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Live and Learn the Terra Madre Way – Gildernew

8 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has attended the first ever Irish Terra Madre food festival in Waterford.

Terra Madre Ireland is hosted by the Irish Slow Food movement and is their inaugural Irish Food Festival in Waterford from 4 - 7 September 2008. The centrepiece of the festival is an all-island food policy conference entitled 'A Sustainable Future for the Irish Food Industry' which was addressed by President Mary McAleese, Junior Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Trevor Sargant TD and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA.

Addressing delegates Ms Gildernew said:

"Sustainable food production is the reality that our agri-food industry, north and south face everyday. We must ensure that not only are our traditional skills, our land resources and our environment sustained but also the livelihoods of our producers and farmers. Terra Madre is a prime example of how we can achieve this, utilising our local Slow Food movement through greater integration and focus. This festival is a credit to not only the organisers, but also the movement's producers and supporters.

"I hope everyone in attendance this weekend will reap the benefits of shared practice and experience. Terra Madre offers a tremendous range of food expertise and produce in one event and is a unique opportunity for everyone here to learn from each other and sell their wares."

The four-day Terra Madre event has been organised by Slow Food Ireland. It has gathered together food producers, policy-makers, manufacturers, academics, retailers, writers, chefs and food enthusiasts. To complement the one-day food conference there is also a garden banquet, tours of artisan food producers, cookery demonstrations, food tastings, competitions and a huge farmer's market.


  1. SlowFood International was set up in 1989 to help local producers compete with the mass advertising of processed foods by the major multinationals. It promotes good, clean, fair, food, locally produced, where possible.
  2. The Terra Madre festival will include a Conference, Gala Banquet, Artisan Food tours, Farmers Market and networking events. Terra Madre originated in Turin, Italy, where it attracts 130,000 visitors to its biannual Food Festival.
  3. The Northern launch event for Terre Madre was held in Nicks Warehouse, Belfast on 23 July and was addressed by Darina Allen and Donal Lehane (Chairpersons of SlowFood Ireland and Terra Madre Ireland 2008).
  4. The website address for the Waterford festival is

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