Slow Food Sunday


Last Sunday I headed over to Woodville Walled Garden to participate in Slow Food Galway's Autumn Gathering. The weather was ideal, the autumn low light gracing us with it's presence for the afternoon. I was welcomed by a feast for the senses - Smells of hot coals and smoke, clay ovens, fresh bread and coffee, smiles, welcomes, pressed apples! A community of people of all ages, gathered together through a collective appreciation of local and regional quality fair food. 


The Slow Food Movement was established in 1986 in Italy as a backlash to the multinational Fast Food Industry. The ethos of the Slow Food Movement is to protect and promote local and regional traditional food and to encourage food production which respects and characterises the local eco system. According to Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food Movement, 'Slow Food unites the pleasure of food with responsibility, sustainability and harmony with nature'.


The main focus of the day was the fungi. There were only a few varieties present in the small wood beside Woodville Walled Garden, but Barbara, our dynamic 'shroom' guide for the day made the most of what was to be gathered. I met a neighbour I hadn't realised would be there, which was a nice surprise and became familiar with the art of Juice pressing and Cider making - All in all, I departed the Autumn Gathering four hours after arriving, feeling educated, invigorated, informed and full to the gills - A great way to spend an afternoon!


Slow Food is everywhere folks, become acquainted with it.

Practice the philosophy at the heart of the movement within your own home, business and life.

Slow Food = The Future of Food. 


The Power & Future of Food


Ok, here is my confession: I only woke up recently to the realities of Food. 

What, you might ask are the realities of food?

What I'm talking about is:

How we buy food; How we waste it; How it is shoved in our faces through marketing; How we are in the midsts of a global obesity epidemic, whilst at the same time there are over 900 million people affected by hunger issues; How World food prices and the world's population are rising; How, since 2007 we have gone from being a mainly rural world population to an urban world population; How a Guardian newspaper article published in 2007 predicted that, in order to eat what we have become accustomed to, we will have to produce as much food over the next 50 years to feed the world's population as we did over the past 10,000 years combined!   

Yes, I'm waking up!


I'm waking up to the realities of the food that my family and I have become accustomed to eating everyday. How exactly is it produced, preserved and WHERE does it come from?

'FRESH' fruit and vegetables that come from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere and vise versa are NOT fresh. Prior to our journey to buy them, they have actually travelled thousands of miles in order to land on our supermarket / shop shelf - My weekly shop has probably travelled on more modes of transport to get to my kitchen table than I ever have, or ever will do! 

Food is our core, it is our fuel, it is what powers us and makes us who we are. What value do we place on what gives us life?


As humans we have a close and intimate connection to the land. Evolution has bonded us to the soil, it was a connection that was made thousands of years ago when we relied solely on the earth around us and it's bounty to nurture and nourish. In evolutionary terms this innate connection with the land makes up for 99% of our time on earth. So what has changed in the last 1%?  

We have transitioned from being hunter gatherers, when we were at our most intimate with the land - To small holders, when we began to raise animals and cultivate crops - To the industrialization age, which changed just about everything about the way we lived - Followed more recently, in our lifetime, to the technological revolution. 


Which leaves us right here - 2013. We are loosing our vital connection with the land. We now tend to view our natural environment as something separate to us, something that we are in some way not responsible for, we believe that technology will somehow be able to fix everything! Our lack of dependance and familiarity with working with the land has led to a lack of respect for it. 

I believe in progress but I also believe that we must shift our mindset, so as not to expect to get exactly what we want, exactly when we want, without questioning where it came from or how it came into our possession.


So what can we do? 

  • We can respect the land around us.
  • We can be aware of the food that we buy and where it comes from. Demand more local produce from your shop or supermarket, All you have to do is take a look at any major supermarket retailer advertisements' these days to realise the importance of this to them, they are aware that people care.  
  • Don't buy too much, a third of all food produced globally is wasted, this is a sin when there are 900 million people ending their day hungry. Make a list of what you need to buy or buy your food every couple of days, if possible. 
  • Support local producers.  

There is nothing like the satisfaction of growing your own food, it is in our genes, part of our evolutionary history as humans. Let's re-educate ourselves and teach our children the wonders and marvels of watching a seed germinate into a plant. Show them how easy it can be to grow their own food -  whether it is a lettuce head in an old tin can on the windowsill of a high rise building or a cabbage patch in a plot in the garden - lets remind ourselves how the simplicity of these actions can be so empowering.


Growing your own food can save you money, a lot if you have the time and are willing to put a little bit of effort into it. You can watch your food grow, pick it and eat it right away, that is what 'FRESH' food is.

You don't even have to grow it yourself - you can go out and collect some of the food that exists and surrounds us all the time, free wild food such as Blackberries, Mushrooms, Nettles, Nuts…

It is ultimately about ourselves, each one of us, the choices we make and the actions we take, It is about how we:

Think Design and Create. 

The Future of Our Food = Our Choice