Valentina Gritti

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- Introduce yourself...
I am a young gastronome passionate about food in all its aspects. I was born in a very small town not far from Milano. Since I was little I found it really interesting to deal with people from different cultures, so I studied at a high school specialising in foreign languages and literature. In 2013 I moved to Bra to study at unisg and I graduated in 2016. Afterwards I enrolled at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, to attend the European Master In Food Studies. It is a master mainly focused on food industry and product development. I spent last year travelling around Europe to follow different courses at Wageningen, Cork, Paris and Lund universities. Since september I have then moved to Rotterdam to do an internship combined with my master thesis in sensory analysis at Mars Food. As soon as I had arrived in Rotterdam, I joined the local SFYN and I am currently still doing some activities with them. Since January I have also started working as the international coordinator of SFYN. In addition to food, I am also passionate about whisky, natural wines and music. I play piano and pretend to play guitar. If you are looking for me in the weekends, you will definitely find me at the jazz bar under my house.

- What did you study at UNISG, when and why did you decide to enroll here?
At unisg I attended the 3 years undergraduate programme. I decided to enroll there because I have always dreamt to work for fair trade in the field of food. I didn’t know about the existence of Slow Food before starting the courses at Unisg, but I had realised from its programs and classes, that it could offer a very interesting education based on the same ethic values I believe in.

- What did you enjoy the most here at UNISG?
Useless to say it: the study trips. It is just amazing that you can find yourself all of a sudden riding a horse on the Ande mountains along with shepherds, then picking cactus fruits in the desert, fishing Mackerels in Sicily or harvesting oysters in the North Sea. The best way to learn about gastronomy is to see what you are studying with your own eyes and to directly listen to who has been doing a traditional production for ages. Another very positive aspect in unisg is the community that is created among the students. Since we all shared those great experiences, we have built a strong relationship, which is still going on even after getting spread all over the world.

- How did your food vision change during UNISG?
Thanks to Unisg I developed a very holistic overview on food. I have learned to approach critically to the food system and a methodology to identify its problems. By travelling and living every day in a multicultural environment I have opened my mind a lot.

- Do you have any suggestions for current students?
First of all, enjoy the years at Unisg because they are likely to be the most beautiful and dense of your life. Secondly, keep the connections with all the producers, companies, teachers, classmates that you will meet along the way. Third, try to join as many events of Slow Food as you can, volunteer, brainstorm, share your ideas. It is a very huge treasure to have a movement such this one so close by. Last but not least, give importance to all the subjects you study: with history you get culture, with anthropology you learn a methodology, with tasting you get experienced, with philosophy you learn how to express your ideas and with statistics you can convince people that what you are saying has a basis.

- What did you see in Slow Food Youth Network?
I saw a huge opportunity. I believe that by creating a strong network of young, smart and motivated people it would be really possible to bring a positive and radical change to the food system. The SFYN is a powerful tool to amplify our ideas and to share our believes and values in the world. In addition to this, this movement has the ambition to empower youth. It is not about telling people what they are supposed to do: it is about providing youth with what they need to make the change themselves.

- We heard that you plan on working together with Condotta, what are your expectations for that?
Condotta is the bridge between the university students and Slow Food. Therefore it is important for SFYN to be in direct contact with this group. Both sides can take an advantage from a cooperation. On the one hand SFYN can get in touch with the students, their knowledge, ideas and contents (pictures, videos and so on) and share them within its network. On the other hand condotta can take advantage of the fact that SFYN is an international movement, which is able to amplify ideas and to help finding the tools to put them into practice. We would like to keep an active communication in both directions and we would like to work together during events or projects. Finally, once the condotta (and the other students) graduate from the Unisg, they will be spread around the world. It would be awesome then if they could get in touch with a local slow food youth group wherever they are. Building communities with aligned values is the best way to generate effective ideas. These ideas have a big impact if shared in a network.

-Your Unisg Table team