Slow Food Saddleback News

National Conference – Hunter Valley 3 – 6 August 2017

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

The Hunter Valley are coordinating the National Conference this year. It is only 5 weeks away.  If you are planning to come it is time to book!

A conference highlight is a chance to hear Bruce Pascoe  talk about his book “Dark Emu Black Seeds: agriculture or accident?” at Tocal College on Aug 3 at the opening night function.

9am – 11.30am Leaders and convivia representatives meeting to discuss our impact on food issues that are relevant to Australia. This is an exciting opportunity for a broad spectrum of leaders, members and representatives to consolidate past wins and forge a strategic direction. Venue: The boardroom at Pitcher Partners, Maitland Office, 20-22 Church Street, Maitland NSW 2320. Morning tea to be provided by Pitcher Partners. Leaders or convivia representatives attending will need to RSVP for this meeting to The agenda will be forwarded to all leadership in Australia prior to the meeting. Those not attending the session will have a free morning to explore the sights of Maitland.

Conference opening and Earth Market launch

12:00noon – 1:00pm Launch of Australia’s first ever Slow Food Earth Market, Maitland and opening of Slow Food in Australia National Conference 2017. Location: The Levee, Central Maitland.

The opening of the National Conference and the opening of the Earth Market are combined events and will include a Welcome to Country by Aunty Aisne, the national anthem performed by children of Telarah Public School, the City Mayor’s welcome to Maitland, and the official opening of both the conference and Earth Market by Associate Professor  Francesco Sottile, Slow Food International. Join the producers in the ringing of the bell to signify the start of the first Earth Market in Australia.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch in The Levee. Enjoy lunch at participating venues in and around The Levee and the Slow Food Earth market, Maitland. Enjoy lunch at participating venues in and around The Levee and the Slow Food Earth market, Maitland. A list of participating venues and lunch vouchers will be supplied to all delegates when the bookings are confirmed.

Earth Market

2:00pm – 6:00pm Slow Food Earth Market Maitland. Location: The Levee, Maitland.

Attend Australia’s first Earth Market as a market-goer, a volunteer on a stall, or as a stallholder (selling your own produce from your region).

Volunteer to Assist Earth Market farmers / producers
Slow Food members and friends are invited to work on a stall with a local farmer and help sell produce to local market-goers. You will experience local Hunter Valley culture up-close and personal and have some fun at the same time. If you have a t-shirt or apron that identifies your convivium please pack it and wear it for this special event. The local community will also be invited to participate in the festivities of the combined National Conference / Earth Market launch.

Participate as farmer/producer
Any producers from any of the other convivia who wish to participate in this first-ever Australian Earth market by selling produce from their own area will need to let us know of their intentions.

To participate
If you would like to volunteer on a stall with a local farmer or if you want to represent your area at the Earth Market by selling produce from your area, please email Anne Kelly, Honorary Secretary, at

A thought-provoking evening

6:00pm – 8:00pm Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu (Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?) Venue: Tocal Agricultural College

Working together with Maitland City Library’s “Look Who’s Talking” events, we are proud to bring this thought-provoking presentation. The evening is open to the public and Slow Food conference attendees alike. In his book, Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe argues for the reconsideration of our understanding of the way Aboriginal people lived up to early colonial times, drawing extensively from the journals of explorers to present evidence about the agricultural and technological sophistication of Aborigines. He is joined in conversation with Amorelle Dempster, leader of Slow Food Hunter Valley and the Australian Councillor for Slow Food International.

8:00pm – 10:30pm ($30) Spit roast dinner featuring Galloway Beef (this breed of beef is listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste) with local beer and wine. Venue: Tocal Agricultural College.

This dinner is open to delegates and the general public. Delegates will be given a voucher. Members of the general public who are not members of Slow Food will need to pre-purchase a ticket by contacting Miriam Farrington, Conference Bookings Officer, 0407 250 848 or

Friday 4 August

9:00 am – 5:00 pm The symposium is open to delegates and the public and will be focussing on local food issues with national implications. Venue: Tocal Agricultural College.

Registration and welcome

8:30am – 9:00am Symposium registration.

9:00am Welcome and introduction of the first keynote speaker.

