Grow Create Inspire - In Italy

by: EJ on 10/03/2016

Today's blog post is from Crystal Stevens, co-manager of La Vista CSA farm, and author of the just released Grow, Create, Inspire: Crafting a Joyful Life of Beauty and Abundance.  Crystal and her husband Eric were sponsored by their local slow food chapter to attend the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Italy.

This past week, my husband and I were awarded a beautiful and amazing opportunity as sponsored US delegates to Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Turin, Italy- a biennial celebration of food, culture, biodiversity and the human connection to the earth highlighting chefs, farmers, food artisans, educators and activists that take part in producing or supporting food that is good, clean and fair.

Among the diverse crowd of individuals from around the world were seven thousand delegates representing nearly one hundred and fifty countries. Over 300 Slow Food presidia were present at Salone del Gusto, demonstrating the importance of biodiversity, heirloom preservation and keeping the essence and terroir alive in fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, meats, cheeses, grains, wine and beer from specific regions around the globe.

The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity coordinated the Slow Food Presidia Program as a way to create projects that protect biodiversity, to support small scale food producers whose values are in line with Slow Foods. These projects help to discover varieties that are endangered and through funding and support of producers. These varieties are grown, the seed is collected and saved and artisan value added products are often created to peak public interest.


In addition to the presidia, over 1000 communities showcasing the food specific to their region displayed their artisan goods which were sampled for the attendees and the public.

Thousands of residents from the town of Turin flooded into the streets to take part in the festivities.

I was honored to have the opportunity to meet several of my heroes including visionary Carlo Petrini, author and activist Winona La Duke, Chef Sean Sherman, author and activist Alice Waters, activist Ron Finley, filmmaker Yann Arthus Bertrand, among many others dedicated to shaping the future of food.

For years, these individuals have shaped the way the world views food. I was especially moved by Winona La Duke. She just came from the protest at Standing Rock and stressed to the crowd the vital importance in helping those at camp by donating through the website

Winona has made a huge impact both in her community as an advocate for indigenous land rights and globally as an activist and a strong voice in ecological preservation. She is the executive director of two amazing projects- Honor the Earth and the White Earth Recovery Project. Her website is

Alice Waters founded the Edible Schoolyard Project. Her work is very inspiring. For decades, she has been advocating for healthy school lunches for each child and edible schoolyards for each school.

Terra Del Madra Parade

The energy of this event was moving, inspiring, welcoming, full of gratitude and joy to come together around the common ground of food. Terra Madre- where cultural diversity intersects with biodiversity. During a speech given by Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Foods International, he mentioned, “the importance of emotional intelligence throughout the different aspects of life- thinking with your heart opens you up to relationships, friendships and fraternity. The simple act of being kind can change the world. You can see from the humanity of Terra Madre that there is a significant emotional intelligence. The delegates recharge with energy and share it with their communities.”

This experience has been life changing for me. It renews my hope for humanity and inspires me to continue to tell stories of those individuals doing grassroots work for the greater good. They are truly sending ripples of positive social change out into the world!    I absorbed so much new information that I am excited to bring home and share within my own community. I feel so much gratitude to our slow food chapter for nominating us as delegates and for Slow Food USA & Slow Food International for organizing one of the most amazing events I have ever attended.

It was especially exciting for me because I was able to bring copies of Grow Create Inspire with me to give to individuals around the globe. With so many cultures around the globe I was honored to send several books on a journey via a message written in the front cover, “If you find this book, feel free to write, draw, paint a portrait, or tell your story. Write your name and the country you found the book in, take a photo and #travelingbook #growcreateinspire on Instagram and other social media. Pass the book on to a friend or leave it in a public place for a stranger to find.” I am excited to see the worldly adventures the books await.

Be the ripple, Crystal Sevens



Pay visit to La Vista CSA farm with Crystal and Eric in the video below and prepare to be inspired.




"What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."W.H. Murry, The Scottish Himalaya Expedition 1951. (or was it Goethe?  Read more about that here)


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