Slow Food: The Terra Madre Salone Del Gusto 2020 Pushes Through With Digital & Physical Events Around The World
Everybody loves food. The things we eat, the cuisines we love, the gastronomy we enjoy: all these are literal parts of our every day lives. But while many acknowledge the importance of food, few people stop to consider how such fare impacts the world. Food is, after all, a part of our culture and plays a significant role in politics, agriculture, and the environment.
This is where Slow Food comes in. Founded in 1989, Slow Food is a global, grassroots organisation that aims to preserve local culinary traditions while simultaneously counteracting the rise of the "fast life". In other words, the Slow Food group fights to ensure global access to good, clean, and fair food, ones that are sustainable, healthy, and ethically sourced.
This year, one of Slow Food's biggest projects returns to centre stage. The Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is a global event set to run from October 2020 to April 2021. Taking place in multiple countries, the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto involves an international network of chefs, activists, farmers, fishers, and academics from 160 different countries. Together, participants and guests will join in on physical and digital events that make up one of the world's most important events dedicated to food, agriculture, and the environment.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Usually held every two years in Italy, the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto takes on the digital diaspora for its 2020 edition. Using the Internet to its advantage, this year's event is set to become the most far-reaching in its 24 years of existence. The new format will include conferences, forums, food talks, and workshops; all of which are easily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. The Philippines is set to host a few of these as well. Chit Juan, the Southeast Asian Counselor for Slow Food, comments: "Going digital will make us reach more people via social media. And by holding events digitally or virtually, everyone can participate; unlike in the past when Terra Madre was held in Italy, [not everyone was able to go there]."
As a tie-up with the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Philippine chapter of the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto will involve local destinations such as Negros, Pangasinan, Palawan, Bicol, Pampanga and more. "The Slow Food movement helps tourism as we spread the benefits of travel to the countryside so our rural communities are empowered economically," DOT Secretary Berna Puyat says. "The movement will elevate our local products, champion our heirloom produce, and celebrate our indigenous ingredients, working directly with small-scale producers and creating dishes that are not just delicious, but promote sustainability in our culture."
Physical events abroad are also set to take place. From Africa to South America, Terra Madre Salone del Gusto will be hosting taste workshops, guided dinners, farmers' markets and various activities in all affiliated cities. These include wine tastings in Italy, farmer's markets in New Zealand, and many more.
Read also: WWF Philippines To Launch Sustainable Home Cooking Series Online
THE LOCAL CHAPTER
Philippine gastronomy will have its time under the sun with multiple events set to showcase local fare and practices. Slow Food On Air, which will be held from September to December 2020, is among the exciting lineup of events. A radio show aired from Pasil in Kalinga, this programme aims to educate local farmers about sustainable agriculture, traditional farming systems, and new innovations.
Live broadcasts from Makati will help boost Terra Madre's presence in Metro Manila: an online summit on food production will help locals understand how individual choices affect our environment on a macro scale, while the exciting "Kain Na! Inumat at Pulutan" will feature Chefs Kalel Demetrio and Nino Lau as they prepare a menu based on local ingredients. A Bacolod round table and a Cebuano food demonstration are also among the lineup for digital events in the Visayas.
Meanwhile, physical events will continue in Palawan and San Dionisio. The Indigenous Food Festival of the Palawan Community aims to renew interest in the preservation of indigenous plants and ingredients. Palawan elders will introduce forest foods to participants while demonstrating cooking methods and practices involved in the extraction of such ingredients. The Terra Madre Food As Medicine initiative will also gather farmers and women to help raise awareness on safe food that can be foraged from local backyards and farms.
While some may be apprehensive about attending physical events, DOT Secretary, Berna Puyat assures the public that the Department is taking a gradual and safe approach towards such gatherings. Not only that, but the Terra Madre events are also aligned with the concept of "slow travel", which in essence is helpful towards economic and agricultural recovery. "When we travel slowly, we discover more of our own country and allow ourselves to immerse in the culture, food, heritage, and the environment of a place. We begin to understand how we are all connected, and we become invested in our collective future," Secretary Berna says.
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