Our Idea of the Balkans

The Balkans is one of Europe’s least-known regions, still suspended in a seemingly endless European Union integration process. For centuries a crossroads for people, cultures and religions; it is still home to unique gastronomic traditions. These traditions could serve as an economic, social and cultural driving force for many rural communities impoverished by decades of abandonment, migration and scarce development prospects.

And yet these traditions, still remarkably authentic, are at risk of disappearing; suffocated by the lethal embrace of a globalization that considers traditional knowledge to be an old-fashioned legacy from the past. In reality, safeguarding them would contribute significantly to the process of integrating the Balkans, including culturally, into the EU.

Recognizing that no national borders can separate food in the Balkans, the Terra Madre forum was launched in 2010; creating a common platform to investigate, understand but above all preserve and sustain the food heritage of the region. The Terra Madre network promotes the region’s often little-known foods, protects those at risk of disappearing and educates consumers on how to understand and search for local traditions, understand and value local artisan products and the communities that produce them.

ESSEDRA (Environmentally Sustainable Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas) project is a natural result of the growing and strenghtening of Terra Madre Balkans network. It was launched in 2012 and is co-funded by the European Union through DG enlargement. The project aims to support the integration process of the Balkan countries and Turkey into Europe, but in the same time create conditions for these countries to preserve their identity, demonstrated by their amazing food diversity and artisanal food.

News & Events

Goodbye to Goran Puaca, Champion of Rural Development in Serbia

When the foreign experts in social cohesion, regional promotion and combating marginalization, the ones perhaps holding masters from prestigious universities, want to understand how to work in Serbia to achieve tangible results and international recognition for a community, a place and its products, there is one thing they must do. They must go back and learn from the activities promoted, organized, supported and conceived over the last 30 years by … Continued

Saxony in Transylvania: The Bazna Pig

“The best things often come about by chance or by a whim of destiny. The same is also true for our pigs”. We are with Albert Binder, climbing the wide steps that lead up to the fortified walls of the church of St. Nicholas. We are in Bazna, a Saxon village lost in the timeless landscape of Transylvania in Romania. We are climbing slowly, at the same pace as the … Continued

Slow Food in Bulgaria supports the protest of residents of Kurtovo Konare

Today, once again, the residents of Kurtovo Konare village protested against the illegal construction of a stone quarry near their village.   Apart from the fact that the quarry will directly damage one of Besaparski Hills, part of the Natura 2000 network, it will cause a number of environmental problems – limited access to water, air pollution and practical spoilage of the harvest of fruits and vegetables, the main livelihood … Continued