Keynote presentations

9:10am Keynote presentation 1: Educating future farmers by Darren Bayley, Principal of Tocal College.

9:40am Question time.

9:50am Keynote presentation 2: Food Biodiversity in the Hunter, Noel Jupp-Horticulturalist, Riverdene Nurseries in the Hunter Valley.

10:30am Question time.

10:45am Morning tea.


Forum Panel 1 Bread, bees and honey

11:15am Forum Panel 1 will focus on the issues facing our staples such as bread, bees and honey, the interconnectivity between these staples and the issues and challenges these producers face.

Forum details

Focus: Conservation of grain and bees, and the threats to honey production.

Moderator: Kelly Lees (Urban Hum, urban honey producer).

Panel members: Simon Brownbridge, Biodynamic Farmer & Sourdough Baker (grain), Carolyn Sonter, Danielle Lloyd-Prichard, Lecturer in Bees at Tocal College (bees and honey).

12:15pm Question time.

12:30pm Lunch, including workshop on making bee hotels.

Forum Panel 2 Guerrilla farmers

1:30pm Forum panel 2 will focus on Guerrilla farmers (overcoming the regulatory challenges to becoming a viable, small scale, good, clean and fair farmer).

Forum details

Focus: Changing food and agriculture policy, legislation and regulation in Australia.

Moderator: Tammi Jonas – Owner, Jonai Farm & Meatsmiths.

Panel members: Sarah Sivyer (egg farmer, Just Been Laid), Joanna Blunden (development officer—eggs, Tocal College), Matt Dennis (vegetable farmer), Mathew Grace (Merrifield Farm, free range pig farmer).

2:30pm Question time.

2:45pm Afternoon tea.

Forum Panel 3 Slow Meat: Eat less meat, of better quality

3:15pm Forum Panel 3 will focus on Slow Meat: Eat less meat, of better quality and have a major impact on the environment.

Forum details

Focus: Raising awareness of meat that is raised humanely, naturally and with minimal impact on the environment. Learn that a cow is not only made up of steaks.

Moderator: Greg Venticinque (Galloway beef).

Panel members: Tammi Jonas (Jonai Farms & Meatsmiths), Kelly Easton and Simon Carroll (owners, Little Hill Farm) Steph Teterin (lecturer, Tocal College), Pam Johnston, (Pokery Piggery).

3.45pm Question time.

Summary and close

4.00pm Summary of main points raised during the day by Elena Aniere, Slow Food International Program Development co-ordinator, Australia Oceania.

4.15 Stephanie Teterin (lecturer, Tocal College) and Bosley – the 1000kg demonstration bull.

5:00pm Close.

But wait … there’s more (dinner and yarns)

6:00pm – 9:00pm Winter Heat: Dinner and a good yarn around the fire in Wonnarua Country. Enjoy a sumptuous feast of both Indigenous and Eritrean food. Participate in food stories told around a fire.

Members of the public are welcome to be part of this event. Dinner vouchers will be sent electronically to anyone who has pre-booked this event and to delegates who have purchased the full conference package (remember to book via Try Booking).

Please note: tickets may still be available to delegates and the public on night (if this event is not sold out).

Saturday 5 August

Setting the foundation

8:45am – 5:00pm Slow Food in Australia meeting at Tocal Agricultural College.

8.45am Message from Carlo Petrini (via video).

9:00am – 9.30am Shaping the future of Slow Food by Associate Professor Francesco Sottile, The University of Palermo, Italy, Representing the Foundation for Biodiversity.

9.30am –11.00am Don’t miss an opportunity to get your neurons firing. Come with your thinking cap for a wild ride for an hour and a half.

11-11.15 Morning tea.

11.15 – 11.30am Sharing of biodiversity Projects, events & campaigns from the International network – Elena Aniere.


Panel 1 Building the Slow Food Networks

11.30am –12.30pm Panel 1 will focus on Building the Slow Food Networks (with moderator – Q&A ideas).

Networks and project representatives (each representative will make a 10 minute presentation)

Terra Madre Network: Lee Galloway, Leader of the Terra Madre project in the Hunter Valley.

