Slow Food Summit, 2016
As a new leader of Slow Food Saskatoon, this was my first national summit. It was both inspiring and eye-opening. I’m amazed at what a team of volunteers, operating on a shoestring budget, are managing to accomplish. I’m proud to be a member of Slow Food, and to contribute to such an amazing movement alongside such impressive people.
We were hosted by Slow Food Columbia Valley, in Invermere, BC, and there were some impressive projects, from organic dairies to community greenhouses to local farms and restaurants that are committed to good, clean and fair food. It was a packed schedule that included both touring and meeting.
This year’s theme was “Feeding the Future” and we heard from producers, activists, chefs and ecologists and had some frank and meaningful discussions around these often difficult topics.
I attended multiple information sessions on such topics as:
- Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems in Canada
- Access to Good, Clean and Fair Food for All (a conversation with food banks in British Columbia).
- Slow Food USA Global School Garden Project
- Young Farmers Producing Good, Clean & Fair Food
Regarding the work that Slow Food Canada is doing, as well as some other resources that were tabled at the summit, there are a few items I’d like to bring to our followers attention.
There are two committees focused entirely on production: Slow Fish, and Slow Meat. Slow Meat is quite a new committee, and I encourage any producers of slow meat on our mailing list to check out the Slow Meat Canada Facebook page, like it, and post to it. If you are on twitter, use the hash tag #slowmeat.
Our fearless leader of the Slow Meat Committee is Julia Smith of Urban Digs Farm. I had first heard of her on a CBC radio program back in February. I was super excited to ‘meat’ her in person. She is a firecracker.
Slow Food Saskatoon has been wanting to put on a whole animal butchery workshop/dinner, and we are newly inspired to do so as a #slowmeat event. Watch for it in the Fall!
The Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance is a relatively new organization that currently only has members in the lower mainland of BC and Quebec. Check out the requirements for joining, if you are interested in joining more than 400 chefs around the world in defending food biodiversity and heritage.
Slow Food Youth:
Everyone at the summit was impressed to see that 50% of our delegates belonged to the Slow Food Youth group. While it is difficult to gather enough young people to begin their own Slow Food convivia across the country, I’d like to encourage any young people (35 and under) to connect to the Slow Food Youth Facebook page, or get in touch with me, and I can link you to the movers and shakers in the youth movement. They meet via Skype, so anyone anywhere can get involved. Anyone over 35 can also follow their Facebook page and attend meetings. They’re open to everyone and have an inspiring amount of energy.
Two members of the Slow Food USA School Gardens program presented at the summit, and offered an amazing number of resources as well as an invitation to anyone running school gardens in Canada to join the Global Garden Exchange, which is a penpal program with school gardens in the US.
They offer webinars, curriculum-based learning and all the tips you need to start a school garden, or connect with others.
Along those same lines, Groundswell Community Greenhouse is an amazing example of a teaching greenhouse that promotes food security and sustainable development. I would strongly recommend getting in touch with them if you’re considering a similar project.
Ark of Taste:
The Ark of Taste is a cornerstone of Slow Food International’s work. Threatened food items that are nominated to the Ark of Taste are actively promoted and preserved. Canada’s Ark of Taste is quite shockingly underpopulated, considering our vast geography and diverse people.
Anyone can nominate a threatened, under appreciated or difficult to find food, whether it be a fruit or vegetable cultivar, an animal breed, or a special method of food preparation that is unique to a region. If you are inspired to make a nomination, please let us know! Slow Food Canada is trying to streamline the process, so if you have any trouble with the nomination process, also please let us know.
Yours in good taste,