The portraits of the diverse Brazilian youth

The importance of having Small Scale Producers from all over the world present during Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet, becomes clear once you get to know them better. My name is Carol Sa, I am one of the SFYN activists from Brazil and I am eager to tell you more about our delegates from Brazil!

Brazil is one of the largest countries in the world, not only by its geographical area, but also by its population. The history of the country (remember that Brazil became an independent empire only 193 years ago, and that it is a republic since 1889 officially) and the rich wildlife (we have a million of different plants and animal species) result in the existence of the many food production traditions we have. In this sense, it is not unusual that the storytelling within the communities have been playing an important role in the transmission of the traditions, knowledge and methods for thousands of years now.

This becomes clear, once you dive into the story of our first delegate Sergio Batista Garcia. He is one of the very few young people who is still dressing up according the indigenous traditions. He is an Indigenous producer and he is part of the indigenous community Sateré-Mawé that is located in Parintins, Amazons. Being part of this community enables him to preserve and show the traditions his community has. He is proud on his people and their origins and eager to meet new people and to work together with them. An example of this refers to a project his community has started 25 years ago. It is an ethno-development project that focuses on social self-organization and its economics. The main food product within this project is the Guaraná (Waraná), which is originally a domesticated plant by the Sateré-Mawé for its cultivation. The goal of this project is to preserve the authentic produced Guaraná. The project is executed with people who discovered the product’s values, and who also invented the most appropriate techniques to plant it and process it. Besides, Sergio is the treasurer and representative of fair trade, within an association of producers, and is responsible for the internal control of the organic certificating process.

The second story is the one of Guilherme Ferreira. This 29 year old young man is a veterinarian and an artisanal raw cheese producer in São Roque de Minas, one of most important cities in the Serra da Canastra, cradle of the headwaters of the São Francisco river. His family owns a cheese dairy, and he is the fifth generation of his family involved in the production of cheese canastra and does not have any plans to stop this tradition. The cheese dairy of his family was the first one of the Serra da Canastra being recorded in SISBI-Brazilian System of Inspection. Recently, the artisanal Minas cheese from Capim Canastra is awarded a silver medal in the Mondial Du Fromage, Tours, France. It was the first Brazilian artisanal cheese that won an international award. This can be seen as a big achievement for all producers that keep this tradition alive, while they are facing difficulties in the production of artisanal cheeses. Guilherme is happy to represent the youth involved in the traditional artisanal cheese production during Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed The Planet.

The story of our third delegate is a different one. Tarsila Lima is a 27 year old girl form Salvador and she has been working as a cook for a while. After her study at the culinary school at the Federal University of Bahia, she has started to combine her passion of cooking with social projects. She is involved in different educational programs about cooking. One of her projects is especially aiming at mentally disabled people, to improve their social integration. Since one year, she has started to work on a new project: the Gastromotiva project. This was the moment she came into contact with Slow Food. Since then, she is thrilled to promote the principles of good, clean and fair food during her lectures to show people that they can incorporate it into their lifestyles. Not only adults are following the lectures, also young children and youth are following it. She learns parents and students about the importance of good nutrition to prevent child malnutrition, obesity and other diseases and teaches about the value of local producers and fairs, recipes and regional food.

Our last story is the one of Rafael, who is part of the Indigenous community of Tupinikim. His history has been developed on the lands that his community conquered in Aracruz, in south eastern of Brazil. The land has been surrounded by an eucalyptus monoculture for years. But, nowadays, the forest industry and recent pre-salt investments have begun to dominate the landscape of territory. This causes a complex challenge: the coexistence of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Rafael is an agricultural technician and he works with a team committed to restore the health of the Indigenous lands, a goal that has also being recognized by the Brazilian State now. The huge eucalyptus trees are being replaced by the plantation of native free seeds, following the Agro ecology principles. A commitment that Rafael assumed to be needed for the recovery of natural resources and the sustainable use of the land on which he was born and will raise his children in the future.

SFYN Brazil is proud to send Sergio, Guilherme, Tarsila, Rafael and the other over 20 delegates to Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet, to let them raise their voices, share their stories and learn a lot! Cheers to the future of our food and farming!

Carol, Slow Food Youth Network Brazil