By Pacita ‘Chit’ Juan
Yes, it’s not just consumers and diners and chefs. It all starts with the farmer.
Slow Food is about enjoining farmers to keep planting our old heirloom varieties of food. And we have just the event cooked up (pardon the pun) for it on August 6 as our volunteer chef Margarita Fores (Asia’s Best female chef) shares her famous Grace Park restaurant menu with our farmers, yes real farmers that you the reader will help feed on this special day, this special lunch. We will finally break bread with the people who really feed us—the farmers.
As we were planning our third WOFEX event, we know that the public is really interested in helping preserve traditional cooking, heirloom varieties of rice and cacao and souring agents. What better way to cement the relationship between farmer and consumer but to have them come face-to-face. Just like people who have never touched soil, nor planted anything, many consumers have never met a farmer.
So we thought a special meal with a farmer may be a life-changing experience for both consumer and farm guy. The consumer knows about organic and slow food, but the farmers simply plants and reaps. We need to be on the same page. Plant old varieties. Use heirloom seeds. Practice natural farming. Nothing artificial. Use soil instead of other media. (That’s what Earthbeat Farms did. They shifted from hydro to soil).
And on August 6, we will be able to also talk to the farmers and ask why they do or do not yet grow our traditional varieties—like Siling Labuyo, Batwan, Sua, Tabon Tabon, and why they stopped growing heirloom rice varieties. It will be a fun lunch talking about the same ingredients our grandmothers used but maybe some farmers do not know anymore. It may be that they think there is no market for these “old varieties”. Not everything is about newer choices, higher yields, and seeds that are nowhere to be found (check out the prominence of seedless fruits now). It used to be that our mothers planted the very seeds in our fruits at the table in our backyards. Today, mothers are proud to find fruits that are happily seedless without thinking of its effects on farming and sustainability.
Let’s stay connected, find AmOnTheStreets on Facebook.