Tuesday, June 15, 2010

July 15 - Slow Food

Late morning, I had an impromptu meeting with Margarida Nogueira. A friend of Flavia's (Fellow 2004). Margarida is an amazing woman. She was a chef, owned two restaurants, has traveled the world studying food, and is now involved in bringing the Slow Food movement to Brazil. http://www.slowfood.com/
Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. To do that, Slow Food brings together pleasure and responsibility, and makes them inseparable. They have over 100,000 members in 132 countries.
Speaking with Margarida, I had a chance to share information about Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP). Please take a look at our site and if you are available, I recommend the Farm to Table Dinner on June 21st! :
We discovered we share similar challenges:
  • distribution for small farmers
  • ensuring the economic viability for the small farm through market development
  • need to educate the general public on the importance of buying local as it pertains to social, economic and environmental factors
  • how to get restaurants to partner with small producers or adopt a farm to buy their products

Margarida and I walked through their first organic outdoor market in the park in Ipanema. The government has not financially offered support for these organizations so they struggle to fund programs without private monies. She is holding children's cooking programs where children 7-11 visit a producer, take the food back and cook. They then have a cooking contest of "heritage" dishes. Margarida people are loosing their "voice/culture" when they loose traditional food and cooking techniques for ramen noodles! We tried wonderful artisan cheeses, spreads, fruits, breads....fantastic! Unfortunately, US customs will not allow me to return with them or any of the amazing fruits.

After, Margarida brought me to a hidden restaurant that serves only organic items. It was a delight to spend time with her and I could have spent all afternoon if we did not need to be going by 2 to make sure we could watch the game!

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