Farmers of Slow Food

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CHIT JUAN

CHIT JUAN

The biennial Slow Food Terra Madre held every September in Turin, Italy will be unique this year. It will be done outdoors instead of being housed at the usual covered venue of Lingotto.

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Chefs, farmers and other Slow Food advocates are enjoined to make travel plans through the local convivia in the country such as Slow Food Manila or Slow Food Negros for example.

The youth are also being organized to come to the event. It is important to engage our young farmers and consumers like how Slow Food Baguio is rounding up its young members under the leadership of second generation Slow Food member Mark Paragas.

New age farmers like Onnie Duterte of Cebu, Miggy Miguel of Davao, and Michael Melendres of Antipolo must come to Slow Food and meet other farmers who feed the world with heirloom varieties and help preserve biodiversity.

How will we let consumers into the movement of serving good, clean and fair food? Our chefs must lead the way by serving seasonal ingredients grown by these farmers and avoiding highly processed and artificial food.

One of these chefs is Margarita Fores who has been attending the Terra Madre events and who showcases her advocacy for Slow Food in her “farm to table” restaurant called Grace Park. Here she has introduced heirloom ingredients like adlai (Job’s tears), an ancient grain that SF recently is promoting so it may not be endangered as a species anymore. She uses them in regular menu items like her risotto, in lieu of Arborio rice.

New chefs like Mickey Garcia of Commune Cafe are those who still go to market everyday to see what’s the daily catch of seafood. He is up early and shops at reliable purveyors of organic vegetables, seafood and free-range chicken. Mickey has been an advocate of Slow Food since he lived in Europe for over 10 years before coming home last year to use his talents in the local food scene.

We invite farmers who believe in the Slow Food principles to be part of the local chapters or convivia. Come August we will again be part of World Food Expo (Wofex) and the organizers will again sponsor our 3rd Slow Food Summit where we can sign up new members.

Jenny Pascual will again curate a Tasting Workshop where real farmers can bring their Ark of Taste ingredients like Adlai, heirloom rice and even heirloom cows’ butter and beef jerky.

Chefs who have put up organic farms and culinary schools like Chef Boy Logro of TV fame are also being enjoined so students early on can already imbibe the principles of Slow Food. We plan to visit Logro’s facility in Compostela Valley where he has an organic farm and where students can learn how to use natural ingredients.

In the meantime, Slow Food Manila has recently held a baking workshop (conducted by a real Italian couple) using only mother yeast from Europe as organized by Move Feast founder Jenny Pascual. The Italian bakers bring to the attendees their age-old practices in baking home-baked bread in Italy.

And this past weekend Down to Earth owners Nicolo and Paula Aberasturi held a Backyard Gardening and Urban gardening seminar in their farmhouse in Sta. Elena, Laguna.

Slow Food Manila has lined up many small events for the promotion of good, clean and fair “farm to table” practices. These activities like homebaking, backyard farming enjoin the general public to further appreciate the SF principles. Another plan is to hold taste workshops at the Madrid Fusion event in April at SMX.

While Slow Food Manila engages consumers, the foodservice community must also help preserve tradition by reconfiguring their menus and offerings to their diners. We call on chefs, hotel executives, owners of restaurant concepts and culinary schools to be mindful about what we teach our young. What we serve at our hotels and restaurants. Do they follow sustainability principles? Do we know and trace where we get our ingredients? Slow Food starts the movement by knowing where food comes from. And honoring the farmer who practices good, clean agriculture. Let’s meet the farmers, too.

Join us at Slow Food Manila. We can help each other feed the country well.

Find us on Facebook: Slow Food Manila or Instagram: @slowfoodph or email slowfoodph@gmail.com

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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao, Cebu City, Antipolo and Iloilo City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at puj@echostore.ph

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