Australia launches its first Slow Food Earth Market

The Slow Food Australia National Conference, which will take place in Maitland (Australia) from August 2-6, will be the occasion to launch the first Slow Food Earth Market in Australia. The farmers of Slow Food Earth Market Maitland will ring their bells and launch the first Australian Earth Market at 1pm, on 3 August. The Market is organized by Slow Food Hunter Valley members and community volunteers with support from the Maitland City Council.

Slow Food Earth Market Maitland will open with 14 farmers, plus seasonal backyard growers who’ll participate when their produce is available. It is held on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of each month and is open from 1pm – 5pm in The Levee in central Maitland.

It was the humble pumpkin, widely grown extensively here, that was the catalyst for Slow Food Hunter Valley to assist local farmers to revive the family farming traditions of the region. In fact, in 2016, local farmer Mathew Dennis and his family were facing financial disaster when his crop was rejected at the wholesale market because the pumpkins were slightly dirty from recent rains. Twenty tons would have been ploughed back into the fields if nothing was done. Aghast by this waste of good food, Slow Food Hunter Valley members, with the help of the Maitland City Council, set up a pop-up stall in town and sold the pumpkins directly to local consumers.

The plight of a local family and the specter of enormous food waste energised the people of Maitland. In an amazing show of support shoppers waited in line for over two hours to buy pumpkins, while Matt and his staff returned to the farm over and over again to pick more. What started as an attempt to stop food waste at the farm gate quickly became a regular farmer’s market, which will now become an official Slow Food Earth Market.

In addition to this, the Earth Market Maitland will soon join the Slow Food international project of Earth Markets. The participants at the Australian Earth Market guarantee that their produce is good – meaning fresh and seasonal; clean – made from local crops, free of GMOs and environmentally sustainable; and fair – offering accessible prices to the consumer and fair compensation and conditions for the producers. Consumers will see a poster at each stall with the names of the farmer, their farm, the location and a brief story of how they bring food to the market.

Slow Food Earth markets are important meeting points, where local producers offer healthy, quality food directly to consumers at fair prices and guarantee environmentally sustainable methods. In addition, they preserve the food culture of the local community and contribute to defending biodiversity. Today, there are 60 Slow Food Earth Markets in 17 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, India, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Puerto Rico, Spain, Turkey, Uganda and United States).

For further information, please contact:

Slow Food International Press Office

internationalpress@slowfood.it – Twitter: @SlowFoodPress

Slow Food Hunter Valley

Amorelle Dempster

amorelledempster@iinet.net.au

0427 548 886

Slow Food is a global grassroots organization that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. Slow Food involves over a million activists, chefs, experts, youth, farmers, fishers and academics in over 160 countries. Among them, a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members are linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide, contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize. As part of the network, more than 2,400 Terra Madre food communities practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.

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