The 8th Slow Food International Congress opens a new era for the organization
Today, July 16, 2022, Slow Food held its 8th International Congress in Pollenzo, Italy. This historic date for the organization marks a new phase of change and regeneration, endorsed by its founder three decades ago, Carlo Petrini.
Congress delegates today elected a new global leadership ready to tackle the environmental, climate, political and social challenges facing the movement, present in 160 countries.
“The role of food as the main cause of environmental disasters is becoming louder and clearer. Our movement, which has worked for 30 years to ensure good, clean and fair food, must have the courage to play a leading political role in curbing this trend, which has catastrophic implications,” said Carl Petrini. “We need governance that leaves room for new generations. We must be able to combine the new with our history. The road traveled so far has allowed us to achieve goals that once seemed unattainable and has made us who we are. However, the world today is profoundly different from that which saw the beginnings of our movement. We must therefore welcome and allow ourselves to be guided by the creativity and intuition of new individuals capable of interpreting the present and tracing the trajectory that will make it possible to achieve future objectives.
At the center of this exciting prospect is Slow Food’s new leadership, represented by Edward Mukiibi, better known as Edie.
He was born in 1986 in Uganda into a farming family, the same year the Slow Food movement was born on the Spanish steps of Rome in protest against the opening of a McDonald’s. Originally from Kisoga in Uganda’s Mukono district, Mukiibi’s story is rooted in his family’s farm in a village in Uganda. Today, he is making history with his appointment as president of Slow Food and looks forward to shaping the future of regenerative agricultural crops.
A tropical agronomist with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Land Use Management from Makerere University in Kampala (Uganda) as well as a Masters in Gastronomy from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Mukiibi is a food and agriculture educator, social entrepreneur and, as of this month, officially takes the helm of the Slow Food community as president of the organization.
Mukiibi’s work has been recognized with numerous awards honoring his selfless contribution to a sustainable, fair and just food system. His tributes include the Ray Charles Black Hand in the Pot sustainability award from Dillard University and a testimonial resolution from the Detroit City Council. Mukiibi was recently listed in the Empowering Educators category of the 50 Next Awards for young people under 35 who are shaping the future of gastronomy.
In addition to the presidency, Slow Food’s Executive Committee, the organization’s highest decision-making body, has been renewed, with a new group that reflects the rich diversity of the movement.
During the Congress, they expressed their future commitment to guide Slow Food:
Marta Messa (Italy), new General Secretary
“In more than 10 years of service to Slow Food, I have learned a lot about the unique aspects of our movement: we have seen it shine so far, including during the pandemic. As a group, we want to the best of the strengths of the movement, being aware of its imperfections and where we need to improve. As we celebrate the remarkable achievements of Carlo’s heritage work and welcome the new management of Mukiibi, we are also growing, as any other organization Our goal is to continue to fight for the right of every individual to good, clean and equitable food, to elevate the incredible wealth of knowledge of grassroots communities and to facilitate the adoption of sustainable food systems in the whole world.
Richard McCarthy (USA)
“How can we involve people in everyday life? The development of thematic networks has proven to be a strategic asset for the Slow Food movement, deeply engaging a relevant diversity of targets capable of impacting food systems by catalysing processes of change through mutual exchange and collaboration on issues deeply linked to their daily life and interests, as well as the mobilization of specific new resources. I believe that the thematic networks also offer the opportunity to test new experiences of aggregation within Slow Food.
Dali Nolasco Cruz (Mexico)
“Indigenous peoples are examples of resilience and defense of life on Earth, repositories of ancestral knowledge. Indigenous women and youth around the world are fighting for recognition of their role as stewards of food systems, lands and biodiversity. The regeneration of Slow Food is an opportunity to continue to build from the collective and to position itself as the best and most recognized organization on food issues.
Jorrit Kiewik (Netherlands)
“I was born just under 20 years after the Club of Rome published its ‘Limits to Growth’. I grew up in the midst of a climatic catastrophe. Over the past 30 years I have seen how the loss of biodiversity is having a terrible impact on our planet. My generation and generations to come are suffering from the lack of action of the past 50 years. I believe that Slow Food has the key to reversing these challenges. I believe that our movement, uniting producers and consumers, and everyone in between, can change our world for the better. I am honored to take on this role and look forward to beginning to work with the global network of grassroots activists, to Bringing about change for the better Changing the food system, one step at a time.
Megumi Watanabe (Japan)
““I would like to recall the emphasis on joy which is at the heart of Slow Food’s identity. We need to regenerate relationships with each other within the movement, as well as with the outside world, so that we can truly become a collective voice. We must continue to remember that this movement is for all of humanity, so we must make an effort to cross borders, to step out of our comfort zone.
Francesco Sottile (Italy)
“If biodiversity has been our goal for 30 years, today a regeneration effort must also focus on our approach to biodiversity itself. We have said many good things in the past, we have supported an international network capable of demonstrating how much biodiversity there is around the planet and how much we are losing and will lose if we do not find the key to conservation through communities rural. Today, we must support an ecological transition, mitigate climate change and regenerate resources and rural areas by fighting poverty and restoring the food sovereignty of rural communities. We must do everything we can to ensure that biodiversity and agroecology are at the center of food policies, and demonstrate that from diversity comes resilience.
Nina Wolff (Germany)
“The world needs guidance to slow down, and this reinforces our responsibility to spread the Slow Food message; given the current crises and human rights violations, the political orientation of our work must increase. Advocacy can be a tool to realize our sincere desire for food justice. It is a necessity for Slow Food in the Global North to make people understand the effects of our food systems on the Global South. This international council is a large team of reliable and dedicated individuals ready to serve the movement.
“Staying together as a global food network and movement is essential to having a lasting impact on a food system that has become a burden on the planet,” added Mukiibi as he looked forward to his first Terra Madre event as president of Slow Food. “Terra Madre 2022, and the hashtag #REGENERACTION, will symbolize a moment of great openings for the global Slow Food network.”
Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, the largest international event dedicated to food policy, sustainable agriculture and the environment, to be held in Turin, Italy, September 22-26, 2002, plans to launch a hybrid event accommodating both locals and online participants from around the world around the organization’s upcoming #REGENERACTION impact campaign.
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