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Legarda Encourages Filipinos to Prepare “Slow Food” for the Holidays

December 23, 2017

In time for the holiday season, Senator Loren Legarda urged Filipino families to prepare “slow food”—as an alternative to serving fast and processed food—in order to support local cuisines and traditional cooking, as well as the local businesses that comprise and imbibe the principles behind the slow food movement in the Philippines.

Legarda said that slow food is a global advocacy that advances the concept of good, clean, and fair food by preserving traditional and regional cuisines that are becoming extinct and promoting the propagation of plants, seeds, and livestock of local ecosystems.

She added that the slow food advocacy supports sustainable food produced by local entrepreneurs through just and environmentally friendly practices, with the products marketed through fair trade—as opposed to the highly industrialized and globalized production of processed food.

“At the heart of the slow food movement in the Philippines is the preferential choice for food that is innately ‘good’—from the planting of seeds up to harvesting, to the preparation of food, including its packaging, marketing, and delivery, the whole process, which harnesses local skills and talents, is ethical, righteous, and respectful to the environment and the labor put into it. It is an advocacy that envisions a world that embraces the process of food production that is good for the humanity and the planet,” Legarda said.

The slow food advocacy started as a grassroots movement in Italy in 1986 and has since spread worldwide. In 2012, the Slow Food Manila was organized in the Philippines. Legarda has been supporting the organization’s efforts to showcase slow produce in the World Food Expo and the Madrid Fusion Manila, also in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Legarda said that she is a member of one of the five slow food convivia or local chapters in the Philippines, which are hosted in Manila, Negros, Baguio, Pangasinan, and Cavite. A convivium brings the Slow Food philosophy to life by organizing events and activities within their communities.

“It is important for us to communicate more to the public the message that to support slow food is to support what is right and what is good for our people and our country,” Legarda said.

Legarda added that Slow Food Manila holds taste workshops to show people how to use endangered heirloom species, such as the gluten-free adlai, a grain from Malaybalay, Bukidnon; the luxurious Criollo cacao from Davao; coffees like the barako or Liberica from Batangas and Arabica from Benguet; and souring agents like the batwan, tabon-tabon and suha.

She emphasized that the slow food advocacy also seeks to protect Philippine biodiversity by encouraging the swapping of seeds from the different regions in the country, as well as preserving traditional and indigenous Filipino knowledge.

“Aside from our flora and fauna, the traditional knowledge of our farmers, fisherfolks, and indigenous groups is also part of our country’s biodiversity. To protect our biodiversity is to preserve all our plant varieties, animal breeds, history, knowledge, and culture. Slow food recognizes this biodiversity, and it enjoins everyone to protect humanity’s delicate balance with nature,” Legarda said.

“As we celebrate the holidays this year, may we also recognize and appreciate the stories and the efforts of our fellow Filipinos behind the food that we will prepare and share with our family, friends and loved ones,” Legarda concluded.