We wanted to satisfy our curiosity and explore all the different ways to eat ethically, and how they might impact our food system, without it becoming a cage(-free) match.
In the second post of a monthly series on ethical eating, The Local Good interviewed Slow Food Edmonton members Chad Moss and Thea Moss about their approach to food.
(You can find the first post, an interview with Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta’s Christina Prokopenko, here.)
The Slow Food movement was founded in 1989 in Italy as a reaction to the effects of globalization on local food traditions and cultures. Its founders realized that our food choices are influenced by our culture, history, environment and politics, but they can also be a force to change the world for the better. To do this, Slow Food members advocate for good, clean and fair food. “Good” food is high quality, healthy and flavourful. “Clean” food is produced without harming the environment, and “fair” food is affordable for consumers, while providing a living wage and good working conditions for farmers.
The international organization is now active in over 150 countries worldwide, and there are 30 chapters (or “convivia”) of Slow Food in Canada. To date, those convivia have added 12 distinctly Canadian foods to Slow Food’s International Ark of Taste, raised funds for both local and international food projects, and recently launched the Slow Fish Canada campaign. For more about the projects of Slow Food in Canada, we highly recommend this gorgeously shot documentary by Edmonton filmmaker Kevin Kossowan.
The local convivium, Slow Food Edmonton, hold informal monthly meetings (usually, potluck-style feasts in the homes of members) and special events with an emphasis on supporting local producers and skill building. (Membership information is available at the link.)
TLG: What does ethical eating mean to Slow Food members?
Slow Food follows the mantra of Good, Clean and Fair. This can be interpreted in different ways, but overall we endeavor to truly enjoy the pleasures of the table and eat and share food thoughtfully.
TLG: What practices do you follow or recommend?
Meeting the people who produce your food, cooking from scratch, and sitting down to eat with friends and family.
TLG: What changes would you like to see in the food industry?
Stop health-washing, green-washing, ethics-washing. Waste less food. Pay fair prices to farmers and wages to producers.
TLG: Why did you make the decision to eat the way you do?
There is nothing more salubrious than enjoying delicious food and being immersed in the process.
TLG: How does eating clean, fair and local food affect your day-to-day life (shopping, preparing food, eating with friends, eating out)?
Slow Food’s “Good, Clean, Fair” is like a shopping list. We have spent time seeking out the foods that tick all the boxes. Now that we have found them, purchasing (and acquiring [by] hunting, foraging, bartering, swapping, growing) is much simpler. In the quest we have met like-minded friends. We spend more time cooking, eating and finding our food, and less time on other stuff. We include our children, knowing that they will become adults who have the skills and confidence to eat and live slow. For us, it may even be more about our future, our community and our children’s future, than about the present.
TLG: What local foods do you recommend our readers try?
Nitrogen-fixing foods like buckwheat and lentils. These foods are less trendy but farmers need to grow them to maintain their soil. They deserve a better price than animal feed. Wild and foraged foods. Saskatoons grow all over the river valley. Some of your neighbours may be happy to share their rhubarb and raspberries (repay them with some jam!). There is an active mushroom club that can teach you about edible fungi. Foods from farmers you meet at the market and take a fancy to. Raw milk cheeses from all over the world. Raw milk cheese is under fire across the world — to save it, eat it. Eggs and honey from urban chickens and bees. Slow Food is a worldwide community and we like to support our comrades.
Can you recommend a couple of resources for those wanting to learn more?
Farmers at the farmers’ markets, Kevin Kossowan’s From the Wild videos, attending cooking classes, your grandparents or older neighbourhood friends, Alberta Mycological Society and Operation Fruit Rescue.