The success of the Slow Food Asia Pacific Festival, held from November 16 to 22 in Seoul, reaffirmed the great progress and strengthening of the Slow Food network in the region, and marked a new phase in its development.
The five-day event brought together 260 delegates from 40 countries and welcomed 30,000 visitors from all over the world. The festival included an international market with exhibitors from around the continent as well as Italy, taste workshops celebrating regional cuisines (get the lentil falafel recipe from the Israeli cuisine workshop), conferences that explored topical themes such as food and peace, and gave delegates an opportunity to share their initiatives (read about the tropical fruit tourism project in Malaysia). The University of Gastronomic Sciences was also present, offering a three-day intensive course with lectures and field visits. Slow Food Korea dedicated the event to the theme ‘Cool Farmers, Real Tastes’, giving deserved attention to the people who put real food on our tables.
“For the second time, thanks to the work of the Slow Food network in Korea, we have managed to organize an event that gives farmers and producers a voice and connects them with politicians and consumers,” said Kim ByungSoo, Slow Food International Councilor for South Korea and an organic farmer. “We hope that this event convinced consumers to look at the food system in a different way.”
Slow Food International Secretary General Paolo di Croce spoke of the great progress he witnessed in the development of the network in the region. “I am extremely impressed with the growth of the Asian network since the last event two years ago. The quality of the discussions, the number of leaders present, and the participation of many young people from 40 countries give us hope for the future growth of Slow Food in this part of the world, which is crucial for changing the global food system,” he said.
“For the number of people living here as well as the rich biodiversity, culture and traditions, Asia represents one of the most important challenges and opportunities for Slow Food,” he added. “After this event we are convinced that we can repeat the success here that we have had in other parts of the world.”
Slow Food President Carlo Petrini spoke of the joy he felt in seeing the fruit of the work of the delegates present, and urged them to continue their efforts. “When you go home, continue the discussion, strengthen the network where you live, involve farmers, educate children,” he said. “You can change the world because you are connected to the most important thing that keeps us alive: food. Don’t produce food devoid of identity; produce art, masterpieces and culture.”
“Thank you for all you have done,” he ended, “But most of all, thank you for what you will do.”
See photo highlights from the event.