UNISG & Slow Food host the Informal Meeting of European Ministers of Agriculture in Pollenzo

Ministri Agricoltura

After a welcome speech by Dean Piercarlo Grimaldi, Belgian student Tine Devriese spoke of the University of Gastronomic Sciences’ great dream. “We can’t fight to change the world and save biodiversity on our own,” she said. “We want to create a large network uniting producers, politicians and consumers. I hope this informal meeting will be the first great step towards that union.”

The Bulgarian producer Dessislava Dimitrova, for whom this was the first chance to speak to her minister directly, stressed the peculiarities of each European country and the difficulties small producers have to address every day: “We appreciate your efforts in Brussels, but in our opinion the CAP will only work if, over the next few years, we see the number of young people employed in agriculture rising, red-tape and barriers falling, and opportunities increasing. We’re in your hands, please don’t disappoint us.”

The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş paid tribute to the uniqueness of the university before giving the floor to Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food and the University of Gastronomic Sciences. “We have given voice to 28 food communities from your countries here today,” he told the European Ministers, “and they have brought food products from the four corners of Europe. Some of these are in danger of extinction and we have to defend them. For they are the real heritage of this humanity of ours and we should be proud of them. Because the future of Europe has been made possible by small farmers and food producers and livestock breeders with their labor and wisdom.”

“Our ambition is to speak of Europe for its food culture,” said Maurizio Martina, Italian Minister for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, in his closing speech. “With its unique educational and cultural experience, Pollenzo is the example of European unity in this respect. It isn’t secondary that Europe is receiving a new boost from its food and wine tradition. For us, this isn’t a way of looking backwards but rather of offering this tradition an alternative direction and new values to guide us towards the future.”