow Cheese area, you’ll see that although it only takes three ingredients to make a cheese—milk, rennet and salt—an extraordinary diversity has still sprung from these simple origins, with over 2,000 traditional cheeses made around the world. Each tells the story of different places and pastures, of different types of milk and breeds, of different animal diets and production techniques, and of the skills of the herders and cheesemakers. Next to the Slow Cheese area, the Slow Wine Enoteca will be telling another fascinating story, that of Italy’s wines, grapes and vignerons. Like cheesemaking, viticulture also boasts rich biodiversity.
Slow Food is an international association that works around the world to protect biodiversity, building the relationships between producers and consumers and improving awareness of the system that regulates food production.
Throughout the world, Slow Food counts on a network of millions of supporters – food producers, cooks, consumers, activists, young people - and its 100,000 active members. The international association is present in over 150 countries, with 1,500 groups organized locally into Slow Food Practices. As always, the organization supports the work of small farmers who have given life to the Terra Madre network, currently composed of about 2,000 food communities. Thanks to the Arca del Gusto project, we have identified over 2,000 products that are at risk of disappearing and we have created almost 1,500 vegetable gardens in schools and in African villages, working to ensure communities have fresh and healthy food, but also to form a network of leaders who are aware of the value of their land and culture.