A lively farmers’ market, cooking demonstrations and talking circles brought a large crowd together at Mildura, Victoria last Saturday when Slow Food in Australia opened up to the public with an inaugural Australian Terra Madre event as part of the 2016 Slow Food in Australia National Conference.
Local Slow Food Convivia travelled to Mildura from as far as Swan Valley, Perth, Adelaide, Noosa, Hunter Valley, Sydney, Melbourne and the South Coast of New South Wales, bringing along producers, chefs, and a large variety of locally grown and produced foods from their regions. Stories were shared on where, how, and by whom the food was grown and produced. Visitors feasted on artisan cheeses, fresh oysters including the rare and endangered Angasi oyster, an Ark of Taste product; boutique beer and wine, innovative seaweed products, delicious olive oils, free range pork, ice cream, native bush herbs and of course all the beautiful produce that the Mildura region offers at this time of year.
Cooking demonstrations using lesser-known but highly sustainable Victorian seafood and ‘talking circles’ on a variety of topics such as “Innovative ways to deal with food waste”; “Creating a food hub dedicated to local produce”; “Setting up Chef’s alliances to incorporate endangered Ark of Taste foods into menus”; “Slow Meat”; “Starting community kitchens to help feed the underprivileged”; and “Challenges in producing and processing ethical meat” made the festival complete.
A special talking circle was dedicated to the “Indigenous perspectives of linking local food to land and culture”, featuring Australian first nation leader Bradley Moggridge (Kamilaroi Nation) and international guest Joel Simo from Slow Food in Vanuatu.
The Terra Madre market was followed by a speaker’s panel and Q&A session on the Australian Food System, which provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen Australia’s good, clean and fair food network by sharing information and discussing ideas for the future. The panel included local chefs, a small-scale producer presenting the issues to do with Slow Meat, Slow Fish with an expert on sustainable fishing practice and a Slow Food Youth member.