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Slow Food’s momentous turning point: Carlo Petrini leaves the presidency to Edward Mukiibi

Slow Food changes formula: from association to “Ets Participation Foundation”. Petrini: “space to new generations for the future”

He founded it in 1986, made it, under his leadership, one of the movements that has most influenced agrifood culture worldwide, but now Carlo Petrini is leaving the Slow Food presidency. The announcement comes from the Slow Food International Congress No. 8 at the University of Pollenzo, in Bra, with 50 delegates from 5 Continents, marking a new era for the movement. The new Slow Food president is Edward Mukiibi, a young agronomist and farmer, educator and social entrepreneur with a degree in Agriculture and Land Management and a Master’s degree in Gastronomy from Pollenzo, who has won several awards, and was born in Uganda in 1986, the same year that Carlo Petrini in Bra founded Slow Food, a network that now involves 160 countries, and who strongly wanted this historic moment of change and regeneration. And which also marks the transition from the associative form to that of Ets Participation Foundation, recognized by the Italian state as a third sector entity, which allows for the participation of a plurality of entities, public and private.
A renewal of the international movement that began during the 2017 International Congress in Chengdu precisely to go beyond the membership model and make Slow Food more open and inclusive with the goal of best addressing today’s challenges while respecting the diversity of all the territories where the movement is active. “Emerging ever more loudly and clearly is the role of food as the main culprit in environmental disaster. Our movement, which has been committed for 30 years to guaranteeing access to good, clean and fair food for all”, says Carlo Petrini, “must have the courage to take a leading political role in curbing this drift with catastrophic implications. We need governance that leaves room for the new generations, we must have the ability to combine the new with history, to be aware that the path taken so far has allowed the achievement of goals that seemed unattainable, allowing us to be what we are. However, today’s world is profoundly different from that of the beginnings of our movement: there is therefore a need for us to be joined and directed by the creativity and intuition of new individuals capable of interpreting the present, and then outline the trajectory that will allow the achievement of future goals”. Slow Food’s new leadership, assumed by Edward Mukiibi, originates from precisely these premises. Mukiibi, who served as Slow Food vice president from 2014 until now, was born in the Kisoga area, an area some 40 kilometers from Uganda’s capital Kampala that was once rural and devoted to agriculture because of its fertile soils and has become a major trading center in recent decades. His family has always run a farm, and Mukiibi has, from a young age, wanted to continue his parents’ business. Today’s appointment as president of Slow Food is recognition of years of work in the sustainability groove and a symbol of the ability and willingness to shape the future of regenerative agriculture. “Now is the right time to rebuild, strengthen and renew. Even the smallest actions taken by our communities bring concrete hope and generate a positive impact on our lives, because we are a global family: what affects one of us affects us all, regardless of geographic, social and cultural differences. As Slow Food, it is important to be aware that a small action taken locally can have a huge impact elsewhere”, emphasizes Edward Mukiibi, “I would like to urge each of us to work with the same spirit of resilience demonstrated during the pandemic, with the same sense of belonging and solidarity, in order to involve more and more people in our activities. The goal remains the same: to create a food system that guarantees good, clean and fair food for all. This is our common role, let us embrace it with conviction”. Edward Mukiibi’s work to promote a sustainable, fair and equitable food system has won several prestigious awards: including the Ray Charles Black hand-in-the-pot sustainability award from Dillard University in New Orleans and an honor from the City Council of the City of Detroit in the United States. Edward Mukiibi also was included in the Educators category of the 50 Next Awards ranking by Forbes magazine, which identified those under 35 years old who are shaping the future of gastronomy. The Congress also renewed Slow Food’s Board of Directors. It includes seven people, four women and three men from different corners of the world, a group that is a reflection of the rich diversity that has always distinguished the movement. The Board of Directors includes the president, Edward Mukiibi, while Carlo Petrini is an ex officio member as founder. Making up the BoD are Marta Messa, secretary general, who heads Slow Food’s Brussels office, Richard McCarthy (USA), co-founder of Crescent City Farmers Market and Market Umbrella, Dali Nolasco Cruz (Mexico), who part of the indigenous Nahua people of Tlaola Pueba, is founder and member of the Network of Indigenous Women’s Organizations of Tlaola, Mopampa, Timo’Patla and Yoltik, Jorrit Kiewik (Netherlands), since 2019 has been engaged in growing the global network of young Slow Food activists; Megumi Watanabe (Japan), who launched the Slow Food Youth Network Japan; Francesco Sottile (Italy), Agronomist and professor at the University of Palermo, where he teaches Biodiversity and Quality of the Agri-food System and Protection and Enhancement of the Rural Landscape; and Nina Wolff (Germany), president of Slow Food Germany and 2020 and formerly on Slow Food's International Council.

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