We received and published this letter from Mrs. Qiao Ling, president of Slow Food Great China, in response to the message of solidarity from Carlo Petrini and the international movement, following the serious crisis related to the spread of coronavirus in China and recent cases of discrimination against the Chinese population that are occurring in many parts of the world.
The Slow Food network in China has been active since 2015 and works above all to restore value to the rural areas of the country, through the protection of traditional products (the great census work on agro-gastronomy specialties to be included in the Ark of Taste list is an example), the Slow Food Villages network and taste education – thanks to a Master of Food program organized in collaboration with Ice.
Dear Carlo, Dear colleagues,
First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Slow Food Great China (SFGC), to express my heartfelt gratitude to president Carlo Petrini and all the colleagues at Slow Food International, for your great support and solidarity.
The outbreak of coronavirus has brought huge challenges to the Chinese people, especially during this festivity season. In the past few weeks, the government from the central to the local, medical institutions, and people of all walks of life have mobilized to actively react to the epidemic and try their utmost to control the spreading of the virus. We strongly believe that with the increasing awareness of the epidemic, as well as the support from all over the world, we shall eventually overcome this crisis.
Fighting against disasters costs a lot, and there are lessons to be learned. For example, the cause of this epidemic crisis might be linked to consumption of wrong food. This once again rings an alarm for Chinese people to seriously think “what is the healthy relationship between people and food, people and animals, people and environment?” There are also issues to be concerned and justified, such as over urbanization and industrialization, as well as “epidemic discrimination” and “food culture discrimination” caused by the spread of the epidemic around the world. But this is also a good opportunity to remind people the importance of the Slow Food mission of a good, clean, fair food system, to promote cultural food diversity in the future.
In view of the above concerns, the SFGC will focus on the following tasks in the coming years:
1. Co‑operating with government and media, to integrate the concept of “good, clean, fair” with healthy food consumption, taking the advantage of the positive changes in food concepts after the epidemic.
2. Co-operating with government, enterprises, indigenous people, and the youth, to find and protect more landmark food products, to encourage more people to participate in rural revitalization, and to continuously promote Slow Village co-construction project.
3. Co‑operating with Slow Food network, international media, and universities, using the city as the unit, and the 2020 Terra Madre as an important opportunity, to actively promote the healthy and rich Chinese food culture and the latest achievements of the Ark of taste project in China.
Dear Carlo, dear colleagues, as a young member of the Slow Food, SFGC always feels warm attention and strong support from this big family. We do believe, after this crisis, with our joint effort, a “good, clean, fair” future will become a vision for more and more Chinese people.
President of Slow Food Great China
What is happening these past few weeks is truly upsetting. And I’m not talking about China and the terrible virus that is bringing the country to its knees and complicating the lives of many communities, but about an infection that is even more dangerous, linked to my country, Italy, and to many others in the world. Unfortunately, the acts of racism and closure we are witnessing are the result of ignorance, which is also fueled by media that contributes to the increasing pathological fear creating unacceptable, verbal and physical violence. These are the moments when we realize the importance of being part of a network like ours: to the Chinese people, to the newly born Slow Food Community Wenzhou and to all the Chinese communities abroad deeply affected together with Wuhan, I send my solidarity and the solidarity of the entire Slow Food family. Our duty is to stand by that incredible multitude of small producers and restaurateurs who, not only in China, defend the extraordinary Chinese gastronomic heritage and who fight against improper production or access to food that caused the crisis. Our job is to fight false myths and strengthen our position without ever leaving anyone isolated. This is the network, this is our strength.
Slow Food President