TERRA MADRE BALKANS GOES TO THE HEART OF
THE EUROPEAN DEBATE
After four editions in Sofia (2010, 2012), Dubrovnik (2014) and Tirana (2016), the Terra Madre Balkans network has decided to bring its voice at the heart of the European debate in a year that is crucial for the future of the new Common Agricultural Policy.
Over 100 delegates from 9 countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia) will gather in Brussels, representing the diverse potential of Terra Madre Balkans - a network deeply rooted in the region with thousands of supporters, 24 Slow Food Presidia, over 100 food communities, 50 chefs and 15 educational programs on nutrition and taste.
Home to the vast majority of small-scale farmers in the EU, the Balkans host outstanding agricultural practices and food traditions. This potential is often hindered by a mismatch between policies, their implementation, and the reality on the ground. The coming months will be crucial to define the paths of the new Common Agricultural Policy, whose impact will be particularly felt amongst newly accessed EU member states and candidate countries. Slow Food is convinced that a reformed CAP should holistically encompass not just food production, farming and trade, but also food and environmental quality, health, resource and land management, ecology, social and cultural values. So conceived, CAP could truly deliver sustainable rural development, hence contributing to a deeper EU integration.
Terra Madre Balkans will entail a series of events aiming to demonstrate the hidden potential of the Balkans, ranging from policy debates to food tastings and networking with producers of artisan food from the region.
Terra Madre Balkans is held in the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which puts a special attention to the Western Balkans and their future in the EU. Hence, the focal point of this year edition will be the conference “Western Balkans’ potential for sustainable rural development as a driver to EU integration”. It will take place on Tuesday the 22nd at the European Parliament and is co-hosted by five Members of the European Parliament: Vladimir Urutchev and Andrey Kovatchev (Bulgaria), Adina-Ioana Vălean (Romania) and Dubravka Šuica and Ivana Maletić (Croatia). It will focus on the Balkans’ potential for sustainable rural development as a driver to EU integration. The International Day of Biodiversity, 22nd of May, will be celebrated by an exhibition and tasting session of Balkans’ food biodiversity in front of the Parliament’s canteen, Products will be selected from Slow Food Presidia and Ark of Taste products in the region.
A conference “The Future of Balkan Food Heritage” on 23rd of May will further reveal the needs, constraints and potential of Balkan artisan producers to add value to their food through the EU Quality Schemes (PDO/PGI). The conference will be organized in partnership with DG Agri and hosted by the Bulgarian Permanent Representation in Brussels.
On the evening of Tuesday the 22nd, restaurants from the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance in Brussels will hold a series of dinners hosting guest chefs from the Balkans. Together they will form partnerships, to create ad hoc menus,representing the richness of the Balkans’ gastronomic heritage, still unknown to many.
Montenegro delegation held a dinner in a restaurant Garage a manger, preparing the national recopies such - pie, kacamak, potoplika, urmasice...
The fifth edition of Terra Madre Balkans is organized by Slow Food Balkans, together with EPP Members of the European Parliament from Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania who participate in the EP Delegations for relations with the countries from the Western Balkans; and is made possible with the contribution of the European Commission and the Permanent representation of Republic of Bulgaria to the EU.