(Photo Credit: Anika Mester)
The culmination of the two workshops featured at the Slow Food Youth Network meeting resolved in a fishbowl-type discussion, where we sat in a large circle, with 4 chairs in the middle, the rules being that the four in the middle are the only ones allowed to talk, and that anyone on the outside can “tap” someone out and take their place in the inner circle. Topics of discussion were broad and deep. Spencer Montgomery, the representative of the United States, made points about Slow Fish and sustainability, asking questions and opening our eyes to the shortsightedness that our North American culture has to fish, fishing, and seasonality. Katarina Radevska of Macedonia is working on a movable feast, a food caravan touring farms around her region, collecting seeds to share with school garden projects. We agreed a Seasonal Food Forecast, a calendar by which one can tell what ingredients are in peak season, is a great idea. Shir Halpern from Israel suggested combining many shocking facts into a statement that caters to peoples’ sense of horror.
Afterwards we moved from work to a relaxing dinner at a local Barolo winery with the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini. Many laughs were shared, over inappropriate humour and un-translatable jokes, amazing food, wine, and company. At the end of dinner, Mr. Petrini asked me about my mother’s book on local producers, Foodshed, and I of course felt it was appropriate to gift unto him my own copy for posterity.
On the final day, we moved into a full-on brainstorm session, throwing current projects into the conversation. Aurélien Culat of France told us about the experimental kitchen that is now open. It is combination women’s shelter-and-cooking school, where people with nowhere else to go can come learn to cook, and teach others about the value of such timeless knowledge. Shir Halpern evolved her idea of visual horrors of the food system: she would like to create images in the style of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, an artist that replaced facial features with items of food. The idea, simply put, is to build a human out of junk food, one out of healthful food, and to put them side by side, somewhere public, to highlight that we really are what we eat. We collectively came up with the idea of creating a much more comprehensive web experience, where a visitor would be able to browse SFYN events worldwide, with information available so anybody would be able to host their own.
I myself have embraced the concept of holding a Soup Disco, utilizing food from large growers that would otherwise end up as waste, preparing it to great live music with friends, and turning it into food to donate to homeless shelters in one fell swoop. The first Canadian Soup Disco took place February 10.
Let’s move the discussion surrounding organics, locality, and fair-trade from “Why would we approach our food in this manner?” to “How do we approach our food in this manner?”
This concludes our series of posts featuring Darl’s experience at the international Slow Food Youth Network meeting.