New mayor wants Turin to become Italy's first 'vegetarian city'

Vegan and vegetarian diets are encouraged to 'protect the environment, health and animals'

Katie Forster
Thursday 21 July 2016 21:51 BST
A woman sells fruit and vegetables at a market in Italy
A woman sells fruit and vegetables at a market in Italy

Turin's new mayor has pledged to turn it into Italy’s first vegetarian city by making the promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets a "priority".

In a manifesto, Chiara Appendino said vegan and vegetarian diets would be encouraged “to protect the environment, health and animals”.

Ms Appendino is a rising star in the Five Star Movement, an anti-establishment political group led by a former TV comedian that has been gaining ground in local elections across Italy.

She was elected mayor of Turin in June with 55 per cent of the vote – a surprise result following 23 years of left-wing mayors.

The Five Star Movement was established in 2009 as a protest party by comedian-turned-activist Beppe Grillo, who often writes in praise of vegetarianism on his blog.

And Luigi Di Maio, a member of Mr Grillo’s Party and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies in the Italian Parliament, celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this month with a vegan cake.

The populist, anti-corruption movement is known for its environmental values, but is eurosceptic and has an ambiguous stance on immigration.

Turin's new mayor Chiara Appendino on 20 June, the day after her victory

Turin, a popular winter holiday destination due to its proximity to the alps, is in the Piedmont region, home to a number of traditional meat dishes such as ‘bollito misto’, a hearty stew made from beef, veal, sausage and poultry.

However, it seems that tastes may be changing: there are now more than 30 vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Turin, according to Corriere Della Sera, and many have sprung up in recent years.

Piedmont is also the birthplace of the ‘slow food’ movement, which was founded in a small town 50km south of Turn called Bra in 1986.

It aims to preserve traditional and regional cooking as an alternative to fast food chains.

Ms Appendino’s 62-page manifesto, titled ‘Government programme for the city of Turin 2016-2021’, did not set out how the city would encourage vegetarianism among its citizens.

But this could include educational initiatives to teach schoolchildren about animal welfare and nutrition, according to the Guardian.

In June, Virginia Raggi, another Five Star Movement politician, was elected mayor of Rome. She is the first woman to ever hold the position.

The 37-year-old lawyer won support for speaking out against corruption and deteriorating public services in the Italian capital.

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