Cheese without borders

28 July 2021

Cheese without borders: today we publish the two online conferences in the Cheese 2021 program, dedicated to all of you who want to explore the themes of the event and especially those of you who can’t be here physically this year.

Two events in one day, September 16, designed as a preview for the main event in Bra, and to allow our visitors to learn more about the experiences of people who work with cheese and animals every day, and open our collective eyes to the wonders this world contains.

Our cheese without borders conferences are two opportunities to both listen and participate in the discussion around the major themes of the event and the Slow Food philosophy regarding dairy products, natural foods and animal welfare.

The Animals and Us – September, 4 p.m.

The animals and us
Roman Countryside Caciofiore, Slow Food Presidium. Photo: Alberto Peroli

Consider the animals. The theme of Cheese 2021 is an invitation to rethink our relationship with other species, particularly the domesticated, farmed species which now account for the majority of mammalian biomass.

For millennia we’ve shared our shelters, our journeys, our struggles, our hunger and our fears with animals. They’ve protected us, warmed us, fed us with their milk and their meat, ensuring their survival on a planet that is theirs as much as it is ours. Animals and human beings belong to the same kingdom: we are animals too, but modernity has separated us. Industrialization has transformed animal farming into an economic arrangement in which there’s no space for the idea of a true relationship with the animals. Instead we lock them up in sheds where their lives are short and full of suffering.

The time has come for a radical rethink of the social, environmental and health implications of this relationship. It’s time to ask ourselves what existence we afford the animals, and what that says about us. Only by considering their importance for our own lives, for the conservation of pastures, for the production of nutritious and healthy food, can we rediscover that sense of humanity which the industrial and post-industrial ages have eroded.

Sign up here to take part in the event with live translation!

The essential is invisible: the battle for natural products – September 16, 7 p.m.

fiore sardo
Shepherds’ Fiore Sardo, Slow Food Presidium, Sardinia. Photo: Alberto Peroli

The fight for natural products without the addition of industrial ferments is a struggle which has seen Cheese on the frontline of since the 2017 edition.

Why talk about natural products? Why make this a battleground? Because in the last 50 years we’ve lost an enormous quantity of microbial biodiversity without even realizing it. Almost all the wines in the world are made with two or three strains of yeast, made in a single French region by a single company. And the same thing is happening with cheeses. The wealth of shapes, colors and flavors comes from that invisible biodiversity: the microflora that lives in raw milk and which is transferred to the milk from the soil, from the pasture, from the animals, from the environment and the aging process.

If we entrust the fermentation process to packets of corporate-produced, selected starters we lose an invaluable heritage of flavors, breaking the link between artisanal cheeses and the places they come from irrevocably. That’s why Slow Food promotes natural products: cheeses made without the use of industrial ferments, breads made with natural yeast, charcuterie made without additives and preservatives, wines made with native yeasts.

Sign up here to take part in the event with live translation!

But Cheese without borders doesn’t finish here… Live conferences at Biodiversity House

If you’re able to come to Bra and want to learn more in person, there will be live conferences held at Biodiversity House. Here, like every edition, we meet producers, explore their work, their problems and successes. More information coming August 10!

From August 10 more details will be available regarding all the conferences, both online and offline.

Cover image, Rove Brousse Goat Cheese, Slow Food Presidium, France. Photo: Nicola Robecchi