Increasing Signs of Solidarity and Resistance Across the Balkans and Turkey

30 Mar 2020

With ever more people unable to do their everyday groceries, increasing signs of solidarity and resistance emerge from throughout the Slow Food network across the Balkans and Turkey.

Now, more than ever, the direct supply chains remain of the vital importance to safeguard people’s access to food. However, many farmers’ markets that Slow Food initiated across the region – including several Earth Markets – have either been shut down or are operating under limited capacities. Slow Food farmers and producers, though, have found a way to provide fresh food products for their communities. Across the Balkans and Anatolia, our small-scale artisan farmers keep delivering food door to door. 

Food Deliveries in the Balkans

In Romania, Slow Food Cluj Transylvania is cooperating with the local Community Emergency Response Team to provide food to the elderly and the most in need. A local Slow Food Convivium in Cluj together with the University of Agronomic Science and Veterinary Medicine deliver door to door the food produced in the Campus’ food processing facilities – ensuring high quality baked products, diaries, cured meat to an increasing number of citizens. Meanwhile, Slow Food Turda delivers bread produced in its communitarian oven. 

Following the news that due to the new coronavirus pharmacies have shortages of hand sanitizers,  Jim Turnbull, producer from the Saxon Village Preserve Presidium in Romania, has decided to help the community by making and providing hand sanitizers himself. 

“We at Pivnita Bunicii have turned from making gin to hand sanitizer which we are distributing to the community. I can only make 18 liters of 93% ABV alcohol per day and this produces about 50 bottles. We are using the WHO guide to local production and the ladies group in Saschiz are sharing it to encourage others to make hand sanitizers by themselves.”

 

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Making hand sanitizers locally

Chefs are at the forefront too. In Albania, the Cooks’ Alliance chef Altin Prenga is working thoroughly across Albania through an unprecedented effort to deliver food and ensure the living of the many families who rely on the income generated by Mrizi I Zanave’s restaurant. 

Strong Solidarity in Turkey

In Turkey, Slow Food has been working in tight contact with Izmir Municipality to improve the connection between the metropolitan city, its countryside and many food producers who live in the rural areas surrounding the city. Izmir Municipality – where Terra Madre Anatolia 2021 will take place, has just launched a new initiative to arrange the distribution of producers’ cooperative products across the city for the families most in need and to the elderly people who cannot leave their homes.

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Izmir mayor Tunç Soyer and his wife Neptun, leader of Slow Food Teos, during the first day of food distribution

New Initiatives Online

Slow Food network is not just working hard to ensure food supply –  many find ways to keep the actual network alive, using the lockdown to find alternative opportunities to network and exchange ideas. For instance, last week, more than 1000 people followed a live stream on Instagram organized by three food communities in Istanbul, Bursa, and Teos. Community leaders provided insights on the Ark of Taste products in Turkey, presented many Slow Food projects on food and taste education in the big cities, and reaffirmed the urgent need to reinvent the connections between big towns and villages. All this, while cooking tarhana – one of the world’s most ancient food products made from fermented cereals and yogurt, and an amazing symbol of food sovereignty and communities’ resilience.

 

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