Slow Food is not about chewing your food slowly ! It is an international association that works to defend food biodiversity, disseminate taste education and bring producers and consumers together. They have over 100,000 members in 150 countries – not a bad effort ! So, Slow Food supports sustainable agriculture and knowledge of food and its origins.
I wish we had energetic enough local people and/or people with a little time around the Northern Valleys to start a local chapter of Slow Food and highlight the local produce we enjoy. Of course this implied criticism is directed at me too. I think the association talks so much sense – sense that many people locally would love to espouse.
This is what Slow Food advises us to consider when shopping for food:
- give preference to local and seasonal products
- rediscover traditional, local products
- be suspicious of products with overlong lists of ingredients and incomprehensible names
- avoid products with additives, colouring agents and preservatives;
- choose products that come with suitable information about cultivation and/or breeding and/or processing techniques
- avoid unnecessary packaging or give preference to packaging with biodegradable or recyclable materials to reduce waste
- buy only what we need in order to reduce waste.
I like the way slow Food says “Your wallet is a powerful weapon: choosing a product means supporting an idea, the work of many producers and a whole community.” Do remember that, and buy Northern Valleys produce whenever you can.
And again “When we shop for food, we should be curious, watchful and far-sighted, learning to combine pleasure and responsibility.” Talking about WATER (or, so far, locally the lack of it this winter) 70% of all water used in the world is used in agriculture.
900 litres to grow 1 kg of corn.
3,900 litres to produce 1 kg of chicken
15,500 litres to produce 1 kg of beef.
As I have mentioned before, at Maggie’s Place we define Locavores as people who:
- Eat in season;
- From the region;
- Eat fresh.
Eating ripe, local produce ensures you are consuming produce at its best in terms of quality and taste. It is all too easy to want local strawberries in February – sometimes because your child has a tantrum and wants only strawberries, in February. Well, as the song goes, ‘You can’t always get what you want’. Its too hot locally to grow strawberries in February so they will have to come from somewhere else at greater cost in terms of transport and flavour. Skip the February strawberries and encourage the family to eat locally grown grapes, melons, peaches, nectarines and plums that month.
Learn to think seasonally and your locally grown food will taste better and probably be cheaper.