“EVERY SMALL BITE CONTAINS A STORY. The world in a mouthful”

A special project about raw materials and producers from South America, in collaboration with the ITC INTERNATIONAL TRADE CENTRE

Stazione Leopolda - Area Ring

“Each of us is the designer of our own life and food is one of the most important tools in our hands”, said Fabrice Leclerc, innovation and lifestyle expert, summing up the dialogue held in the Ring at Taste. Talks by his stage partners Iolane Tavares, founder ofFrutos da Amazônia, Rachelle Olorteguifrom Ecoinca, Larry Attipoe director of Fairtrade International and Peruvian chef Mitsuharu Tsumura reveal that food even allows us to guarantee others the freedom of designing their own life.
While the secrets of innovation can be summarised in a few principles – excellent sustainable raw materials, collaboration and passion – South America, Peru and Brazil in particular, can be considered as some of the countries responsible for the greatest innovation at this moment in time, leveraging the strength and evocative ability of food. We can today talk about quinoa, about old varieties of potato and products from Amazon forest thanks to the work done by intermediaries, who have sought out stories, woven relationships of trust and prepared uninformed markets for the stories of products and cultures of other peoples. This is the case with Frutos da Amazônia, which in just a few decades has spread the culture of the forest, hitherto unknown even to cities in Brazil, through the use of local ingredients in products that can be identified by the market (biscuits, panettone, drinks). Behind these intermediaries, there are, obviously, producers, the heirs of thousands of years of relations with the land, aware that respect for the environment is the only rule that must be constantly borne in mind. Collaboration between farmers, biologists, anthropologists and chefs, as Tsumura tells us, has allowed Peru to gain new-found cohesion and national pride in its food, after the dark years during the eighties: “Food is powerful; if you have confidence in your country, development will follow”. Autonomy and self-organisation are among the keywords for the success of these projects: market links can be constructed from the outside, but not the imposition of a model. Fairtrade International is one of the organisations that work in this direction, creating direct contact between buyers and producers, with no mediation. Again in this case, one of the fundamental premises is the building of a relationship of trust, which allows communities isolated from the market to talk about themselves through their products. Every bite therefore contains one, or more, stories. It is up to the biter to become a tutor and promoter, guaranteeing even the smallest farmer the freedom to be a designer of his life.