In October, we announced a third delegation of Catskills farm and food producers was selected to attend Terra Madre, an event held biannually in Turin, Italy. Over 6,000 delegates from over 150 countries participated in workshops, tastings, regional meetings and a marketplace of sustainably produced foods. Slow Food organizes the event and selects delegates for sponsorship.
In selecting this year's delegation, we called upon the twelve past delegates to nominate and select peers they felt would most benefit from the experience. The group did an excellent job selecting a diverse group from three counties in the region including Paula Allen of Thornwood Farm, Kendall Craig of the Masonville General Store, Sonja Hedlund of Apple Pond Farm, Marybeth Mills of the Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room and Mary Tonjes of Tonjes Farm Dairy.
Delegates shared the following thoughts and images for us to share with the Pure Catskills community.
Catskills delegates Paula Allen (fourth from left) and Kendall Craig (second from left) gather with fellow producers outside Terra Madre.
“As I stepped off the bus, the realization sank in, what an immense undertaking to nurture and coordinate such an event. And people the world over had responded, showing up, standing together in common-unity for a positive declaration of good, clean and fair food. People had journeyed long and far, proudly representing their regions and sharing their wares at this global, yet intimate convergence. It is a powerful thing to witness and recognize, the potential of looking forward together in this good way. Living on the ‘frontier’ of rural New York has an element of isolation, so the sheer numbers of Terra Madre is a memory that will sustain me.”
Kendal Craig – Masonville General Store, Masonville
Panelists including Alice Waters discuss Farm to School projects. Photo by Marybeth Mills.
“We attended a seminar, geared towards the educators in attendance - about living and teaching the principles of the Slow Food movement. Teachers from around the globe got up and shared their stories about how to bring this manifesto to life for their students. Many of these dedicated professionals told amazing stories about their commitment to interacting with children - helping the children learn about their cultural roots in food production. Many of the students in their classrooms heralded from different regional groups within their country. Since we've been back, Devin and I have visited Phoenicia Elementary School and have spent the day in their 'Community Garden' - their very own edible schoolyard. Each grade was asked to come in and harvest crops for us to cook. The children would bring their bounty to Devin, wash it, and Devin would prepare salads, grilled vegetables, soups for the children to sample. We were even impressed with how many children were excited about a kale salad - not often considered an exciting vegetable - at least from the under 10 year-old crowd.”
Marybeth Mills - The Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room, Big Indian
Ah, variety! A display of Italian cheeses. Photo by Marybeth Mills.
“A special encounter with young American farmers and old farmers (like me!) was organized by Slow Food USA. About 100 new farmers gathered for small group sessions. . Twelve of us old timers from all over the USA had a chance to describe their farms, what worked and did not I was the only farmer that had expanded into on farm renewable energy systems. My suggestion to the new farmers was to make personal pleasure and play a regular day of their farm work.”
Sonja Hedlund - Apple Pond Farm, Callicoon Center
A decorative fruit carving in the Salone de Gusto. Photo by Kendal Craig.
A display of Italian peppers in the Salone de Gusto. Photo by Kendal Craig.