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

Let’s Not Eat Up Our Planet! Fight Climate Change

In a few days, governments from around the world will be meeting in Paris to talk about climate change. After more than 20 years of failed debate, mediation and forums, the Paris conference (COP21) will attempt to broker a binding, universal agreement for the first time. In the 54 pages of the text of the negotiations, however, the term “agriculture” does not appear once, though there are multiple mentions of … Continued

Terra Madre Serbia

Let’s save together the traditional tastes of Serbia! The first edition of Terra Madre Serbia will be held on the 30th and 31st of October in Futog (Novi Sad), and will gather small-scale farmers, academicians, food experts and activists from throughout the country to promote the role of small scale farmers as custodians of biodiversity and promoters of local development. The event will be held side to the well established … Continued

Local food and gastronomic traditions are in the focus of the first Terra Madre Bulgaria forum

Researchers and producers unite to preserve genetic resource of Bulgaria… The first Slow Food forum Terra Madre Bulgaria will take place in Sofia from 23rd to 25th of October, 2015. “The event will bring together researchers, who work on the study, conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources, local communities that maintain the knowledge for artisan food production, small farmers and food producers, teachers, chefs, journalists”, explains Dr Dessislava Dimitrova … Continued