Slow Food Saddleback News

Slow Food Australia National Conference at Ulladulla 20-23 August 2015

Slow Food Shoalhaven Organising Committee
Slow Food Shoalhaven Organising Committee

Seven Slow Food Saddleback members attended the conference with 100 delegates from 15 convivia as far away as Perth, Swan Valley, Adelaide, Mildura, Melbourne, Gippsland and Hobart.

We were joined at the conference by Tricia Ashelford from Kiama Farmers Market and in the future we are keen to participate in some market activities to further expose the Slow Food message of Good, Clean and Fair Food to the Kiama community.

Poulo Di Groce, General Secretary of Slow Food International based in Bra, Italy opened the meeting after Noel Butler, the traditional custodian led the welcome to country. As part of his global update, Paolo was delighted to tell us that Slow Food has established it’s first convivia in China, he considers this a major breakthrough.

‘Changing the Food System’ was this years theme. New event ideas shared by the various groups highlighted interesting ways to support this theme. Each Convivium presented a summary of their year’s activities, and we were all quick and keen to learn from each other.

The conference featured two main sessions concentrating on major Slow Food Australia issues.

Alison Lansley, from the Australian Specialist Cheese Makers Association  and Kris Lloyd, head cheesemaker at Woodside Cheese Wrights in South Australia discussed the development of Raw Milk Cheese Production in Australia. A long battle has been waged and restrictions have been eased but producers are still facing severe conditions and rules.

The second session What is Slow Fish? How does Slow Food approach this topic? Chef and food critic Matthew Evans, Pia Winberg founder of Venus Shell Systems (Pia is speaking at our SILOS lunch) and David Maidment, local grower of the Arc of Taste’s Angasi Oyster, spoke of the problems we are facing in Australia with sustainability and food labelling issues, particularly in restaurants. The rejection of the  Fish Imports Disclosure  Bill was  also discussed.                                                                    Note (see article SMH AUG 29-30, 2015 by Nicole Hasham) Fish Imports Disclosure Bill rejected. Consumers in Dark on Seafood origins. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon introduced the Bill after a Senate inquiry recommended the measure for cooked or pre-prepared seafood.  Proponents said it would have enabled diners to support the Australian seafood industry and know their meal was clean, sustainable and legal. Seafood consumption has doubled since 1975 and about 75% is imported. Australian Medical experts have expressed concerns over the amount of Asian imports containing banned antibiotics. 

A Slow Fish dinner was enjoyed that night at Bannisters Restaurant at Mollymook promoting local seafood including the Angasi Oyster.

Matthew Evans, Tricia Ashelford and Stuart Whitelaw

On Saturday the talk was based around the 3 international objectives 2012 -2016 *10,000 Gardens in Africa, *10,000 Arc of Taste Products,*10,000 Slow Food Convivia and Terra Madre food communities. Several groups provided their regional  specialty foods, together with Arc of Taste products for sampling.

That evening we were treated to a most memorable dinner at Cupitt’s Winery, Milton.  Several long tables treated 120 members to a Slow Meat – Nose to Tail Dinner featuring their own beef, wine and produce. It was superb!!! and thank you Rosie, Grif and Family.

Sunday bought much excitement when Poalo announced the sponsorship of Noel Butler, the Traditional Custodian and Budawang man of the Yuin Nation to attend the 2015 Indigenous Terra Madre event in Meghalaya, North East India in November this year.

Bomaderry TAFE hospitality students did a great job preparing professional and delicious treats using local products for all lunches and morning/afternoon teas.

A demonstration of a new App featuring Sydney that Slow Food  has been working on, highlights restaurants, cafes, markets that align with Slow Food guidelines. This will be available to members in the near future and will be an international city user guide eventually.

We look forward to 2016 Slow Food Conference which will be held in Mildura at a date to be confirmed.  This convivium has a great source of interesting cultural produce including the Murray Cod that was accepted on the Arc of Taste this year. They also have a tradition of food production in conjunction with the Italian community that features so strongly in the area.

Congratulations Slow Food Shoalhaven, for hosting a splendid event.

We will post the dates for the Mildura events as soon as they are confirmed.

Celia and Vicki