October 18 – 26, 2014
With a variety of microclimates, Piedmont is one of the most geographically diverse regions of Italy, boasting a rich food culture based on complex, agrobiodiverse farming systems that are tightly linked to Italian food and farming traditions. This beautiful region at the base of the Alps is home to an abundant variety of agricultural products: apple, pear and plum orchards; numerous rice varieties; wheat and corn; and livestock for meat and milk. The region is also famous for its vintage wines and wide variety of specialty cheeses.
However, this wealth of peasant-based foods has been threatened by the promotion of industrial development, favored by shortsighted national and EU policies.
In the face of these threats, small producers in the region are organizing to defend their diverse farming systems, strengthen their communities, and promote food sovereignty. Small cooperatives like the Valli Unite and Terra a Gente coops, for instance, produce a wide variety of traditional products and market them directly to consumer groups (Gruppi di acquisto Solidale). Piedmont-based Slow Food is also working to safeguard small farmers, biodiversity and sustainability.
On this delegation, you will explore the complex realities of Italian, European and global food systems through direct contact with the producers, consumers, policymakers and advocacy groups of the Piedmont region. While traveling in the Italian countryside, you will visit well-established farmer cooperatives and stay in rustic farmer-owned guesthouses (agriturismos), giving you a feel for rural life in the region. You’ll also tour Europe’s largest farmer’s market, Porta Palazzo, and learn about the changing face of Italian food culture due to the presence of diverse immigrant groups.
This year you will also have the opportunity to participate in the bi-annual Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto—an international event organized by Slow Food International. This global gathering of food cultures is designed to display the extraordinary diversity of food from all over the world and unite food producers and activists in celebration of “good, clean and fair food.”
*The first day of Terra Madre is included in the cost and itinerary of this delegation. If you wish to stay beyond the last day of the tour to participate in the rest of the conference, you may do so at your own expense
Tour highlights may include:
- Visit the Valli Unite Cooperative in Costa Vescovado (est. 1981) that produces wine, grain and vegetables and markets directly to consumers on and off farm.
- Participate in a pasta-making workshop with local farmers.
- Visit Terra a Gente cooperative farm in Albugnano, Asti Province, which produces wine and livestock, operates an organic restaurant, and markets its products directly to consumers.
- Hike to the 13th century abbey “Santa Maria di Vezzolano,” an important landmark in architectural and agricultural history and an UNESCO world heritage site
- Participate in world-renowned Terra Madre, Slow Food’s International Conference that unites farmers, fishers, activists, cooks, and consumers to celebrate “good, clean, and fair food.”
- Meet the founder of one of Piedmont’s very first organic farms and discuss EU policy and it’s impact on small farmers
- Food tour of Turin guided by a cultural anthropologist; Discussion of the influence that immigrants from all over the world have had on Turin’s food culture
- Visit the open air Porta Palazzo fruit and vegetable market in Turin, the largest open air market in Europe, and meet with the representatives of a Turin based consumers association.
- Cooking workshop at Frutto Permesso Cooperative in Bibiana, an organic farm established in 1987 that runs educational food projects and produces and processes grains, fresh fruits and vegetables; raises local breeds of cows, pigs, sheep and bees.
Tour Cost: $2850 USD*
* We are committed to fairly compensating everyone who contributes their labor, time and passion to enriching our delegations and making them run smoothly. A limited number of partial scholarships are available for eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.
- All in-country transportation during the tour including airport transfer to and from Turin Airport (Turin-Caselle Airport)
- Three-star hotel accommodations and overnight stays in farmer-owned guesthouses (agriturismos) for 8 nights; single accommodations are available for an additional fee of $500 (Please only select for health reasons. We stay at small agriturismos that can only accommodate a limited number of single rooms).
- 2-3 meals per day
- Food First trip leaders (country expert/policy analyst), local guides, guest speaker honoraria, translators and drivers
- Preparatory reading materials (“Reader”) and Orientation Packet
- All scheduled program activities, including presentations and workshops
- Food First membership
NOT INCLUDED: International airfare, most beverages, tips, insurance, personal expenses.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Katie at email@example.com or call us at (510) 654-4400, ext. 223
A NOTE FROM FOOD FIRST:
Please note that the aim of Food Sovereignty Tours on this tour is to highlight the realities and challenges faced by Piedmont’s farmers and consumers. While you will enjoy a wealth of delicious, cooperatively and organically grown food and wine on this tour, it is not intended to be a “culinary” tour. Rather, this delegation seeks to expose the true face of Piedmont’s food system and the struggles of local people and social movements to build food sovereignty. We do this by highlighting the cooperatives and farmers that are working to preserve their way of life. We stay in farmer-owned guesthouses in order to grant them economic support, and also to provide our participants with greater insight into Italian rural life. Please note that these are not luxury accommodations; they are rustic, yet comfortable, and filled with the charm that farming families offer. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about tour accommodations, activities, or the mission of Food Sovereignty Tours.
HEAR FROM OUR ITALY PARTICIPANTS
“I have returned to San Francisco with an entirely new, refreshed and revitalized vision for the future of our sustainable food system. In short, thank you for enabling us all and providing so many new insights on our global path towards good, clean, and fair international foodways.” – Emma Sharer, Italy 2012
“I’m strengthened in my belief of the educational, innovative and encouraging nature of this type of Tours for which I want to congratulate Food First. It is showing that vacation time, traveling, and tourism can be conceived and used for a human, enriching purpose and to share global experiences, lives and challenges in a very thoughtful manner. More people, especially young, but also less young in all our countries should be offered this kind of Tours.” –Jean Feyder, Italy 2012
“The Piedmont tour was well organized and intellectually substantial and stimulating. The farms we visited were beautiful and interesting, and the lunches and dinners at the coops were superb. I am recommending Food First tours to friends and family.” – Pam Walker, Italy 2012