The Slow Islands network of communities working to protect and promote their regional identities and cultures joined Slow Fish this weekend in Genoa. Representatives from some of Italy’s small islands – the Tuscan Archipelago, Sicily’s volcanic Aeolian Islands and the jewels of the Bay of Naples – shared their projects to promote not only their fishing cultures and sea cuisines, but to restore focus to the local area by uncovering all traditions and resources as opportunities for economic and tourist growth.
“The aim of the network is to regain the identity of our territories, which is really the true value of our islands,” said Saro Gugliotta, coordinator of Slow Islands in Sicily. “We intend to do this through three tools: a mapping of local food resources to help ensure they are not lost and to identify new projects for the Presidia and Ark of Taste; the transmission of knowledge to young generations; and building relationships between farmers and fishermen with local restaurants in order to enhance the local economy and resist the globalized food model.”
The Sicilian network has organized three events to take place this summer, including Taste Workshops and many other activities to discover the treasures of the islands. A three-day "Isola Slow" festival from June 7-9 on the island of Salina will be followed by an event on Ustica from June 14-16. The Gusta le Eolie event will be happening on Lipari in the first week of July and from September 9-15, with restaurants offering special menus showcasing local products.
Riccardo D’Ambra, leader of Slow Food Ischia and Procida, two islands in the bay of Naples, said that tourists struggle to identify with the culture of a place, and that they’d like to see people visiting the islands go beyond appreciating beauty to deepen their knowledge of the territory. "Unfortunately, most of the islands are plundered by mass “hit-and-run” tourism; vacationers using them as regenerative holidays before returning to busy urban lives. We also want to remind people that islands don’t just mean fishing and the sea. Islands also mean agriculture, culture, traditions, and autonomy. Try to look at them through the slow lens.”
To find out more about the activities of the Italian Slow Islands network visit their Facebook page.