Canadian leaders meet in Toronto to discuss taking the movement to the national level
EXCLUSIVE-Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini joined with Canadian Slow Food leaders and Terra Madre communities this past weekend, May 1st to May 3rd, in Toronto to celebrate the bounty of the local movement and the development of a strategic plan for forming a Canadian national association. The trip also featured Mr. Petrini receiving the 2008 Planet in Focus International Eco Hero of the Year award, which honors him for his outstanding leadership and lasting contributions to environmental awareness, action and change on the international stage.
In addition to the weekend’s meetings, the Slow Food leaders visited Terra Madre producers in Prince Edward County and Niagara and attended evening gatherings focused on Ontario’s earliest spring offerings. Highlights included, Slow Food Toronto’s fundraising gala dinner for the national association at Hart House in Toronto, featuring 25 of the city’s chefs involved in the movement and the Ancaster Old Mill welcomed the inauguration of the Tamworth Pig to the Canadian Ark of Taste.
In such a vast and varied country as Canada, Slow Food plays a valuable role to link together the diverse provincial realities while also promoting and protecting a national food culture. With almost 40 convivia across the country and a solid Terra Madre network, the Canadian movement has grown remarkably strong in the past years. At Terra Madre 2008 for example, Canada brought record delegation, represented by 115 producers from 48 food communities, 45 cooks, 12 academics and 20 students. To compliment the 2008 emphasis on the Youth Food Movement, Canada also played a major role with over 40 % of the total 175 delegates being under the age of 35. Through this network; the rich cultural biodiversity and food traditions of the country are united. Carlo spoke to the leaders about their role in this process by explaining, “Remember you are the thread which stitches together the beautiful patchwork known as Canada, the tighter you are, the better and more it will hold.”
A great success of the weekend was the formation of a National Coordination Committee to represent and advance the national movement presided by Mara Jernigan, a chef and farmer from British Columbia.
The future for Slow Food Canada is bright; their new Coordination Committee has received a warm welcome from the Slow Food community and best wishes from Carlo Petrini, who urged them to take all their steps slowly, with an ‘austerely anarchic’ spirit.