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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Chiloé GIAHS site features the diversity of human culture at Slow Food

Turin, Italy, 21 November 2012

“This world is a diverse garden where knowledge can be harvested to feed the human spirit.” With these words the GIAHS delegation from Chiloé island (Chile) celebrated diversity at Slow Food’s Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre, an international fair held in Turin (Italy). The event, held from 25 to 29 October 2012, attracted 220 000 visitors from 140 countries.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Terra Madre, Carlos Venegas the Director of the Center for Education and Technology (CET), FAO local counterpart institution in Chiloé, reminded participants of the importance of collaborative action, “aside from giving us each day our daily bread, the earth can nurture the most important seed, the seed that arouses dignity, freedom, equality and joy for all beings on earth.”

His intervention followed the speech by the Director-General of FAO, Graziano da Silva, who addressed the links between the diversity of food, agriculture and human culture: “There was a time when humans used tens of thousands of vegetables and cereals but today, we rely on just a few cereals. We must focus on going forward and promoting sustainable models.”

Chiloé island is known as one of the birthplaces of the potato, more than 200 potato varieties are still grown there today. The Terra Madre conference showcased the natural and cultural assets related to the food heritage of Chiloé as part of Expo Móvil, a travelling exhibition of innovative examples of the promotion of quality food and agriculture. Among the 14 locations selected for Expo Móvil from around Latin America, Europe and North Africa, Chiloé highlighted the potential of development that is based on cultural identity and traditional practices.

The delegation from Chiloé Island included organic farmer Cecilia Guineo, cheese producer Rafael Maripán, a producer of garlic paste, two fishermen, Chef of Hotel Quilquico Rodrigo Santos and Carlos Venegas, Director of the Centre for Education and Technology (CET) and delegate to Terra Madre. Mr Venegas explained, "We have been to Slow Food several times, but this year we were invited to show the territory of Chiloé, where traditional culture is part of the development of the people”.

Advocating promotion of Chiloé's gastronomy to boost tourism and local economies, Venegas said, “The Centre for Education and Technology recognizes the importance of sustainability and working with the environment holistically. Along the same lines, by teaming up with the GIAHS initiative, the people of Chiloé recognize that our traditional knowledge and management experiences can make an important contribution to knowledge transmission and exchange with other communities.”