August 10, 2017
YOUNG AND SERIOUS ABOUT SLOW FOOD
You would think of most farmers in the average age of 57, a statistic I’ve known since I started planting coffee about 10 years ago. But look again, these new guys could not be more than 35—and good looking, too. Besides the young farmers in our midst, we also now are joined by younger chefs and young retailers who all believe in saving biodiversity through their newfound careers.
There’s Enzo Pinga of Earthbeat Farms who could pass for a matinee star with his good looks. He is joined by Carlo Sumaoang, Raffy Teraoka Dacones, and Chinchin Uy of Slow Food Negros. There’s Karla Delgado and Amena Bal of Kai Farms, Hindy Weber Tantoco of Holy Carabao Farms, Melanie Go of Holy Carabao, Tina Morados of Pamora Farms, and Gene Gutierrez of Big Bens. Then there’s Enzo’s favorite kuyas, Nicolo Aberasturi and Gejo Jimenez, who still are younger than the average age I mentioned.
Chef Jam Melchor first got exposed to Slow Food and sustainable cooking while working with us in Le Bistro Vert about 6 years ago. He continued to support the cause and further got involved in the Slow Food Youth Network where all members below the age of 35. He now is also on his way to present Pinoy cuisine in UnISG in Italy in early October.
There’s Ken Alonso of Proudly Promdi, a guy who’s really proud of his roots in Adams, Ilocos Norte. He now promotes Ark of Taste ingredients through his Tapuey and Bugnay wines. Talk to Ken and he will surely impress you with his knowledge of old traditions of making rice wine. Ken promotes his Ilocano wines in an new wave kind of way, through creative concoctions like “TMFT” a tribute he says “To My Favorite Tita”.
Bea Misa-Crisostomo talks about saving the environment through seed exchange and making sure monoculture is discouraged. She spearheaded the seed exchange which happened at the Slow Food events called Slow Talks.
There are also the more seasoned mentors, Backyard Farming author Paula Aberasturi of Down to Earth, ECHOstore ‘s Reena Francisco, and Proudly Ifugao’s Gina Lumauig.
Why am I sharing about these people? They happened to volunteer and they appeared during our Slow Talks in WOFEX held just last weekend. Nobody gets paid to speak about Slow Food, Ark of Taste, and Sustainable Fish and Seafood. Everyone just volunteers time and talent to get more people especially chefs and farmers to talk to each other.
Maricel Arenas, a backyard farmer, was impressed and posted on Instagram and Facebook: “Kudos to these passionate people who do ground breaking work (with no profit in mind)” she says.
And indeed these young entrepreneurs found their passion and their business idea all rolled into one. They will be rewarded with like-minded customers who will make their enterprises sustainable.
Unlike the usual food movements promoting particular products, Slow Food simply promotes the correct farm practices, and the sustainable actions from farm to table.
Let’s support these young advocates. They need not be 57 years old to become movers and shakers in agriculture. It starts with consumers who will believe the young can also be slow—meaning they can be Slow Food advocates even if they’re just starting their businesses. And we hope this next generation will have more young farmers and chefs believing in the principles of the Slow Food movement.
Join the Slow Food Youth Network. Find them on Facebook . And if you’re over 35, there’s always our group – Slow Food Philippines! Sign up today and make that big difference. No matter what age everyone can help fix our broken food system. Log on to www.slowfood.com
Photos by Reena Francisco and Maricel Arenas
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