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September 22, 2019


The happenings in the world going on lately like student-led climate protests give me a lot of hope but also make me sad because the powers that be are still asleep. This is why we still have mining companies deforesting our lands, a lot of people still using fossil fuels, more companies still using plastic and throwing into our landfills.

It is like the future of food. The investors who think of quick cash and fast returns are the very same people who will look for healthier food sources in the near future. But today, they do not care. They can buy the food they like and binge on indulgent rich food without thinking about how they are sourced. I meet a lot of steak-eaters who are just concerned about their regular supply of Angus or Miyazaki, regardless of how meat has become the number one polluter.

I meet a lot of people who binge on cheese without wondering where the milk for the cheese comes from. “Life is short,” they say. “Just enjoy and do not be too political,” some tell me. But I cannot help but think of the future of food because the future is coming so soon. Who would have thought we would get worried about the food available to us? Where does it come from?

That is why I joined the movement called Slow Food. I like what they do—of promoting biodiversity while delivering good, clean and fair food. It may be a big question mark to many because we are the anti-thesis of hybrid varieties, high-yielding seeds, and most of the ideas promoting food security.

To further promote it, we pitched to some government officials about holding a Slow food festival here in the country in 2021. But, alas, they think it is not the right time. Maybe the agency we pitched to is unaware of their office’s connection to good, clean and fair food. So, meanwhile, they promote eating fast food and other unhealthy fares to our visitors who do not even know where to eat authentic Filipino heirloom recipes made with clean ingredients.

The latest promoter of our tourism efforts is a fast food company and the campaign has gone viral. What if someone in government also used our taxpayer money to promote clean food? How will that happen? First, we have to have forward-thinking officials. We at Slow Food are willing to help feed our children with better food, but whose job is it to promote it?

We went to ask about DepEd and if school gardens can be brought back so children will learn about growing food. I did not get directions of who to talk to.

We went to the Department of Tourism and they said to go to the Department of Agriculture.

Maybe we should go to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) because maybe just maybe they would think of preserving heirloom varieties, or the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) because they promote food cultures?

I will not be here for two more generations and I worry, or should I? I can very well just eat my US Prime rib or my imported Chinese salmon, and life goes on (I do not eat either). I can also just eat my truffle cheese and Spanish chorizo without thinking of our heirloom recipes for longganisa, and eating good local fish like we used to.

TRACEABLE FEAST: longganisa from Vigan, free-range eggs and papaya from Cavite, and rice from Negros

I was giving a talk on Retirement, Healthy Eating and Entrepreneurship at a government facility the other day. Guess what the merienda was? It was carbo-laden macaroni, and a bottle of softdrinks. On the table were hot water and instant coffee with cream and sugar. And in the next room, they had a “Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) and Cholesterol” check-up. They had a clinic where the clerks were sitting waiting for the next emergency. Ah, the state of our nation.

I thought to myself—this is the state of our nation. A lot of movers are “asleep” about good food. They just wait for adult-onset diseases because they expect it to hit them like old age hits everyone.

So, who will sustain us? If the government officials are not “woke” to good food, who will be?



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