At the na­tional Slow Food gather­ing ear­lier this year, we got to grips with an or­gan­i­sa­tion that’s re­defin­ing the lo­cal agri­cul­tural land­scape. With the fo­cus on pro­vid­ing good, clean and fair trade pro­duce, Slow Food South Africa cre­ates a plat­form throu


From Lim­popo to the West­ern Cape, we share the in­spir­ing

sto­ries of four de­ter­mined in­di­vid­u­als who strike at the root of the lo­cal Slow Food move­ment

Held at the Soweto The­atre in Jo­han­nes­burg, the third in­stal­ment of Slow Food South Africa was a frenzy of ven­dors and visi­tors dart­ing be­tween stands. The mood was cel­e­bra­tory and for many of the farm­ers, the op­por­tu­nity to meet fel­low grow­ers and speak about their pro­duce was an in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

In­side the the­atre a se­ries of open talks invite mar­ket-go­ers to lis­ten in, with the goal be­ing to im­prove the pub­lic’s un­der­stand­ing of com­plex food sys­tems. “We aim to give peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to raise ques­tions and grasp the chal­lenges, so­lu­tions and fea­tures that are pre­sented in our lo­cal agri­cul­ture,” said Slow Food South Africa co­or­di­na­tor, Dr Naudé Malan.

Apart from of­fer­ing great net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, the event also cel­e­brated the launch of the Slow Food Chefs’ Al­liance in South Africa – a won­der­ful ini­tia­tive that sees par­tic­i­pat­ing chefs make a com­mit­ment to pur­chas­ing only re­gion­ally sourced, sea­sonal pro­duce from small-scale farm­ers, while tak­ing steps to re­duce food waste and pledg­ing to in­form din­ers about the prove­nance of their meals.

The day be­fore the fes­ti­val kicked off, mem­bers of Slow Food South Africa gath­ered from around the coun­try to dis­cuss the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s vi­sion and ob­jec­tives. They also dis­cussed the grow­ing body of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties work­ing to­gether to up­hold the in­ter­na­tional coun­cil’s broader goals, while main­tain­ing their au­ton­omy as mem­bers of the South African chap­ter. To­gether, th­ese com­mu­ni­ties bring the Slow Food philosophy to life by host­ing ed­u­ca­tional vis­its to lo­cal pro­duc­ers and farms, or­gan­is­ing con­fer­ences and lead­ing dis­cus­sions on the var­i­ous as­pects of the Slow Food move­ment.

After the gather­ing in Soweto, Slow Food In­ter­na­tional's Head of Africa Op­er­a­tions, Emanuele Dughera, praised the fes­ti­val for the progress it has made. To­gether with Slow Food’s In­ter­na­tional Coun­cil­lor for South­ern Africa, Caro­line Stephanie McCann, Emanuele iden­ti­fied four lo­cal ac­tivists mak­ing waves in their lo­cal re­gions. I spoke to each of them to learn more about their pas­sion for the Slow Food cru­sade...

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