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August 9, 2018


Slow food has evolved into a bigger cause
Four years after displaying and showing the consumers about Ark of Taste, the Slow Food Manila group has evolved into a Philippine Sustainable Gastronomy event in World Food Expo or WOFEX. Thanks to the WOFEX management led by Joel Pascual, because without WOFEX and Madrid Fusion, how do we reach the consumer?

Madrid Fusion helped in many ways
Three years of Madrid Fusion Manila (MFM) where former DA Usec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat included us in the Department of Agriculture Pavilion also provided a venue for Slow Food to showcase “seed exchanges” and “chef farmer” meet ups.

WOFEX plus Madrid Fusion equals exposure like no other. After all, who would sponsor Slow Food when its very mission is to lessen the consumption of processed food and increase awareness about fresh good clean and fair food. Who would sponsor or spend money on advocates and food activists?

This was our closing statement at the recent event where chefs, consumers, advocates and students gathered to see where Food Activism has gone. And we believe it has affected many more people now. If the crowd is a gauge of how interested people are in eating better food, and saving heirloom varieties and finally avoiding food waste—the crowd stayed on.

The afternoon sessions of two days is an organizer’s nightmare. But on the positive side, people of interest will stay if they are hungry (pardon the pun) for information. There were lively exchanges on the stage on many topics even including Slow Travel and The Mountain Partnership. Afternoon sessions are most dreaded by speakers and moderators because the time after a heavy lunch is prone to sleepy audiences. Not this time—everyone was awake, alive and kept alert by free flowing coffee courtesy of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc.

The booths or tables outside the stage proper also kept consumers busy—tasting food provided by new Slow Food supporters from Bicol—the Best of Bicol movement led by Rica Dakudao Buenaflor and Proudly Promdi’s cocktails made by the founder Ken Alonso. Kai Farms kept people busy choosing seeds while MNL Grow Kits of Carlo Sumaoang started off people on urban gardens with his “DIY” plant kits. ECHOstore showed off the Ark of Taste products like Adlai, an ancient grain and Philippine coffees like Barako (or Liberica) and Benguet Arabica (soon to be a Presidia product), as well as Raw Wild Honey and varieties of organic and heirloom rice.

There were mini book signings, too, and authors and chefs milled around the crowd—almost like a Rockstar scene where the audience could mingle with their favorite chefs like Margarita Fores and Chef Tatung and book writers like Ige Ramos. Photos were taken, selfies and groupfies of advocates who come around every year were the order of the day.

So after our fifth year at WOFEX, what’s next for the Slow Food Community in the Philippines? We know Madrid Fusion Manila is coming next year and we can transition into a Slow Travel meets Slow Food with the help of Tourism officials who know the fact that food or cuisine is the best way to sell a country to the world. Cordillera Regional Director Venus Tan was around to grace the panel on travel and we hope she can help us continue the advocacy beyond WOFEX.

Five years of WOFEX plus three years of Madrid Fusion and here we are. Slow Food is growing its communities, its convivia and many more people are now aware there are a lot of things to do.

In the meantime, we will gather our farmers, academe, researchers and chefs at the coming TERRA MADRE Sept 20-24 in Turin, Italy and who knows—maybe next year we could have an event in Southeast Asia. Penang perhaps? Or Bali?

We shall keep you posted. Meanwhile, let’s eat more heirloom rice, more adlai and drink more Barako and Arabica coffee. Those acts alone already helps our farmers stay on the ball and continue planting and producing good, clean and fair food.


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