I'm attending the Slow Food Canada National Summit this week in beautiful Invermere, BC. Slow Food is an international organization that started in the 1980's embracing a comprehensive approach to food that recognizes the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Slow Food has been active in Canada for more than 10 years with active convivia across the country.
Slow Food works around the world to protect food biodiversity, build links between producers and consumers, and raise awareness of some of the most pressing topics affecting our food system. One of these initiatives is Slow Meat and this is what brings me to the summit this week.
After attending the international Slow Meat conference in Denver Colorado last year, I came home fired up to bring this movement to Canada in a more deliberate way. There are lots of producers in Canada who are doing great work and pushing back against the industrialized methods of meat production that have become so prevalent in our food system. I'm excited about Slow Food and the tremendous potential of this organization to act as a bridge between consumers and producers. We simply must work together to affect the change that is needed to shift our food system to the more sustainable, compassionate place it needs to be in order to provide true food sovereignty.
Big business knows that consumers are increasingly interested and engaged in where their food comes from. Millions of dollars are being spent marketing to consumers like you who have concerns about the environmental impacts of food production, animal welfare and social justice issues. Greenwashing is rampant and increasingly, labels and marketing messaging is downright fraudulent.
It is risky for producers, like me, to speak out. Food regulations force small-scale farms like ours to work within the framework of the industrial system. If we rock the boat too much, we may find ourselves without a business at all. I constantly struggle with the question of how to raise awareness of what is really happening in a way that won't risk our very existence.
So I'm here in beautiful Invermere today to drum up support for Slow Meat Canada and to connect with thought leaders from across the country. There is a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience in this room today but I need YOU too.
My vision for Slow Meat Canada is a dynamic group of producers and consumers working together to facilitate and celebrate a shift towards animal proteins being produced in a compassionate way that embraces the principles of Slow Food:
- GOOD: quality, flavoursome and healthy food
- CLEAN: production that does not harm the environment
- FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers
So I invite you to join me and #OccupyYourFoodSystem. If you have a few hours a month to dedicate to moving Slow Meat forward in our local and national community, please get in touch. I can't do it without you!