The Project

The "Granaries of Memory" project is an ambitious scientific and didactic plan whose aim is to collect and re-tell the memories of the world into videos through a complex multimedia archive. The collected interviews reshape tiny universes that are disappearing through the testimonies of farmers, builders, artisans, entrepreneurs, partisans etc.

Seeing this footage we encounter memoirs of reality, of universes that often can’t speak for themselves. Memoirs intended not only as a memento of the past, but as an instrument to re-think and re-shape the future.

The definition "Granaries of Memory" is rooted in the farming world: the store house created after a year of agrarian work, a pantry of first necessity goods to face the long winter time, during which the earth is sterile and doesn't bear any fruit.

The idea for this metaphor was implicitly suggested by Marguerite Yourcenar when in Memoirs of Hadrian she writes the old emperor saying:

"Founding libraries is like building public barns, like stashing supplies against a winter of the soul that many clues, unfortunately, suggest is on the way".

University Of Gastronomic Sciences and Slow Food as memoirs keepers

The University Of Gastronomic Sciences in collaboration with Slow Food has been developing the "Granaries of Memory" project ever since its foundation in 2004.

Nowadays the culture of tradition appears to be in danger, threatened by a world that desperately tries to erase the past. For over a decade our research group has been collecting testimonials from rural communities to prevent them from getting lost. There was once the oral tradition that guaranteed the preservation of this heritage. Now we need actual barns to fight the famine of ideas and the predominant and homogenous culture that silenced the precious knowledge of our elders. I don't want to leave these battles to others. We have to defend the biodiversity of cultures. Then again, to take part into preserving ethnographic diversity means taking part into preserving biodiversity.

The University Of Gastronomic Sciences and Slow Food want to offer all possible scientific and idealistic help to this holistic project of life and democracy of the memories that I believe are indispensable to keep alive, so that both in eco-friendly development and in the poetry of affections new harmonious identities can be built, that are able to confront each other in a democratic and inclusive critical dialogue based on an heritage of knowledge.

The "Granaries of Memory" are an original contribution towards scientifically proceeding in this contrasting and utopian certainty of research, a path that invites others, with a methodology that often varies, to face the challenges that awaits us and exceeds any human rationality.

Carlo Petrini
President of the University of Gastronomic Sciences
President of Slow Food International


Scientific Partners