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Slow down and enjoy your food

Slow Food Baguio group members (from left) Shontoug Foundation’s Marietta Paragas, Sr. Julie Garwinen, Northern Luzon Federation of Cooperatives’ Ganie Battit, ECHOstore Baguio’s Donna Boncan, Shontoug Foundation’s Ligaya Victoria and Iyaman’s Jaed Paquito.

Some “slow people” are working pretty fast to make the Slow Food Summit in the Philippines a reality at the World Food Expo (WOFEX) to be held at the SMX Convention Center and World Trade Center in Pasay City on Aug. 5 to 8. This is the second time that Slow Food Philippines will make its presence felt at the SMX.

Slow Food’s like-minded volunteers — composed of chefs, farmers, fishermen, artisans, producers, students, foodies and consumers — are die-hard believers that we have an option to choose slowing down and enjoy growing, preparing and appreciating food. It’s a group that emphatically says “no” to the rise of fast food and fast life. Its members want to change the earth or effect it by making a glocal (global-local) stand for sustainable farming and choosing food that is good, clean and fair. The group also stands to defend biodiversity in our country and try to live at an unhurried pace to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, starting at the dining table.

So, what can one expect in the Slow Food Summit?

There is the Ark of Taste exhibit, a showcase of some endangered Filipino food. The Ark of Taste is an international catalogue designed to preserve at-risk heritage food items that are sustainably produced, unique in taste and part of a distinct ecoregion. Items included in the list are intended to be “culturally or historically linked to a specific region, locality, ethnicity or traditional production practice,” in addition to being rare. Which food meets these criteria is decided by a committee made up of members of the Slow Food International. Since the foundation of the Ark in 1996, 800 products from over 50 countries have been included. The list includes not only prepared foods and food products, but many livestock breeds as well as vegetable and fruit cultivars.

Our Philippine list has 32 products listed such as the adlai cereal, barako coffee bean, batuan, criollo cacao, kadios, kamias, some different heritage rice varieties, luyang dilaw to name a few.

Next, if you come by the Slow Food Summit, there would be a lot of sharing, and talking in educational sessions that touch on keywords that bring the interconnectedness and influences of food together: the plate, planet, people, politics and culture. This you will find in formal talks and also when you converse with any of the Slow Food members you may meet in the exhibit. Foodies also get to enjoy a Slow Food lunch on Aug. 7.

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Chefs joining this year’s summit include Robby Goco of  Green Pastures, Margarita Fores of Lusso and Cibo, Claude Tayag of Bale Dutung in Pampanga, Jam Melchor of Healthy Eats food delivery service, and Chele Gonzales of ArroZeria and Vask.

Pop-up food tasting booths will be done by groups like Down to Earth (free-range meats and chicken), Fresh Start Organic from Negros Occidental, Cordillera Network (heritage rice), Cara Milk Dairy ice cream, Theo and Philo chocolates, Pamora Farm (free-range chicken and eggs), Malipayon Farms, Meliomar (sustainable fish) and ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle as a retailer who carries most of the artisan slow food and “good, clean, fair” products on the shelves and freezers. We endorse grass-fed beef, pasteurized pork, biodynamic and organic vegetables, heirloom rice and free range chicken. We all encourage farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. This advocacy is about waking all of us up to combat a global dwindling interest in the food we all eat, where it comes from, and how our food choices affect the world.

Slow Food is a global grassroots movement founded in 1989 by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists, who were protesting the opening of a fast-food burger joint. Under a banner logo of a red snail (the snail moves unhurriedly and gently, eating its way through life. It is also a culinary specialty in the northern Italian town of Bra, where the Slow Food movement was born), the global revolution for food began.

Today, the global movement includes events and projects on everything from cheese, wine, fish, traditional food events, indigenous Tierra Madre, Earth Markets, alliance between chefs and Slow Food Presidia groups. The movement is now active in over 100 countries with over 100,000 members working under the unhurried red snail.

In the Philippines, Slow Food is organized under local groups called “convivia.” There are groups in Negros, Baguio City, Cebu, Manila, Makati, Pangasinan and Pavia, Iloilo City. For this second summit, Manila, Negros, Baguio and Pangasinan are joining.

 

(For more information, visit Slow Food Philippines on Facebook or e-mail slowfoodph@gmail.com. Tickets are available at ECHOstore branches or call Gina at 0905-2871613.)

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