I must say that after day 1, of Terra Madre (only registration and opening ceremony) I feel that I in for an incredible journey, albeit, a short and intense one.
Since I was able to register yesterday (Wednesday) before the conference actually started, I had the luxury of not waiting in very long lines to do so as most of Terra Madre community from around the world assembled on Thursday just hours before the opening ceremony. So while most where in line, I was free to mingle and leisurely check out the venue, people watch, chat with some of the attendees, and scope out the best place to sit for the opening ceremony, hours before it was to start promptly (by Italian standards) at 2:30. So, by the start at around I was in my seat.
Although I have never attended an Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, I feel that my experience today at the opening of Terra Madre must share much with the 2006 games experience; maybe all except for all the competition that naturally is part of all of the olympic games.
The opening ceremony of Terra Madre was held at Palisport Olimpico, which also hosted the 2006 Winter Olympic opening ceremony; there were 81 nations participating in the 2006 games; 161 countries were represented at the Terra Madre opening ceremony; both events shared the pageantry of the flag-carrying participants in native dress. Music, dance, song, highlights on youth and cultural diversity were a part of both.
Keynote speakers for Terra Madre’s opening ceremony were from 5 continents each of which represented indigenous people and languages, this year’s focus of the conference. Collectively, they spoke for the Sami people, the indigenous people of
Scandinavia, the Itelmens of Kamchatka, the indigenous of the Rift Valley of Africa, aboriginal natives of , and the indigenous people of Australia . Brazil
Carlo Petrini’s ( founder of Slowfood and current President of Slow Food International) keynote speech cited indigenous people, farmers, women, and the elderly as the forgotten ones who we need to honor, remember and learn from as we go forth to spread the message of slow food. He also stated the need to strengthen and enhance diversity, reciprocity (gifting and counter-gifting), and dialogue among all peoples. His parting words were to “live these four days of Terra Madre with intensity.
Although SCCC seems far from the Terra Madre community gathered in
Torino, you are as much a part of it, it’s mission, and it’s people as all of us gathered here for the next four days. I hope to bring you more from Terra Madre as time permits.
So I leave you with Petrini’s words “ live with intensity.