Meeting other farmers

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CHIT JUAN

CHIT JUAN

TWO events come to mind this time of the year. First, the World Food Expo (Wofex) from August 5 to 8 that hosts our now annual Slow Food in the Philippines Summit; and second our annual coffee summit, which will return to Davao on its eight year.

Slow Food is an international grassroots movement that engages farmers, producers, processors, chefs and consumers to improve our food system. With 800 million people in the world going hungry and 1.5 billion eating bad food leading to disease, we attempt to correct this imbalance by starting in our own country and this is where farmer meets chef and consumer.

How can a consumer help? By knowing where your food comes from. If we tell the farmer what to produce, he will do it because that is the elusive market he is looking for. If we tell the chef what products are in danger of extinction, he will include these ingredients in his menu so consumers will know how to ask for it. Then that starts the farmer on his road to sustainability.

How can a farmer connect? He or she will be in the company of the very consumer who buys his product. We will then know the stories of heirloom rice and why we should choose it over newer hybrids. Why eating heirloom rice will ensure its existence for generations to come.


How can a chef help improve the food system? By using local ingredients that may be a little more expensive but will ensure the preservation of the species and will give fair returns to the farmer. Even fish can be sustainably caught, not by big industrial fishing companies but by our small fisherfolk.

So we have lined up farmers like Nicolo Aberasturi of Down To Earth, heirloom rice farmers from Cordillera to talk about all these on August 7 at our Slow Food Summit. Also on the same day, we have invited chefs who are part of the Slow Food movement like Chef Claude Tayag of Downtown and Bale Dutung, Chef Gaita Fores of Grace Park, Chef Chele of Arrozeria, Chef Robby Goco of Green Pastures, and Chef Jam Melchor of Healthy Eats. Consumers and our young culinary students will have the chance to meet them and listen to their Slow Food involvement.

Good, clean and fair food for all is our mantra and you can be part of it. Through eating mindfully, and eating well, we can change the broken food system. E-mail us at slowfoodph@gmail.com or text 0917-8001899.

In October, we will be busy preparing farmers for the 8th Coffee Summit in Davao, now on its the second year there. Our Asean neighbors who are also in the coffee business will share their stories of how farmers in Vietnam and Indonesia are changing the coffee supply situation in the world. Farmers will hear from our Indonesian and Thai neighbors, and it will be a farmer to consumer chain too, but in coffee.

Asean produces much of the world’s coffee supply yet many of our café owners still serve Latin American and African coffees, as these are touted to be better than most.

We are 600 million people in Asean ready to drink the Asean blend of coffee that will raise the farmers’ incomes all over the region. So we thought it best to feature our coffees from our own mountains in Da¬vao and Benguet, Matutum and Kitanglad mountains, and have these judged by our Asean Coffee Federation members.

This way, we can stand alone or sell more and produce more if we join our Asean brothers and sisters. We will ask farmers to taste or “cup” their coffees and learn from experts on how to improve its taste and general cup quality.

The 8th National Coffee Summit will happen on Oct 22 at SMX in Davao. Contact 0908-8831218 or e-mail admin.pcbi@gmail.com for the latest program and reservations.

Two big events that will change our farmers’ lives: slow food and coffee. It’s worth looking forward to as we eat and drink this every day. Good, clean and fair food. Good , clean and fair coffee.

Join us in changing the paradigms. Join us in making that big change through our seemingly small but meaningful efforts.

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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 and Cebu 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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