More than twenty years ago, when Italian Carlo Petrini learned that McDonald’s wanted to erect its golden arches next to the Spanish Steps in Rome, he developed an impassioned response: he helped found the Slow Food movement. Since then, Slow Food has become a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring the likes of Alice Waters and Michael Pollan. Now, it’s time to take the work of changing the way people grow, distribute, and consume food to a new level.
On a global scale, as Petrini tells us in Terra Madre, we aren’t eating food. Food is eating us.
Large-scale industrial agriculture has run rampant and penetrated every corner of the world. The price of food is fixed by the rules of the market, which have neither concern for quality nor respect for producers. People have been forced into standardized, unnatural diets, and aggressive, chemical-based agriculture is ravaging ecosystems from the Great Plains to the Kalahari. Food has been stripped of its meaning, reduced to a mere commodity, and its mass production is contributing to injustice all over the world.
In Terra Madre, Petrini shows us a solution in the thousands of newly formed local alliances between food producers and food consumers. And he proposes expanding these alliances—connecting regional food communities around the world to promote good, clean, and fair food.
The end goal is a world in which communities are entitled to food sovereignty—allowed to choose not only what they want to grow and eat, but also how they produce and distribute it.