Creating the Chef’s alliance for Australia: Alison Peak, Slow Food Melbourne.

Slow Food Youth Network: Tom Christie, Terra Madre delegate and winner of the inaugural Slow Food Hunter Valley scholarship.

Please note: other speakers may be added to this forum as the conference approaches.

Panel 1 discussion (a working lunch)

12.30pm – 1.30pm A working lunch focussing on “Building the Network”. During this time delegates will work in groups. Delegates can choose to sit with the presenter of their choice and focus on the presenter’s topic and how to continue building either the Terra Madre Network, the Chef’s alliance or Slow Food Youth Network.

Panel 2 Slow Food Biodiversity Projects

1.30pm – 2.30pm Panel 2 will focus on Slow Food Biodiversity Projects (with moderator – Q&A ideas).

Biodiversity topics and project representatives (each representative will make a 10 minute presentation)

Ark of Taste: Vince Velletri, Slow Food Swan Valley and Leader of Ark of Taste working group.

Earth Market: Amorelle Dempster.

Indigenous Food Gardens: Andrew Dempster.

Food Education: Noelene McBride and Anne Kelly.

Panel 2 discussion (a working afternoon tea)

2.30pm –3.30pm – A working afternoon tea focussing on biodiversity projects. During this time delegates will work in groups. Delegates can choose to sit with the presenter of their choice and focus on the presenter’s biodiversity project topic.

Panel 3 Events and Campaigns

3.30pm –4.30pm Panel 3 will focus on Events and Campaigns (with moderator – Q&A ideas).

Campaigns/events and speakers (each speaker will make a 10 minute presentation)

Snail of approval: Erika Hackett, Slow Food Noosa – hear about Noosa’s creative Snail of Approval campaign.

Slow Fish: Alison Peake, Slow Food Melbourne – Alison brings back wisdom and campaign ideas from Slow Fish in Genoa.

Slow Meat: Gary Thomas, Slow Food Western Victoria – Gary – and his peer Tammi Jonas – are organising a Slow Meat event to highlight sustainable meat consumption.

Slow Olive: Mildura – Slow Food Mildura will share with us their Slow Olive event.

Slow Pig: Mildura – Slow Food Mildura will share with us their Slow Pig event.

National campaigns and Projects

4.30pm – 5.30pm – General discussion on national campaigns and convivia commitment to projects, events & campaigns.

But wait … there’s more (dining at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery)

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm – Celebrating Slow Wine in The Hunter Valley at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG)

Features local seasonal produce and local Slow Wine. Between courses, a forum panel (Ross McDonald, Macquariedale Organic Wines; Daniel Honan; The Wine Idealist; Professor John Germov & Dr Julie McIntyre University of Newcastle will raise awareness of the challenges facing vignerons and wine makers to produce wine that is clean and fair, as well as good.

Sunday 6 August

Breakfast – Delegates’ responsibility.

Business meeting

9:00am – 11:30am Business Meeting for Slow Food in Australia (open to all Slow Food in Australia members and observers). 


The agenda items for this meeting are:

Report on the work of the Slow Food in Australia Management Committee.

Presentation of the accounts since the previous national meeting.

Presentation of the budget for 2017.

Review of roles and responsibilities for the following 4 years.

Report and presentation of the new Communications Plan for Slow Food in Australia.

The appointment of the Chair and members of the Slow Food in Australia Management Group.

Confirmation by individual Convivia of commitment for Slow Food projects, campaign and events nationally and locally.

Winding up

11:30am – 11:45am closing remarks from representatives of Slow Food International.

11:45am – 12:00pm Presentation of proposed Next Slow Food in Australia National Conference.

12:00pm – 12:30pm Thank you to delegates, sponsors and volunteers.

12:30pm Formal close of conference.

But wait … there’s more (what else but a picnic?)

1:30pm onwards Closing picnic (optional).

Although it is traditional for most delegates at the national conference to travel home on the Sunday afternoon, it is hoped that some people will be tempted to stay another evening in the Hunter Valley. This picnic will be provided by Slow Food Hunter Valley, and will feature more of our best local produce. The venue will be the historical and picturesque Walka Water Works near Maitland.