By Winona LaDuke
Save the Seeds
The fourth biannual gathering of food communities, cooks, academics, young people and musicians from around the world, opened here in Torino, Italy, the site of the former winter Olympics. After three earlier world food congress gatherings, this year’s Terra Madre 2010 is led by Indigenous voices, who are recognized as leaders in the world food community, and essential to the creating of a sustainable and just food system worldwide.
It opened with the legendary parade of flags, with a representative from each country in traditional regalia carrying their flag. Three Indigenous Flags, the Aboriginal people of Australia, the White Earth Anishinaabeg Nation and the Tesuque Pueblo first nation, all joined the over 150 flags from countries around the world.
Terra Madre 2010 has more than 6,400 participants from 161 countries. Of these, the 4,432 delegates (farmers, fishermen, food producers, cooks, teachers, students and musicians) are divided into 1,557 food communities and coordinated by 650 volunteers.
The opening plenary session included five powerful Indigneous speakers representing continents and hemispheres. Malebo Mancha Maze from the Gamo farmers’ community in Ethiopia made a striking start, dressed in red robes and scattering grass from his mountains as a blessing. “Food is life and food is us,” he said in Gamo. “If we keep food in our hands then life will be ensured.” He went on: “Our mountains are sources of manure. Women bring manure to the fields, where the men toil, and the children watch the livestock. The system is the combination of all of us. You cannot pull out one element. We want to continue this system, but we fear this might not be possible.”
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