Slow Travels to Terra Madre: alternatives for the plain

Every two years during Terra Madre the global Slow Food network of farmers, fishermen, chefs, critical consumers and other food changers gather to work together for a Good, Clean and Fair food system. But how do all these people get to Turin (Italy), the city where Terra Madre takes place? This year Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) is giving particular attention to everyone’s journey to Terra Madre. Travelling
towards our goal can be an enriching moment and an exciting period of preparation for the big event that we are all looking for. Moreover, the Slow Food Youth generation shows a special care for the environment and sustainability. This is highlighted, for instance, with the travel choices and the considerations made by the network members.

Giro di SFYN: 11 days on a bike to Italy

From The Netherlands, for example, we, the SFYN global office, and 7 other determined and crazy SFYN members have decided to undergo a cycling adventure. The “Giro di SFYN”, named after the famous bike tour in Italy, will start on the 6th of September. In 11 days we will travel along 1,250 kilometers, suffering for 12,500 altimeters and crossing 9 different countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy. On the way we will visit local producers and other friends of Slow Food. With this adventurous bike ride, we want to call attention towards a more sustainable, Slow future, in which Slow travelling is a concrete option.

The cycling tour also allows us to reconsider the concepts of time and distance. It is a way to consciously travel, without necessarily choosing the cheapest and fastest solution. In addition to this, the social aspect plays a major role: during the trip, we will cycle together as a team and we will also meet local producers. Because as SFYN, we unite young people who work together for food for change.

We live in an individualistic society. Everyone is in his own bubble, at home, in the train, at the office. We are almost always surrounded by four walls and spend more and more time looking at a screen. With Giro di SFYN we challenge ourselves physically and mentally to show that sustainable alternatives are possible and that together you can go much further than alone! “- Jorrit Kiewik (Director Slow Food Youth Network).

Travel for Change

Many other youth of SFYN are deliberately choosing to travel in ways where they can avoid airplanes. Although we have to be realistic as well, in some cases it’s not possible due to the huge distance, an ocean in the middle of the way or even because of lack of time. Farmers, for example, find it difficult to leave their lands for many days. Considering this, we are happy and proud to see the planned slow travels of our network, which we believe are worth sharing!

For example, Gillian, coordinator of SFYN Scotland, decided to go for a sustainable alternative to flying, travelling by train all the way from Edinburgh to Turin. A similar route will be followed by Frankie, SFYN Scotland, and hers includes even a night in a tent in a food garden with lemon and orange trees, including a view on the mount Vesuvius in Naples! Fran, young member of Slow Food London, has also decided to travel on the railways, to cause a smaller environmental impact. As for Julia, from SFYN Germany, she has rather decided to go for a cargo bike and take a long trip from Münster, crossing the Alps and then cycling down to Italy. All on her own! Though woman…!

Slow Food Youth Network unites crazy and dreaming young people that want to contribute to a better food system. How are you going to travel to Terra Madre? Have you also considered the impact of your travels on climate change? If you want to be aware of the international travels of the SFYNers, you can follow us by the #GirodiSFYN.

Have a safe trip and see you soon in Turin!


Credits: photograph by Lian van Leeuwen