On May 22, Slow Food officially launched Slow Food Korea, a new organizational structure established to locally coordinate activities, events and projects, a step that follows the recent strengthening of the network in this region.
The Slow Food network has grown steadily in Asia after the launch of Slow Food Japan in 2004 and the creation of a broad Slow Food and Terra Madre network throughout the continent. In South Korea this trend was strengthened even more thanks to the launch of the first edition of AsiO Gusto in Namyangju last October, an event that attracted an extraordinary 500,000 visitors, small-scale producers and delegates from 40 countries in Asia and Oceania, and showcased the gastronomic diversity of these continents.
“Being able to strengthen the organizational structure of Slow Food in South Korea fills us with joy,” says Paolo Di Croce, General Secretary of Slow Food International. “The presence of Slow Food in this country is spreading more and more in terms of members, projects and organizational capacity and is also going to encourage the expansion of our network throughout Asia. The wealth of Korean gastronomic culture and its spiritual approach to food are a precious resource of enrichment for Slow Food International.”
According to Serena Milano, General Secretary of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, “Our presence in Seoul shows our appreciation of the hard work the Slow Food network in Korea has undergone in the past years to defend food biodiversity, a battle that we are still fighting all around the world. We can be optimistic about this if we can count on the same energy found in this country. During this visit we are launching the stage following the international Ark of Taste project, namely the Slow Food Presidia projects that support quality production at risk of extinction; protect unique regions and ecosystems; recover traditional processing methods; and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties. Creating the first four Korean Presidia constitutes the beginning of the relaunch of the immense gastronomic patrimony of Korean tradition”.
During their visit to Korea, Paolo Di Croce and Serena Milano also visited the producers of four Ark of Taste products that boarded the Ark last October and that are candidates for Presidia: Chik-so Cattle, Don Tea and Purerun Kong soybean paste.