Slow Meat: Awareness regarding meat consumption and production

How much meat do we eat? A lot—indeed, too much. Eating less meat, of better quality, would be positive for the environment, our health, and the welfare of farm animals.

One of the main objectives of this Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is to make people more aware of their own dietary styles and consumption patterns. Thus, we must begin with meat, where a change of direction is needed more urgently than ever: By participating in various Slow Meat #foodforchange events and workshops, you can find out why this is the case.

Here is a short guide with many useful tips.

Awareness Building Forum

What do we mean by “high-quality animal farming”? We will discuss this matter during four meetings dedicated to cattle, goats and sheep, poultry, and pigs. In the case of pigs, we will confront the industrial farm system—mostly based on one breed (the large white)—behind the mass production of cured meat. While raising pigs for meat is rightly considered one of the activities with the worst impact on animal welfare and the environment, it is also true that alternative models exist—models based on local breeds, animal welfare, and healthy diets for farm animals—that look beyond the logic of maximizing production in the shortest possible time.

Slow Meat Terra Madre

Large White, the most commonly farmed pig breed

Speaking of animal welfare, we are dedicating an event to the presentation of an international campaign to be launched in September by Compassion in World Farming: End the Cage. We will reflect on the living conditions that far too many farm animals face, as they spend most or all of their lives in cages. Fortunately, there are alternative systems that are safe and sustainable and that guarantee animals a high quality of life.

A good animal farming system has positive effects not only on animal welfare, but also on the climate and the environment. With Climate Friendly Farming, we want to highlight the crucial differences between small-scale and industrial breeding and analyze the various tools that we can use in the field to calculate the impact of different kinds of livestock management.

The opportunity for critical thought does not end here, nor do the questions. Several events will focus on the relationship between farming and agriculture. In particular, in the forum Is Agriculture Without Animals Possible?  we will show how these two practices developed together until the advent of industrial agriculture and chemical fertilizers broke the link. Will this be the case in the future? Is agriculture possible without animals? What would it look like?

Other discussions will examine eggs, pastoralism, the biodiversity of animal breeds , and alternative ethics, such as those of “conscientious omnivores,” who choose to reduce their consumption of meat (link) and placing more attention on the quality of the meat they consume; and of vegetarians and vegans who have given up meat altogether for environmental, ethical, health, or even religious reasons. Is it possible for these different categories of people to find a common ground for dialogue?

 

… the workshops where you can taste what’s happening

Salame Terra MadreTwenty-six Taste Workshops and Cooking Schools, designed to refine our skills and broaden our understanding of different topics through tastings dedicated to Italian and international products, will fill out the program for the 12 forums dedicated to one of Slow Food’s main campaigns.  Here is a brief list so that you can orient yourself in the program:

 

  • natural cured meats, i.e. those made without the nitrates, nitrites, and other additives which, today, are considered normal even though cured meats were produced for centuries using only natural preservatives such as salt, pepper, chili, spices, or smoke. Try salami from the Marche and the Po Valley, bresaola that the Michelin star chef Stefano Masanti makes using Maremmana beef, spicy Calabrese cured meats (link), the marvellous salami made from black Abruzzese pigs, that Peppino Tinari produces at the farm near his restaurant, Villa Maiella, and, from beyond Italy, meats preserved according to Hungarian and South African techniques.

 

  • from nose to tail: workshops about how to use the whole animal. We’re often lazy when it comes to buying meat. We always order the same quick and easy cuts in order to prepare a meal in just a few minutes. However, with a little bit of effort, we can discover many other great cuts and preparations. Some examples? Meatballs and Meatloaf, two classic recipes to avoid waste, or the South African recipes  useful for reducing waste in the kitchen.

 

  • Meatless Monday Terra Madrevegetarian workshops: everything good about legumes and vegetables. Central to the Slow Meat campaign is the recommendation to substitute animal proteins with vegetable proteins. Here you can try many recipes based on legumes: the rare Latvian varieties (link) from Baiba Smilga’s “collection,”  lupin beans  from Italy and South America, and many more you can find in our last article on Vegetarian options. And if legumes are not enough, there is the vegetarian borsch from the Ukraine or the vegetarian recipes developed by the curators of the US campaign “Meatless Monday”.

The delights do not end here: Slow Meat will also be at Eataly, in the workshops “Raw and Unadorned ”, meat of the Piemontese cattle; An All-black lentil!; and Prosciutto and Bubbles. And, of course, Slow Meat will be in the Market set up in the Lingotto pavilions, at the stalls of all those producers who adhere to Slow Food’s protocols on the production of quality meat.

Stand with us. Slow Meat is awareness.

 

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