Slow Food president Carlo Petrini yesterday lent his support to local residents of Haberfield, Sydney who are battling against the opening of a McDonalds in their community. The 24-hour fast food outlet is destined to join the traditional Italian delicatessen, fruit markets and other small family food businesses that the suburb has become renown for.
‘All over the world we see big food producers trying to destroy local food economies, so you have to use education and pressure,’ said Petrini, who is in Australia for the Sydney International Food Festival. ‘We need to recognize the power of advertising, and the power it has over our children. We need to work hard for education, to create support for local communities, and to communicate. Local is the key word – local economy, local culture, local eating.’
Residents say a McDonalds outlet would clash strongly with the Haberfield community identity. ‘We want to celebrate the small family business especially those associated with good food and cultures from around the world. Haberfield is a wonderfully unique suburb for food and it would be appalling if a large fast-food outlet were to open there,’ said Maeve O’Meara, food author broadcaster and television food presenter.
The community has till October 29 to lodge objections against McDonald’s application to build a 100+ seat, drive-thru, outlet operating 24 hours, seven days a week. Once these are assessed, the council will then debate the issue and vote on a final decision.
Around 2,000 signatures against the McDonalds have been collected in the past two weeks, with nearly all shopkeepers in the area joining the protest. Door knocking has revealed that the vast majority of local residents are appalled at the proposed fast food outlet. The petition has now been translated into Italian, Hindi and Chinese so that all residents have the chance to voice their concerns about this threat to their food culture.
This weekend, a street fair is being held as part of the Sydney International Food Festival in Haberfield to celebrate good and well-prepared food. More signatures will be collected here as well as at the Sydney Opera House before and after Carlo Petrini’s talk tomorrow, on Sunday October 18.
Individuals can join this protest from all around the world, by writing to [email protected]
Or by click here to join the group’s facebook group: No-McDonalds at Haberfield
Carlo Petrini will speak about Slow Food’s approach to sustainable food production, agriculture and gastronomy tomorrow at the Sydney Opera House at 2pm.
Good, Clean & Fair: an afternoon with Carlo Petrini in conversation with Joanna Savill
Sydney Opera House
Sunday October 18, 2pm
Click here for more information and ticket sales.
Sydney Morning Herald