Terra Madre 2012: Life Lessons

terra-madre-day-2012By Voula Halliday, Slow Food Toronto Leader

Around the table is where I learned most of the life lessons that shaped me.

It is where my mother ate silently when distressed or anxious and where I learned that silence comes from many places, and that there can be great pain when a person’s voice is stifled or drowned out. It is where I waited for the right moment to share news with everyone; and where I learned that joy lights up a room and makes my father laugh louder than thunder. It is where my grandfather would let me devour one of the canned prunes my mother reserved especially for him (I can taste them now—plumy sweetness mixed with the longing that is nostalgia). I learned that even on a tight budget, the smallest morsel can be shared. And that good health comes from this sharing too.

As part of my reflection on the Terra Madre experience, and on this note of sharing, I will first admit that it is draining to care for, cultivate, motivate, inspire, and build the awareness in others that our fork wields a mighty mighty power that can change the world. As a dedicated volunteer caregiver of Slow Food I have found it a struggle on many fronts. But somehow, in the loud and crowded 80,000 square metre arena of the Lingotto Fiere*, in between a sudden and violent bout of food sickness (from an in-flight sandwich), a schedule jam packed with meetings and the 3 day congress sessions, I managed to find a way to my restoration.

It was a simple line that Carlo Petrini delivered. Petrini is most powerful when he expresses himself in small “statement of fact” terms. They are thoughts born from personal experience, easy to digest and absorb, and come at a time when perhaps we need it most. Like water into a sponge, here’s what I took in, most gratefully: “Sleep on it. Get up in the morning, and be over the rage”.

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Terra Madre 2012: Learning About the Ark of Taste

By Laura Buckley, Ark of Taste delegate

As the newly appointed chair of the Canadian Ark of Taste commission, I eagerly anticipated gathering with my counterparts at the meeting of the International Ark of Taste commission at Terra Madre. I went looking for answers about how to run our Canadian ark project. What I came home with is more questions.

There are just over 1,000 items on the ark. Four hundred of those are from Italy. In the Salone del Gusto, I tasted and learned the stories behind ark foods such as Carmignano’s dried figs, Saras del fen (a sheep’s milk ricotta from Piedmont), Nebbiolo wine from Carema, and myriad cured meats. How could we possibly do anything like this in Canada? Italy has a fraction of the landmass of Canada, double the population and thousands of years more history. Of course cataloguing traditional ingredients and artisan food production is much easier task.

There are almost 10 million square kilometres in Canada and we don’t have great traditions of artisan food production. Most of the artisan food producers we see in our farmers markets are making products based on European traditions. But as a young country, we have an important role to play in building our Ark. Before we cover our land with housing and industrialized agriculture, we need to save our heritage varieties of fruits, vegetables and animal breeds by introducing people to tastes beyond the standard varieties apples, lettuce, pork, chicken and beef. And by doing so we can encourage biodiversity and build on our immigrant traditions to have a wealth of delicious tasting foods for the future. We also need to catalogue our wild foods and traditions of our First Nations peoples.

It’s a big undertaking that needs the support of all convivia as well as the help of our American neighbors. Terroir doesn’t know political borders. If you look at the U.S. Ark of Taste, many of the items there are also part of our food history. Much of what grows in the west of the country has more in common with Washington, Montana and North Dakota than with the eastern provinces, which in turn share a terroir more similar to New York and the New England states.

As I reflect on the overwhelming experience of my time in Turin, I realize I learned a lot, even though much of it was different from my expectations. There are no easy answers to how to run the ark project in Canada, but I will continue researching and soliciting help to figure out the best ways to promote and preserve the biodiversity of our country.

Slow Food Toronto Launches Slow Fish

Toronto, ON (February 24, 2012) — Swept up by a vibrant current of fantastic fish tales and deep-water adventures, Slow Food Toronto is going ‘Fishing After Dark’. On Saturday March 3, 2012 you are invited to join us for an evening that will define a new era in sustainable fish awareness for Torontonians. The launch of Slow Fish Toronto, at Hooked, 888 Queen Street East, from 9pm to 11pm, sets the stage with special guests and inspired creations prepared by local chefs, connecting Canadians to one of our greatest resources, our fish. “Going fishing, the slow way, to rediscover traditional recipes and methods of cooking and preserving seafood, is just one of the exciting things we plan to do with Slow Fish Toronto in the years to come,” says Slow Food Co-Leader Voula Halliday.



