International Conference
Food Values”
The Renaissance of the Mediterranean Diet and Significance for a 21st Century World
Casina Pio IV, Vatican City — 14th February, 2017

RELEASE 14/1/17

World leading experts in nutrition, health and sustainability will gather under the patronage of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences next month to debate the urgent need for policies to be adopted, which encourage more traditional diets.

The conference “Food Values”, organised with the support of the University of Florence and presided over by Mons. Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Academy will call for a renaissance of diets such as the Mediterranean Diet which have been shown to significantly reduce the increasing burden of chronic diseases associated with modern industrialised patterns of food production and consumption.

We are very excited about the prospect of gathering together speakers with extensive knowledge of the compelling need to change policies, to enlighten understanding of such healthy traditional plant based diets” said Professor Francesco Sofi, one of the organisers from the University of Florence. “We are privileged to host in such auspicious surroundings luminaries including Dr David Katz of Yale University and The Health Initiative, Greg Drescher of the Culinary Institute of America, world famous London-based chef patron Giorgio Locatelli and other representatives of scientific institutions and NGOs with particular interests in the environment and in nutritional education. The guests attending the conference will comprise of politicians and representatives of the world of science, food and the media.

Dr Simon Poole, a Cambridge-based physician and part of the scientific committee said of the conference: “We must re-evaluate the value we place on our food, recognise the appalling cost of convenience and the effect it is having on levels of obesity and ill health, and rediscover our cultural links with food production and consumption. The conference will seek to produce an action plan for Governments to educate, promote and if necessary legislate to change the paradigm of diet and nutrition in the 21st Century, aligning policies with food literacy and health in a sustainable environment.

One of the participating organizations is the international non-profit Oldways, which educates about the benefits of traditional diets, and created the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health and the WHO back in 1993.

“Traditional diets are patterns of eating inspired by the rich culinary histories of cuisines around the globe,” said Sara Baer-Sinnott, president, Oldways. “From hummus and Greek yogurt, to quinoa and collard greens, traditional ways of eating are the ideal guide to good food and good health with an added bonus: they help the planet.”

The Food Values Conference will take place at the venue of the Casina Pio IV, seat of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City on February 14th 2017.

For further information, contact:

  • Professor Francesco Sofi (email:
  • Dr Simon Poole (email:

President of the conference

Mons. Marcelo SANCHEZ SORONDO, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City

Scientific committee

Dr. Simon POOLE, MD – Author and Commentator, Cambridge, UK
Dr. Paolo PASQUALI – Mugello Cradle of the Renaissance, Vicchio, Florence, Italy
Prof. Francesco SOFI, MD, PhD – University of Florence, Italy

Organizing committee

Dr. Monica DINU, MSc – University of Florence, Italy
Dr. Giuditta PAGLIAI, MSc – University of Florence, Italy
Prof. Francesco SOFI, MD, PhD – University of Florence, Italy