This morning’s walk to the conference started with a reminder of home – a rooftop garden growing above my head.
When we arrived a Parco del Valentino, we had some time to explore Via Po – it was nice and quiet in the morning.
Down by the shores of Via Po, was the Slow Fish tent. Slow Fish is a Slow Food campaign for good, clean, and fair fish. By their tent, there were multiple art projects going on including stenciling fish scales on the sidewalks and gluing these painted shells to the overlook.
We were most interested in the fish prints on handmade paper – an ancient Japanese technique called Gyotaku. The artwork illustrates the diversity of the species beautifully.
The first forum of the day was “The Biodiversity of Bananas at Risk in Uganda.” The banana market is largely dominated by a single variety (Cavendish) but in Africa, Asia, and Latin America local communities grow hundreds of varieties for cooking (Matooke, Gonja, Kivuvu), for raw consumption (Ndizi, Bogoya), and distillation (Kayinnja). The biodiversity fo the banana family is incredible but threatened by the introduction of a GMO “super banana” project. It was such a unique experience to gather with leaders from around the world to discuss the value of this biodiversity and the importance of protecting it.
After the forum, we visited “Working Hunger” – a photo exhibit that tells the story of the industrial development in the Piedmont region of Italy, through its food. It examines the moment each day when thousands of workers all put down their tools together to eat their packed lunches.
Another photo exhibit we visited highlighted the international cooperation project between the Bahia State in Brazil, the metropolitan area of Maputo in Mozambique, and Namibe Province in Angola. This project helps each local entity promote the protection and development of biodiversity, improving the standard of living and reducing the economic and social vulnerability of small local producers.
After a packed morning, we decided that we should have our first pizza of the trip – and it was worth the wait. Gran Torino baked up some incredible slices of pizza on a focaccia like crust.
After lunch, we explored the market place. We saw food prep demonstrations, explored exhibits of biodiversity, and tasted products from all around the world.
Many of the regions’ tents shared not only their local food but also their local art traditions. This stamping was demonstrated as part of the culture of the Emila-Romagna region of Italy.
In the afternoon, we joined our our guides from the Universita degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche (UNISG) and walked down the same cobblestone path as we had the day before. This time we passed the cheese shop and walked into a pristine bakery called Pasticceria Gertosio. They specialized in treats that originated in Turin – we tried each of those… and a few others as well.
Our second stop was at the chocolate shop of Guido Gobino where we were served a tasty dessert drink (I lost the rest of the details in translation and sugar coma).
Our third stop was for gelato. This time I opted for the flavor with locally grown pistachios.
Our last stop before heading home was the “Let it Bee” exhibit at the Palazzo Del Retoratto. I taste tested the best multifloral honeys of Italy, explored beehives from throughout the world, and explored photography and exhibits related to the beauty and importance of bees.
We are sore and exhausted after Day 2 but we’re getting geared up for three more days of learning and sharing about slow food around the world.