Edible Tree Tour

August 12, 2011

Edible Tree Tour showcases the bounty of Toronto’s urban forest

Join LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests), Growing for Green, Not Far From the Tree and Forbes Wild Foods for an Edible Tree Tour of the neighbourhood around Ben Nobleman Park. Yummy tree treats available to sample and for purchase.

When: Sunday, August 14, 2011 – 10:30am-12:00pm
Where: Ben Nobleman Park, Toronto (opposite Eglinton West subway station)
Cost: $5 (suggested donation) – registration recommended at www.yourleaf.org

Kyle Ferguson
Manager, Marketing and Communications, LEAF
T: 416-413-9244 x 16
M: 416-819-5631
E: [email protected]

Other Info:
This is a family-friendly event

Culture & Cuisine Cavalcade

May 18, 2011

culture-cuisine-slow-food-torontoLearn. Discuss. Eat!

The Culture and Heritage Institute (CHI) has hosted an annual Symposia on Cultural and Heritage Tourism for the past fours years with representation from across the arts, culture, hospitality and tourism industries, as well as local and provincial ministries, and UNESCO and other international agencies.

This year, the focus is on specific industries while embracing culture, heritage, tourism.. and the first one explores tastes, healthy eating and culture and its many influences on cuisines.

When: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 – 8:00am to 4:00pm
Where: Historic Montgomery’s Inn – 4709 Dundas Street West, Toronto – MAP IT
Ticket Info: $195 (until May 15); $225 (after)

Contact: Carole Orane, Administrative Assistant, Culture & Heritage Institute
Tel: 416.289.5000 x 3360; Email: [email protected]

Other Info:
Sustainability, Conviviality, Education,Taste

Ontario Wine Society Niagara: Matching Fruit Wine + Cheese

April 6, 2011

ontario-wine-societyAt this event, you will get to taste quality-certified fruit wines and an array of artisanal cheeses. Our speaker, Keith Muller, will guide us through this tasting and help us discover how to appreciate fruit wines and pair them with cheeses. As the Academic Chair of the George Brown Chef School, Keith provides academic leadership to the faculty and 1,300 full-time students of the school. He is currently the Chair of the heads of Hospitality and Tourism Ontario. Starting out as a High School teacher, Keith also owned his own restaurant and worked as a Food and Beverage Manager at Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel and The University Club of Toronto. Keith’s specialty is Culinary Tourism and Slow Food, and he teaches Dessert, Cheese and Wine Pairing.

On hand from Stoney Ridge will be both Jim Warren, Winery General Manager, and Ann McClelland, Cheese Boutique General Manager. Jim is the current Executive Director of Fruit Wines of Ontario. He will speak briefly on the topic and will be able to answer any questions you have about current issues of the fruit wine industry. Ann will also be on hand to answer any questions on the fine cheeses and will be available to open the cheese shop after the tasting.

When: April 18, 2011 – 6:30 pm
Where: Stoney Ridge Estate Winery – 3201 King Street, Vineland, ON – MAP IT
Cost: $35 each (members and one guest); $45 each (additional guests/non-members)

Event Info: http://www.ontariowinesociety.com/events.html
Contact: Sue Couch 416 921 9798

Other Info:
This is not a family-friendly Event
Nature of Event – Taste, Education

Slow Food Spotlight: Evelyn’s Crackers

evelyns-crackers-slow-food-torontoInterview with Edmund Rek and Dawn Woodward

Edmund Rek and Dawn Woodward are passionate about showcasing Ontario heritage grains and the farmers who produce them.  As Chefs and local food advocates, Ed and Dawn have created Evelyn’s Crackers – delicious, artisan crackers made from local, organic, heritage grains.  Their line has now expanded to include cookies and muesli.

In 2003 Slow Food Canada adopted Red Fife wheat as Canada’s first presidium in the Ark of Taste.  As a key ingredient in many of their crackers, Dawn and Ed have been instrumental in bringing Red Fife wheat from field to table.

Lea Phillips met with Ed and Dawn to discuss Evelyn’s Crackers and their work in the local, organic food community.

Tell me about the philosophy behind Evelyn’s Crackers?
Ed: It’s really all about the grain.  We started out with Red Fife wheat and the crackers were born from there.  It is such a fabulous grain – earthy, nutty, fantastic flavour.  About five years ago there were only two kilos of it left and we have been able to bring it back.  It originated in Scotland and was brought to the Peterborough area by David Fife in the 1840s – it flourished here and in the Prairies for many years.  Over time, other hybrid grains took over and Red Fife was almost obliterated.

