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AU: Spreading the Slow Food message into North Queensland
If you have never heard of Slow Food, just think of fast food and it is the complete opposite, according to one Queensland member of the movement.
Helen Hill is helping to establish the Townsville Slow Food Convivium (the term Convivium is derived from the word conviviality, meaning friendship). It is one of the newest in Australia and the only one in tropical Queensland. She says having the group is not only a good way to help promote producers, but helps network industry professionals with the market.
"One of the most important things is connecting urban consumers with farmers," Ms Hill said. “There are three words we use: They are GOOD, flavourful nutritious food, great for your palate; CLEAN, grown in a sustainable manner; and FAIR for growers so they are paid correctly for what they produce - as well as fair prices for consumers. Slow Food has created a Chefs’ network in Australia as well as globally. These chefs can also be linked with local growers such as a poultry grower, or a fruit and vegetable grower, to ultimately create a tasty and nutritious dish using local produce," Ms Hill said.
The movement was started in Rome in 1986, by Carlo Petrini, a food and wine journalist concerned by the introduction of fast food chains which could threaten the traditional local food culture, for which Italy had become renowned. The Slow Food movement is now active in 160 countries around the world. Ms Hill says Slow Food's message is also important in creating food awareness and its impact on people’s health.
"An important role is in educating people about where their food is coming from, how it is grown and how to use it in the kitchen," she said. "It's all about using what is in season. When I shop, I look for local fresh produce which is usually the cheapest as it is in abundance when it is in season."
In Australia there are 17 convivia with almost one thousand members. Last September 45 delegates from Australia, along with 7,000 from other countries, attended the bi-annual Terra Madre expo in Turin, Italy. On the Australian stall, bush foods were showcased and additional workshops and tastings were held.
Ms Hill, who also grows the Achacha tropical fruit in the Burdekin region in North Queensland, returned from Italy and saw potential for the group in North Queensland. It was launched last December at a special film screening of Theatre of Life, about food waste with Massimo Bottura then number one world restaurant owner and chef.
A dinner called Food & Words will be held at the PePPi PePPi restaurant in Townsville this coming Thursday, May 25, when the Australian head of Slow Food, Amorelle Dempster, will speak about the many facets of the Slow Food Movement. Local Townsville resident, Renae Tobin, will also speak on sustainability in the seafood industry.
For more information:
Slow Food Townsville
Phone: +61 417 275 457
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