By Coretta Joe
World Food Day is observed annually on October 16 to focus on the thousands and thousands of individuals worldwide who cannot afford a healthy weight loss program and the necessity for normal access to nutritious food.
To commemorate the day, Barbados TODAY spoke with Slow Food Barbados’ Director, Julie Hooper-McNeel, to debate this yr’s World Food Day theme and lift awareness of the organisation’s charitable initiatives.
The Slow Food movement envisions a world where all people can access and revel in local food that is nice, clean and fair. Slow Food Barbados was founded in 2012, however the Slow Food International movement has been in existence since 1989. It has grown into a worldwide campaign involving thousands and thousands of individuals in over 160 countries.
World Food Day’s 2022 theme, Leave No One Behind, in response to McNeel, suits Slow Food’s efforts this yr.
“Our theme speaks to recovery after the pandemic and fixing our food system and climate change and all the opposite pressures we’re facing at once. Slow Food, in my opinion, is one of the best option to tackle this as a community. Slow Food’s theme this yr is regeneration, and it’s not only regenerative farming; it’s regenerative practises and regenerating our community. We feel very grateful to give you the chance to work in an area and to attempt to create meaningful change,” she explained.
The registered charity is celebrating its tenth anniversary this yr, and since its inception, they’ve been able to have interaction with communities in many alternative ways. These include linking chefs on to farmers of their farm-to-table series, taking pop-up events into restaurants, creating sustainable seafood and buyers’ guides, directing consumers straight to farmers, producers and farmers’ markets and more. Based on McNeel, these efforts make it easier for individuals to have interaction with the local food system.
“Every part that we do, we place importance on doing it in harmony with the environment, in order that’s the clean side of Slow Food. Then we wish to take a look at regenerative farming practices,” she noted, adding that industrial agriculture and food processing is answerable for 37 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
She made the decision for entities to take a look at our systems and reimagine them in a way that’s more in harmony with our surroundings.
The Slow Soup Drive, born out of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, continues to grow, attracting the eye of chefs and volunteers, and has to this point has served over 50,000 soups to vulnerable individuals in communities within the north of the island.
Positioned in Walkers Reserve, the Slow Soup kitchen operates three days every week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“We’re all the time on the lookout for new volunteers to assist us out. We now have a chef every day, in order that they [volunteers] have the chance to work with a chef. We purchase from farmers and check out to make use of only local ingredients. It [the soup] really is a nutrient-dense, nutrient-packed meal that they’re [vulnerable persons in the community] getting,” she shared.
Certainly one of the highlights of the Slow Food Barbados calendar is the annual #SlowSeven Challenge, where participants register and eat local for one week, using only ingredients which might be grown, caught, raised and produced in Barbados. This yr’s challenge runs from October 23 to 30 and incorporates a new lineup to the category — Best Slow Soup, plus a by-product initiative that promotes engagement with restaurants and hotels.
“It’s a slow time of the yr, they usually have a bit more ability to get creative, and so something engaging with communities and in addition help to attract people to come back out and support right now of yr. This yr, we’re asking them to participate by putting a #SlowSeven special on the menu. A dish that is especially sourced from ingredients grown here in Barbados. In the event that they want to have interaction with Slow Food and the Leave No One Behind concept, we’re promoting a “buy a soup, give a soup” programme. They’re capable of get directly involved by adding five dollars to their soup of the day, and each time someone purchases, it allows patrons to present back, and we’ll make a soup for somebody vulnerable in the neighborhood,” she explained.
Slow Food’s cookbook, Bajan Big Soup: A Community Cookbook, was released in June and features a whole bunch of mouth-watering soup recipes from chefs and other individuals involved within the Slow Soup Drive. McNeel noted that the cookbook is a option to honour all of the individuals and organisations that were capable of make it a reality.
Looking forward, the Slow Food Barbados movement plans to proceed along the trail of social enterprises and sustainability. And, as a charity completely supported by community efforts, they plan to proceed with their fundraising initiatives.
McNeel revealed that their virtual garden programme, where they conduct farm tours and work with educators to cover topics within the curriculum for primary schools, has expanded to a few Caribbean countries — Jamaica, St Vincent and St Kitts and Nevis. This was made possible through funding in 2021.
“We’re regenerating at once coming out of the pandemic and doing one of the best we are able to to construct resiliency inside our food system in Barbados. We actually encourage everyone to get entangled because Slow Food is a way everyone can come together and create meaningful change,” she said. (CJ)