Slow Food, founded in 1986, is an international organization whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenization of modern fast food and life. Though a variety of initiatives it promotes gastronomic culture, develops taste education, conserves agricultural biodiversity and protects traditional foods at risk of extinction. It now boasts over 100,000 members in 153 countries.

Slow Food Auckland, formerly Slow Food Waitakere, is registered as a charitable entity. Registration Number: CC38263, please click here to read our Rules and Regulations

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Message from Carlo Petrini

Dear Friend,

Slow Food begins with each of us, in the hearts and heads (and stomachs) of responsible gastronomes, and has grown thanks to the momentum of our highly active convivia. We are nothing without our members!Together we are achieving a great deal, yet we still have much to accomplish, to discuss, to dream about and to savor in encouraging a new type of agriculture respectful of the environment, of human beings and of taste... good, clean and fair!As of this year, a Green option is now available for members who prefer to receive publications in electronic format, while the Sustainer membership category has been created for those who wish to increase their contribution. Member publications have also been revised in 2008: in place of the international Slow magazine, you will receive the Slow Food Almanac, a vibrant volume recounting our year of activity, as well as Slow Food Times, a monthly electronic update of convivia news from around the world. To renew with Slow Food today, please download this membership form and contact your local convivium. You will find their contact information here by selecting your country . Alternatively, click here to join online.
I hope you will take the opportunityto stay with us!

Thank you.

Carlo Petrini
International President

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rubies of Herat

Rubies of Herat
Left relatively unscathed by the recent conflict, Herat province in Afghanistan has a tradition of producing raisins that stretches back centuries, with over 120 varieties on record. In the hills west of the city, growers still practice-farming methods that have changed little since the 14th century. Naser Jami, once a grower himself and now part of the Heart Raisin Presidium, is committed to raising awareness of the quality and diversity of their produce, working with the university and growers co-operatives to improve farming methods and bring an understanding of sensory analysis to growers and consumers across the province. Beyond Sweet and Sour At a taste workshop in Florence, Italy, Naser was introduced to the idea of using the 5 senses to analyze the food he ate. He took this knowledge back to Afghanistan and began working on a sensory scheme for analyzing raisins. His first draft was, he admits, basic; a simple grid that could be used to compare the 8 most common varieties on criteria such as flavor, appearance, and aroma using a simple 'marks out of ten' grading system. As part of the proposal to make the raisins a Slow Food Presidium, he presented this scheme to the Agronomy Faculty at Herat University, who were impressed with his innovative idea and asked him to take it further. Naser is currently working on a more complex system that goes beyond a numeric system and expands on simple tastes like 'sweet' and 'sour' to also include descriptors of consistency and utility. He hopes, eventually, to apply it to all 28 varieties grown around the city.Taste education’s place in the Global Economy Universities’ taste workshops are just one avenue of interest for Naser. If Afghanistan is to regain it's place in the global economy, he argues, then the locals must realize how good their raisins are and how they compare to the industrial products of California and Turkey. He therefore plans to work on a simpler taste workshop scheme that will allow farmers to appreciate the diverse characteristics of their varieties compared to the homogenous imports they're competing with. To this end he's setup workers co-ops that will educate the growers about modern processing techniques, how to communicate the superior qualities of their fruit and allow them to club together to purchase a machine that can be used communally to process large quantities. Only once this is achieved can the growers hope to recapture the lucrative European and American markets lost during the Soviet wars of the 80s.SuccessThe farmers now have 10 stores spread across the city, selling tones of raisins every year. They are also continuing their collaboration with agronomy students from Herat University, who visit their farms to observe and share ideas, while having a practice vineyard of their own. So what motivates Naser? Is it simply increasing productivity and upping revenues? Not at all, he says. Farming has to be looked at holistically; of course, selling raisins is important, but appreciating the quality of what they produce, and recognizing its place in the culture of Afghanistan is equally relevant. He smiles as he remembers a book he found in the local library. In it, descriptions of local varieties, their methods of cultivation, and their importance as a cash crop, from 700 years ago reveal that very little have changed over time. “They mention a variety called 'Rubies', as precious as jewels” he says, “We still have this variety. One day soon, everyone will remember why it carries that name”
Location: Heart, Afghanistan
Terra Madre Community Members: 5
Producers involved: 1000
From the Terra Madre site

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Edible School Gardens

Slow Food convivia from Sicily to Veneto have developed more than 130 school vegetable plots across Italy in recent years, involving more than 5000 young students and their families and 1,500 teachers in growing produce and taste education programs. Home to thirty-three of these gardens, Piedmont has been the region quickest to take up the project. In the city of San Mauro Torinese, just outside Turin, more than 600 children from four primary schools and one pre-school are tending seven gardens together with volunteers – primarily the students’ grandparents. At the Slow Food Italy Congress in mid 2006, the school garden project was given the name Orto in Condotta and a goal was set to establish a national network of 100 gardens in which local Slow Food members work together with teachers, parents, grandparents, students and local authorities in a Learning Community. The Italian school garden project is based on a three-year cycle, which deals with food and environmental education through activities in the classroom and the garden: sensorial education in the first year; environmental and food production education in the second; and food culture and regions in the final year. Outside of Italy, Slow Food convivia are initiating school garden projects and other educational activities with students around the world. In Slow Food USA’s Garden-to-Table program - ranging from after-school cooking classes to farm tours and schoolyard gardens - convivia are supporting hands-on projects that create a direct connection between children and their food source, emphasizing the pleasures of taste and the table.American chef, educator and Slow Food international vice-president Alice Waters has been a key promoter of school gardens since the mid 1990’s when she founded the Edible Schoolyard project in California. Waters was responsible for introducing a new food education approach to schools, based on practical activity in school gardens alongside sensory and culinary education using the resulting produce.

Bess Mucke
From Sloweb - 08 August 08

Please note: if your school is in Waitakere, and you would like to set up an edible garden with the children, Slow Food Waitakere can assist with a $50 grant per year. For more information please contact Alessandra

Monday, August 4, 2008

Slow and Convivial!

Photos by Sean Shadbolt

We had a great time at Cosi Café in Matakana at the Slow Food Waitakere Slow and Fishy event.

After a glass of wine and crostini Dean Betts offered a brief demo on cooking fish, and then we all enjoyed a convivial three course dinner by the fireplace.

After 6 weeks of uninterrupted rain for many of us this was a great way to beat the winter blues.

Thank you to Dean Betts and his family for hosting the event, and to Dorothy Andersen and Hugh Gladwell for bringing salad from their own veggie garden.


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