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Jason Innis – Terra Madre 2010

Terra Madre 2010 – Meetings – TerraMadre Rete delle comunità del cibo.

It has now been 4 months since Hanna and I returned from our first trip to Turin, where we participated in the astounding gathering of Terra Madre. It is very hard not to wax poetic about the incredible magnitude of this conference, complete with an Italian street food pavilion, serenaded with traditional bands from across Europe, and officiated by brilliant knights of the Slow Food movement from around the world. Not to mention that the conference is held in tandem with the Salone del Gusto; the largest artisanal gathering of farmers, fishermen, butchers, bakers, cheese makers, chocolatiers in the world, complete with samples and advice.

I am a chef, Hanna is a farmer, and we strive to cook, eat, drink, live, promote, support, and grow local, traditional, sustainable and heritage lifestyles. This is not easy to do, but it is not difficult to do either. The most important thing that I took away from Terra Madre is that we are not alone, not by a long shot. There are lots of people around the world who live and breathe Slow every day.

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Slow Food Canadian Youth Terra Madre

slow-food-youth-movementThe Screaming Avocado Café and Slow Food Perth County are reaching out to encourage Canadian Slow Food convivia to recruit groups of youth participants from their communities to bring to the Slow Food Canadian Youth Terra Madre. This inaugural meeting of young food enthusiasts will be taking place on May 3rd and 4th, 2011 (please note the change of date: this event was originally proposed for later in May but has been changed due to schools’ field trip calendar policies). The event will take place at McCully’s Hill Farm (located between St. Mary’s and Stratford, Ontario), and will entail one evening of camping and two days of programming. The age range for participation is 15 to 17 years old.

Event programming includes cooking and gardening demonstrations, discussion forums, and taste education workshops. Participants can include school groups and/or community-based youth groups. Total youth participants will be capped at 200.

Youth will not be able to attend without being part of a chaperoned group.  Based on the age group of the attendees there will be a zero-tolerance policy in place for smoking, drinking or consumption of drugs.  Individuals wishing to attend must apply – the registration package will be made available to convivium leaders in the very near future.

The cost per participant is $50 for the two days, which includes camping fee, lunch and dinner on May 2nd and breakfast and lunch on May 3rd.  There will be a $20 discount for members of groups who are willing to supply food for the meals – more information on this will be provided in the registration package.

Each participant must bring:

  • Their own eating utensils, plate/bowl and water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Tent and sleeping bag
  • Waste disposal materials (all participants/groups are responsible for collecting and removing all of their own waste from the site)
  • Suitable clothing and footwear (the event is rain or shine)


  • Washroom facilities will be available, but no showers
  • At this point, all groups are responsible for their own transportation to and from the site. However, if we are able to find a sponsor to support transportation the opportunity will be extended as appropriate.*

Download the Registration Form!

*Slow Food Toronto will provide transport to participants to any group that originates in the GTA. Please email Jennifer at [email protected] if you are interested in transportation from the GTA.

Kitchen Sisters: An Exquisite Dining Experience to Benefit Sistering

On March 8th, we celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day! To salute this monumental milestone Toronto’s finest women chefs will come together to prepare a succulent feast with wine pairings and a kitchen gift registry to raise money for Sistering’s new kitchen. Sistering has been serving hot meals to homeless, marginalized and low-income women in Toronto since 1981. Recently, they have experienced a 40% increase in the number of women seeking food and assistance. In order to meet the increasing demand, Sistering must expand its kitchen and storage facilities.

In collaboration with Marion “Food Sleuth” Kane (writer, broadcaster) and chef Lynn Crawford (co-owner of the table d’hôte restaurant Ruby Watchco, host of Pitchin’ In/Food Network Canada and formerly of the Four Seasons Hotel), Kitchen Sisters: An Exquisite Dining Experience will bring together Toronto’s top women chefs on International Women’s Day, Tuesday, March 8th at 6 p.m. at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, 85 Hanna Avenue.

The evening begins with a reception at 6 p.m., featuring passed canapés created by chefs Lynn Crawford, Donna Dooher (Mildred’s Temple Kitchen) and Deborah Reid (George Brown College). A delectable four-course dinner is served at 7 pm.

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