Slow Food Launches Slow Olive: Celebrating a Symbol of the Mediterranean 

Slow Olive, the first biennial event of Slow Food dedicated to the world of olives, will take place April 14-17, 2016, in Ayvalık, Turkey. The event, open to the public, is organized by Slow Food, Slow Food Turkey and the Municipality of Ayvalık.

Participants from Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco, Greece, Italy, Israel, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey will discuss a variety of topics as well as critical issues regarding the olive and the olive tree.

Slow Food has been working for many years to give value to the production of quality, extra-virgin olive oil and to safeguard age-old olive trees. It has established several Slow Food Presidia, such as the Italian Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or the Maestrat Millenary Tree Extra-Virgin Olive Oil in Spain.

Slow Food aims to safeguard the uniqueness of this immense heritage of olive trees, farmers and oil pressers found all over the Mediterranean. It has taken action in support of small producers who work under the banner of sustainability, excellence and protection of territory, despite the environmental, bureaucratic and commercial challenges they currently face.

There is intense debate around olive cultivation and oil production, both on the part of producers and individual citizens. Indeed, olive production is suffering as a result of climatic events and pests, such as the xylella fastidiosa epidemic, which was detected on olive trees in southern Italy in autumn 2013. The sector is also threatened by the lack of traceability, the abolition of some customs duties and by the general industrialization of olive growing and competition from large multinational corporations.

Slow Olive will be an opportunity to exchange views with small-scale producers, to educate consumers about taste and give them the adequate information on quality standards regarding what they find on the market.

Guest speakers at the event will include: Piero Sardo (Italy), President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity; Ursula Hudson, President of Slow Food Germany; Hilal Elver (Turkey), United Nations Right to Food Special Rapporteur; Ali Ekber Yıldırım (Turkey), journalist from Dünya Gazetesi with expertise on agriculture; Nicholas Coleman (USA), olive oil sommelier; Razan Zuayter (Jordan), President of the Arab Network for Food Sovereignty; Barbara Massaad (Lebanon), writer of Soup for Syria; Artun Ünsal (Turkey), writer and researcher; and Ömer Madra (Turkey), activist.

The event will feature a marketplace where the biodiversity of olives will be exhibited. There will also be screenings of films about olives, and an open air kitchen near the Cunda shore where chefs will be conducting workshops. An important part of the event is the Sema Moritz concert on April 15, at the Ayvalık Taksiyarhis Memorial Museum.

For more information and interview requests, please contact:

Paola Nano, Slow Food International Press Office: +39 329 8321285, p.nano@slowfood.it

internationalpress@slowfood.it – Twitter: @SlowFoodPress

Defne Koryürek, International Slow Food Councillor from Turkey: +(90) 212 291 5320, +(90) 555 377 1673, dkoryurek@gmail.com

Slow Food involves over a million of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in over 160 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize; and over 2,400 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.