Slow Food is a large international organisation
Slow Food is against intensive, chemical farming and shabby eating habits that reduce food to consumption. It is for identifying, protecting and promoting food products and methods of production that are linked to a geographic area or have long traditions.
Slow Food began in Italy in 1986 and became an international movement in Paris in 1989. The organisation is made up of hundreds of small groups called convivia – based on the word and notion of conviviality.
Hobart has had a convivium since 1998, and just three leaders – Scott Minervini, Judith Sweet and now Jenny Dudgeon.
Slow Food Hobart organises five to six events a year. We always have a celebratory meal as part of our annual general meeting in July. In 2010, Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans and Ross O’Meara cooked us a Real Food Dinner. The previous year Jo Cook and Michelle Crawford presented a Sustainable Eating dinner with rare-breed Wessex Saddleback pork and home-grown vegetables and fruit.
We have had bring-your-own picnics at sites such as the old hop kiln at Bushy Park, the Zito’s hazelnut orchard in Kettering, a heritage apple orchard and on days when we have picked olives or wine grapes before lunch.
Bus tours, or slowjourns, of school and community gardens have been a regular feature, as have bus tours with lunch at a country restaurant on Open Vineyard weekends and festive brunches with silent auctions to raise money for projects in school gardens and kitchens or the food-rescue service SecondBite.
We have enjoyed hands-on cooking classes conducted by Stefano de Pieri (twice) and mother-and-son duo Sally and Alistair Wise and a cheesemaking workshop with Nick Haddow at Bruny Island Cheese.
A weekend away to Bicheno featured talks on raw milk cheese from Jon Healey of Pyengana Cheese and the threat to the honey industry from the loss of leatherwood trees from Hedley Hoskinson. On a weekend at Hawley Beach we visited Elgaar Farm, Nichols Poultry, 41 Degrees South and Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company.
The biggest international Slow Food event is Terra Madre held every two years in Italy. It brings together food communities committed to producing in a sustainable way. The first Terra Madre in Turin in 2004 and was attended by 5000 delegates from more than 130 countries. A similar number attended the 2010 Terra Mare in Torino, including, from Tasmania, Matthew Evans author of The Real Food Companion, and Rodney Dunn of the Agrarian Kitchen farm and cooking school.
At the same time as Terra Madre, Salone Del Gusto, an expo of good, clean and fair food draws more than 150,000 people to Turin for taste workshops, conferences and to see chefs in action.