Slow Fish Nova Scotia

03 May 2013

Lia Rinaldo, a film festival director by day, likes to explore and write about the food that surrounds her in Nova Scotia, Canada in her spare time. A member of the local Slow Food convivium, she attended the launch of Slow Fish Nova Scotia a couple of weeks ago. Following this, the Slow Food Canada National Conference announced last weekend that Slow Fish will soon become a national campaign.

This is her account of the inspiring day, originally posted at Se7en’s a Banquet, 9ine’s a Brawl.

Fish are the last great wild food.
They are part of a fragile ecosystem.
So are the fishing communities.
Change the way fish lands on your plate

Good lord. What an opener. I had the distinct pleasure recently of attending the official launch of Slow Fish Nova Scotia. It was a decadent 11-course seafood brunch (they posted it at 9, but the food kept coming, seriously) prepared by Chef Dennis Johnston and the team at Fid Resto.

This really is a good news story. In Nova Scotia we have had a lot of people working hard behind the scenes for some time to put fresh Nova Scotia seafood on our plates. Here. You’d think that it would be obvious, here we are surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, seafood feels plentiful, feels like it’s all around us, but honestly most of what is caught here is heading somewhere else, and in most cases, is processed somewhere else. What the? But…

Cut to Dave Adler and the crews at both the Ecology Action Centre and Off the Hook CSF. People who have been working hard setting up personal relationships with the fishermen, divers, small scale fish plants and farmers who catch and grow seafood in Nova Scotia. From what I understand, Dave has been showing up right on the docks, endearing himself to the community and interrupting a high-level foreign food chain that has been happening forever. You have to admire initiative like that.

One of the things most people who have the good fortune to attend Slow Food International’s Terra Madre conference in Turin will say, is that everyone eventually has their aha! moment. The moment where you are completely overwhelmed by the amount of information and people coming at you… and somehow, you are able to process it and invoke action locally. Dave was able to not only attend the event this October, but he became very involved with Slow Fish International. This is definitely Dave’s moment and I’m going to follow it… Welcome Slow Fish Nova Scotia.

It was a wonderful afternoon, with a great cast of characters from Beau the rockstar fisherman and his adventures with halibut, to the singing clammer Terry Wilkins, to fellow engaging Slow Food Nova Scotia board member Peter Darnell from Indian Point Farms. Fun, funny, charming… they regaled us with both the good and the bad issues around their individual fisheries. I don’t know about you, but I want to be told by people I trust what to do around seafood, where to get it, when to get it and what to try. It’s that simple.

In terms of the food itself, Chef Dennis prepared a wonderful, fresh, thoughtful meal–perfectly proportioned–this was key given 11 courses.

There will be a number of upcoming events this year for Slow Fish Nova Scotia. In the meantime, you can follow their progress on Facebook.

Slow Fish is an international campaign coordinated by Slow Food International. From May 9 -12, the biennial Slow Fish event will be held in Genoa, Italy to bring together the network of sustainable fishers, chefs, fishmongers and experts and present their products, stories and lessons to the public.

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