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Toki Oshima illustrationMixed in the crowded aisles of the biennial Slow Food jamboree called Terra Madre, where thousands of farmers, food producers and activists gathered in Turin, Italy, in October 2012, were three Maine women.

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Artisan cheeses, jarred artichokes, colored salts, smoked meats, chocolates: Artful displays of such foods at 600 stalls in the Turin, Italy, Lingotto Fiere exhibition center for the seventh Slow Food Salone del Gusto could have been viewed and tasted at any Italian-flavored food show that focused as Slow Food does on the products of small, sustainable producers.

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Dakar representatives at Terra MadreSometimes you have to travel far to understand what you have at home – not that it is a hard sell to get chefs and farmers to consider travel to Turin, in Italy’s Piedmont region and gastronomical capital, in October, the season of the truffle and the harvest.

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Five years ago, McDonald's revealed plans to open a fast food restaurant in the southern Italian town of Altamura, Apulia. Area citizens, supported by Italy's Slow Food movement, campaigned against the development by establishing their own group "Friends of Cardoncello" (named after an Italian mushroom).

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Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm in Harborside, a regular participant in the public dialogue on locally grown, seasonal produce, faced a room overflowing with individuals in blue jeans, silk saris, turbans, African batiks-and earphones. The subject was Mass Communication about Agriculture in the United States, the setting was Terra Madre (Mother Earth) in Turin, Italy.

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