The Taste of Meadows is the common thread of Cheese 2023, and even more so in the conferences at the Biodiversity House.
We venture into the highlands, exploring issues and opportunities from multiple perspectives.
The main focus is on permanent meadows and pastures, which have been shrinking at an increasingly alarming rate for the past 60 years, both in the mountains and in the hills and plains. The reasons for this reduction are diverse – depopulation of the mountains on one side, urbanization and the dominance of monocultures on the other – but the result is the same.
Saving pastures and permanent meadows is part of the Slow Food commitment to safeguarding biodiversity. We explore various facets of this complex topic, including:
- Transhumance, an ancient practice and a true civilization that has defined itself over centuries of history. Yet, it is also an extremely contemporary message, focused on landscape conservation, pastures, tratturi (traditional paths for livestock movement), animal welfare, and sustainable development.
- The climate crisis, which is rendering Alpine pastures increasingly fragile and vulnerable every day.
- Lastly, we discuss mountains as inhabited places, where we can trigger a renewal process capable of breathing new life into areas that, without serious reflection and planning, risk depopulation or being perceived solely as seasonal tourist destinations, or as opportunities for speculative property investment.
Pastures, Meadows, Local Communities
It is important to remember that there are no stable meadows without grazing animals, and vice versa. At the same time, we must highlight the crucial work of herders and local communities that interact with these ecosystems. Cheese 2023 places the relationships between humans, animals, and the environment at the center stage and becomes an important platform for discussing:
- the numerous challenges that producers and herders face in Italy and abroad regarding the issue of access to pastures, the animal welfare measurement criteria of ClassyFarm that overlook extensive and small-scale farming systems, and raw milk, which is often still perceived as a problem; it’s use is still illegal in some countries.
- How consumers can support pastoralism and sustainable farming through their choices.
- Looking to the future, we dedicate one of our meetings to young individuals who envision their future in the highlands, caring for animals. To equip themselves best and embark on this path in Italy and around the world, there are already several projects for herder Schools. We want to give space to these experiences.
A note on attendance
The events are free and open to all. To participate, online registration is appreciated (simply click the “Register” button and provide your email).